Michael Morelli Jr. is a fitness entrepreneur, author, and coach in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is known for his best-selling book, The Sweet Potato Diet and is the creator and founder of the two multimillion-dollar companies, @Morellifit and @DetoxOrganics.

Michael began his journey of building his empire five years ago in the basement of his mother’s house. In this small basement, he would shoot health and fitness videos with his iPhone and post them on Instagram. Michael (@morellisworld) spent the majority of his time shooting videos, posting content and communicating with his growing community. From here, his business began, and his community continued to grow into a social following of over 4 million people across his brands.

Within the first two years, Michael gained millions of followers and launched his first ebook, the popular workout guide, @HIITMAX. This workout guide sold 150,000 copies within the first 12 months of its release and helped solidify Michael Morelli’s influence within the fitness space.

After the success of HIIT MAX®, Michael began to create @CustomMealPlans, providing custom nutrition to over 60,000 people on every continent of the globe. Following this, he created two supplement lines, Morellifit® and Detox Organics™. His supplement lines have been hugely successful, on pace to generate over eight figures in revenue this year, with his digital products and services following close behind.

Since that first day in his mother’s basement, Michael has built a fitness empire consisting of 4 brands that have generated over $25 million in revenue and continues to base his business model on the philosophy he learned on Instagram, where he remains active every day.

Michael Morelli has always been an entrepreneur, even before his days on Instagram. At nine years old he began to sell baseball cards and has since perfected his talent as a natural salesman. Before Instagram, Michael owned a traditional brick and mortar store with locations in five different malls. Although he was a talented salesman, his audience was limited as he watched the people in the malls walk by and customers slowly trickle in.

By growing a business on Instagram, Michael was able to increase his audience and visibility in a way his brick and mortar stores would never allow. Instagram allowed him to reach a wider audience and perfect his skills as a salesman, while also giving him the freedom and tools to develop his talents for creating new products and brands.

Throughout the years, Michael has learned how to become successful on Instagram by following a set of simple rules:

  1. Be vulnerable
  2. Be relatable
  3. Be authentic

These are the three keys to keeping his Instagram account engaging with an ever-growing audience.

Today, we are so used to seeing people post their perfect lives on social media and we only see the sides of people that they want us to see. Nowadays, everything we see on social media is incredibly staged to paint a picture of perfect people that we are supposed to want to be. Although this can make for a fun account to look at, it does little to draw people in and keep them engaged.

So how has Michael been able to build such a large community on Instagram and remain engaging day after day?

The answer is pretty simple, and it is the idea of being authentic. Being authentic means, Michael is not afraid to be vulnerable and show the world his true self, including the good and the bad. His Instagram accounts are not the polished profiles of most online celebrities, but instead, he gives his followers a real look into the ups and downs of his life. Being authentic on Instagram also provides him with a chance to interact personally with his followers and connect with them one-on-one.

When Michael posts on social media, his goal is to create a conversation and engage personally with his community. When he logs in, he tries to tap into the minds of his followers to find out what his community needs the most help with. 

What are their struggles and their pain points? And more importantly, how can he be the solution? Perhaps they need advice on how to lose weight, or maybe they are just trying to deal with the day to day struggles that life throws at them.

“Don’t be afraid to ask your followers what they need, or to poll them to find out what they want,” he reminds us. “We can’t know if we don’t ask.”

Michael also points out that if you want to be relatable, you can’t be afraid to be vulnerable and let your community know that you have struggles just like they do. That you too know what it is like to be depressed and struggle with finding motivation. 

Let them know that you’ve been where they are, and you’ve had to face adversaries as well. The more you understand your followers, the better position you will be in to help them and provide them with what they are looking for.

When presenting yourself on social media, you need to be raw, in-the-moment, and you need to share your true self, not just the glitz and the glam. Allow yourself to get really vulnerable. By doing this, you make yourself into someone that is relatable. When your community looks at you, they should be able to see part of themselves. 

Being vulnerable on social media is probably not within your comfort zone.

However, this authenticity, and willingness to be vulnerable, not only makes you relatable, but it builds trust between you and your community as your follows begin to feel like they personally know you.

It is this approach to social media that has allowed Michael to build a community where is he able to influence millions of people across the world, and it is this approach to social media that has allowed him to create multi-million dollar brands and helped him launch his best-selling book, The Sweet Potato Diet

Michael has seen a lot of success over the years with his businesses, and he continues to see them grow week after week, but he never forgets that it all started with a single Instagram account in his mother’s basement.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.