From very humble beginnings and a terrible speech disability, Joshua Feuerstein’s story is not one you want to miss. His experiences and stories are jaw-dropping, and while you may not get why I have a preacher on this podcast, you will by the end as he drops some invaluable social media knowledge bombs that will blow your mind.
For those who may not know, Joshua Feuerstein is a viral conservative social media personality, speaker, evangelist and political commentator with over two million daily Facebook followers. His bold perspective, cutting-edge presentation and resonating message have fueled several of his videos to break the coveted 100 million view mark. With between 30-50 million people viewing, reading and interacting with his posts on a weekly basis, he remains one of the leading social media voices in the Christian conservative movement.
But this wasn’t always the case for Joshua. In the early part of his life, he had a terrible stutter. He was bullied and teased (which he’s now thankful for as it gave him some thick skin), but he had a loving home and an especially generous father. His father went out of his way to be kind to others – literally taking groceries from their home (when they had very little to give) to help those who were in need of them more.
Witnessing such generosity, at the age of 17, Joshua felt called to give some of his things to a local church as well. After doing so and later attending a service at the church, he had a miraculous encounter with God. His stutter completely disappeared. Nothing gradual about it. It was gone.
From this point, things started looking up for Joshua. At the age of 19, he was speaking at several speaking engagements at churches and other large events. He even had an offer to become an NFL broadcaster.
Things were going well, up until five or six years ago though, when his fiancée at the time broke his heart. Suffering from deep depression, it was one of the lowest points of his life, so much so that he pictured himself pulling the trigger on his own life. It was then that he had an epiphany where he recalled God’s story about the five loaves and two fish…while as a whole it couldn’t feed many, by breaking it into pieces it could feed thousands. Similarly, Joshua thought,
“God could actually use my broken-ness to bless other people.”
And so it began… He started sharing his true, authentic self and the struggles that came along with it. People loved his transparency and as a result several of his videos went viral (some reaching more than 100 million views).
Now an in-demand social media consultant, Joshua shares the “secrets” behind creating a viral video and gaining a loyal social media following for your brand.
“If you say something that other people agree with, but don’t know how to articulate it, they will share it.... If you say something that other people agree with, but they’re afraid to say it – they share it.”
Your success is largely dependent on your authenticity. When it comes down to it, you want people to CONNECT with you and everything that you are. So let people see your flaws.
“People want to see the real YOU – they don’t want a façade.”
Furthermore, make sure you’re being authentic to YOU and finding the niche around that. Make it something your passionate about.
“Find who you are and build a brand around that – and invest in branding yourself.”
Know your audience. If you desire to be extremely neutral, you’re not going to develop as loyal of a brand. Joshua admittedly uses a radical approach. Keep in mind that your biggest enemies can be your biggest evangelists…
Being as conservative as he is, he’s aware that there’s always going to be some kickback. But to him it’s one of the highest honors.
“You’re going to irritate some people. And if you’re not, you’re probably not doing it right.”
Don’t be afraid to tap into your opposition marketing and sometimes let your haters share your stuff, too – or at least talk about it.
And don’t take it personally… The haters don’t necessarily hate you, they just don’t like what you stand for (love that this relates to my last podcast!).
So now that you’ve found your audience, how do you keep them?
This is one of my favorite parts, because like me, Joshua also feels that generosity is key. He suggests consistently giving people VALUE. Don’t try to monetize your following immediately or they’ll likely end up mistrusting you.
“Give people around 80% of your best stuff and then charge them for the last 20%.”
Also, be sure to let people see how you’re doing good in the world. This doesn’t mean you need to be boastful and showy, but when you lead by example, you’re also inspiring others to do the same.
As a preacher, Joshua believes that wealth can be a great thing.
“Money isn’t evil. It’s if you simply love money to the point that it owns you, instead of you owning it.”
He also believes in the “sow and reap” concept from the Bible. “If you sow, you reap. Period.”
For example, one day at a local coffee shop, he paid for a man’s coffee and Danish. It was a pure act of kindness and one that he enjoyed doing frequently for random individuals. This particular time led to a conversation with the CFO of large company, which later on helped land him a multi-million-dollar contract.
“Real generosity has zero stipulations attached.”
When it comes down to it, wealth is only what you make of it. Joshua likes to think of money as just one of the tools we were all provided with to fulfill our purposes here on this earth. But there has to be a purpose behind it… Whether it’s driving a nice car to keep up with the expectations of a wealthy client or buying luxurious watches so you can later give it to someone who needs it for the money, we must always keep it in perspective.
“Money does not change you. It only magnifies who you already exist as.”