The Power of Social Media: Lana Berry’s Rise from Unemployment to Internet Stardom

This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.

By: Meaghan McCloskey, @Meaghan_Mc3

Lana Berry has been a prominent figure in sports social media since 2012. Photo courtesy of Lana Berry.

If you’re a fan of baseball Twitter, chances are you’ve seen tweets from Lana Berry. From #TheYearofTheTriple and #WeirdBaseball to Bartolo Colon and Zack Greinke, Berry is always offering witty takes on baseball (and sports in general). However, that’s just one part of who she is. When Berry isn’t tweeting, she works as a consultant; helping people and companies build their social media presence.

“I was unemployed in 2008 and found a job on Craigslist for some marketing guys looking for a social media manager. It was just when Twitter was coming out and they wanted someone to help get them followers. I did that for a year and a half and then moved across the country and decided to continue doing that stuff on my own. After a while, [managing other people’s accounts] became too exhausting, so I decided to help others and teach them how to manage social accounts on their own. I can’t work doing something I hate,” Berry explained.

Being able to work from home gave Berry plenty of time to watch baseball. Not only did she watch it, she Tweeted about it, and soon found her social following growing. As people started asking her more about growing their follower count and/or how to get into sports, Berry decided to write two e-books.

“I kept getting a lot of questions from people asking for social media help or how they can work with me, but when I told them my prices, they were turned off. I asked myself, ‘How can I make this more acceptable?’” Berry said.

In her first e-book, ‘Internet Famous,’ Berry boils everything down to the core. She shares tips on how to build your brand, finding your niche, and best practices.

“People follow you for a reason and value what you say. If you’re on social media, it’s your job to be social and interact with your followers or you’re not doing [social media] correctly. It can open a lot of doors because it’s like you have this instant social proof and credibility. People follow you because they think you’re worthwhile. If you’re not responding and building relationships, you’re not going to get anywhere,” she said.

“You also need to remember that you never know who will see what you post. You can be having a conversation with someone and another person sees it and that person could be a producer or front office member. There’ve been times where people with private accounts started talking to me [in person] about my account and it turns out they were higher ups. It just makes you realize people are paying more attention than you think.”

When asked what it was like to be internet famous, Berry said, “It really isn’t as daunting as you’d think. I’m not more important than someone with 50 followers, but the coolest part is that people value your voice and think that you’re providing something valuable. You don’t have to respond to everything, but people want to feel noticed, so you can always ‘like’ a tweet so they know you saw it.”

“Everyone asks me what I do or, ‘Who is Lana Berry?’ I never really have an answer for them because I do a lot and don’t want just one thing to define me.”

Berry’s second e-book, ‘Getting the Call,’ is a compilation of questions and answers from sports industry professionals intended to help those who want to work in sports. She wrote this one because she felt like there wasn’t a resource out there like it, and she wanted to help people find their way in this industry.

“People ask me, and others in the industry, all the time for advice on getting into sports. My path was unique because I don’t really work in sports and I really didn’t have any connection to sports before Twitter in 2012 or 2013. I tell them my answer, but my path isn’t really replicable.”

“For ‘Getting the Call,’ I gathered five to six questions I thought people would get the most out of and reached out to everyone I knew in the industry to see if they would be interested in participating. I ended up with over 100 e-mails from people offering advice. There are some job repeats, but it’s a diverse pool and shows that there’s more than one way for people to get a job,” Berry said.

So far, feedback on the books has been good. By creating these resources, Berry has not only been able to direct people to something tangible when they ask for help, but also help open their eyes to the possibilities in front of them.

“I don’t think people realized there’s so many ways to get into the industry and the goal was for everyone to understand that. People have reasons in their mind not to do something, and I hope this book proves all excuses are invalid.”

One thing Berry emphasized when talking about growing your social media presence and breaking into the sports industry is the importance of networking.

“Networking is like building a friendship-you might get something eventually, but it’s all about building the relationship. Treat followers and people in the industry like your equal and friend. Talk to them like a human. The biggest mistake people make is not realizing that networking is give and take, they just “take.” They should have a, ‘What can I do for you?’ mindset, even if you just start a conversation by complimenting them.”

“I’ve always been introverted, so networking isn’t natural for me, but I’ve done a lot of reading and studying on how to build relationships. I actually read a lot of dating books because they talk about interacting with others and building your strengths. Networking is like dating because you’re trying to show off your strengths and be appealing to others while also learning about them. You’re trying to find similarities and things you have in common,” Berry explained.

When talking about personal branding, Berry’s tip was to be consistent and authentic. She made a point that your brand will evolve, but that’s because humans evolve and change, mentioning, too, that she’s not the same person she was in high school.

“Being authentic can be scary, especially on social media, but the more you post, the more comfortable you’ll be expressing yourself. You don’t have to post 50 times a day, but stay consistent with what you connect to people with. For me, that’s sports. You’ll lose followers if you don’t post about specific things they followed your for, so you have to maintain your personality.”

One final point Berry made was that she doesn’t want to be identified by a job title or just one thing.

“Everyone asks me what I do or, ‘Who is Lana Berry?’ I never really have an answer for them because I do a lot and don’t want just one thing to define me.”

You can connect with Berry on Twitter, LinkedIn or through her website.

If you would like to purchase her e-books, click here.