Whether you’re a business owner, artist, author, or anyone else trying to get your product/service in front of more clients, there are a ton of opportunities to attract customers online. But most people using social media for business purposes are doing it all wrong.
This not only damages your brand, but it wastes a ton of your time, effort, and money (and can cause you to go out of business before you get it right).
So, before you invest a lot of time and energy into any platform, there are 2 questions you should answer to make sure it’s the right place to spend your time and energy:
1. Is there a large population of my ideal followers already hanging out on that platform? (Or, if it’s a newer platform, does the platform have a clear goal of attracting that market?)
2. What frame of mind are my ideal followers in when they’re scrolling through this platform?
The first one’s obvious, but you may be wondering why the second one is equally important. Isn’t it enough to simply get in front of your ideal followers (and potential clients)?
Not anymore it’s not.
The online market (and social media especially) is saturated with people and businesses competing for attention span. In fact, I predict – especially in light of what’s happening with personal data this year – that attention will be the new currency in the near future. [Tweet this]
Never mind that search engines already rank your page based on how long a person stays on it (or how quickly they bounce when they realize this isn’t what they were looking for).
For you, what matters is whether your message is getting in front of your ideal followers or clients at a time when they’re open to hearing what you have to say.
If it’s 5 pm, she just clocked out of work and now she’s sitting in her car, scrolling through Pinterest to find a recipe for tonight’s dinner before driving to the grocery store, it won’t matter how amazing your blog post is if it’s not related to dinner. Sure, she might pin it for later. But if she only opens Pinterest to search for recipes, she’s never going to be receptive to your non-dinner-related message.
You got the pin, but not the win.
Let’s say you’re on Facebook instead. Everyone is on Facebook right? If your ideal clients are there to keep in touch with grandparents and check the neighbourhood watch Facebook group, they might see your post about bookkeeping, mindset, health coaching, your new book, or what have you. But if they’re only there to check a few updates and get off as quickly as possible, your message simply won’t reach them at the right time and place.
So what’s an ambitious business owner or serious author supposed to do to get the right attention, at the right time?
First of all, get clear on why you chose that platform as the best place to reach your ideal followers. Is it because that’s the platform YOU go to when you want answers about this kind of stuff? And is that because you’re immersed in this industry and you know that’s the go-to place for people like you? (But not necessarily your client’s go-to spot for this kind of info.)
Is there possibly another platform where your ideal followers and clients go for this kind of information?
For example, I see a lot of yoga specialists on Facebook every day, engaging in groups, writing posts, sharing updates. I can honestly say, it has NEVER occurred to me to look for anything yoga related on Facebook. And when I see their posts, I’m not in the frame of mind to stop what I’m doing and do yoga (especially if I’m scrolling on my phone).
When I want yoga gear or help, I go straight to youTube, DailyOm, or Yoga Magazine’s website.
I do notice the yoga experts who show up there. And when I go there, I’m in the frame of mind to stop what I’m doing and actually watch yoga videos – even from someone I’ve never heard of before. If I like what I see, I’ll subscribe to their channel and probably go seek out their website, maybe buy a product or two. \
So why do these yoga specialists spend so much time on Facebook? My guess is because that’s where other yoga specialists hang out. Or because someone told them Facebook was the key to a lifestyle of wealth and freedom. (And it was – in 2010!)
Maybe Facebook is where die-hard yoga fans connect. But in my experience working with a few of these yoga experts, they got MUCH bigger results when they started posting on YouTube instead.
So before you spend too much time, money, or effort on a platform, make sure it’s somewhere your ideal followers go to find solutions like the ones you offer.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how many users view the big platforms:
Pinterest is the ideal place for food bloggers, interior decorators, DIY craftspeople, kids crafts, mommy interests, etc. because people use Pinterest as a visual search engine when they’re looking for DIY ideas or beautiful images to brighten their day.
Bloggers LOVE Pinterest because it’s like a “blog-friendly Google.”
Use Pinterest to drive traffic to solutions your ideal client is actively looking for without knowing anything about your business. Use your content (blog posts) to walk them through a DIY solution and then leave a breadcrumb at the end of that post that shows them the next step.
If you want to stand out on Pinterest, you have to find that special (visual) angle that will stand out from the crowd, while fitting into the format. Have some fun experimenting until you find what works best for your brand.
Instagram is ideal for fitness experts, hair stylists & colourists, celebrities, authors, artists, and also a great place for interior decorators, party planners, etc. – anything with a visual product or artistic, creative perspective.
Many people use Instagram to bond over the things they like. They want to have a conversation with the author who wrote the book that’s in the image. They want to see behind the scenes photos of where their favorite artists/musicians are and then bond with other fans over it. And they want to show off their own progress to other members of the same fitness community (or hashtag) and cheer each other on.
Use Instagram to build community, start conversations, and connect with your audience. Use Instagram ads for promo posts that easily convert your fans into clients.
If you want to stand out on Instagram, use an image style that uniquely suits your brand and don’t be afraid to go outside the boxes of Instagram’s square grid shape.
Facebook is IDEAL for local businesses and anyone who works with people who feel like they NEED to be on Facebook. (Like me, and all the clients I help to stop spinning their wheels on Facebook and start getting better results on other platforms!)
Use Facebook as an online storefront for your business. Create content that makes your ideal client want to stop by everyday and see what’s brewing. Keep them interested and build that sense of, “Yeah, these people really get me!”
If you want to stand out on Facebook, make sure you reach people when they’re ready for the thing you’re offering. For example, if you know they’re on Facebook to keep in touch with family, connect what you’re offering to that family time. Show them how your solution helps them get more family time in their life, or enjoy a better quality of family time with your product/service.
Twitter is ideal for people who want to have conversations with people they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. It’s also a great place for anyone who can demonstrate their skills best by chatting with people and aspiring tv personalities, such as sportscasters, talk-show hosts, comedians, news journalists, etc.
People go to Twitter for news, updates, conversations, different points of view, and expert advice. Twitter is also a great platform for authors because there is a large population of enthusiastic readers, authors, agents, publishers, and more on Twitter.
Use Twitter to be recognized as an authority in your industry, chat with your audience around different topics, participate in current event conversations (which can get your Tweets in front of millions of people worldwide, depending on how well you connect with viewers), and connect with peers & influencers in your industry.
If you want to stand out on Twitter, use a mixture of different media to join the conversation in a way that will be embraced by the audience. Everything from gifs to videos, to plain text has the power to sway and inspire.
YouTube is also ideal for aspiring tv personalities (to show your on-camera skills) as well as software developers, app developers, and anyone who sells a product or service that would benefit from a visual walk-through video/tutorial to show how something is used. YouTube is also the go-to spot for any kind of teaching – yoga, fitness, math, language, sports, etc. Authors can use YouTube to broadcast speaking engagements, book signings, unboxing, reveals, and things that make you feel like you’re in the same room as your fans.
Use YouTube to show your audience how to do the thing they want to learn how to do. When they type a problem into Google’s search box, your videos should show up with a solution they can do right now where they’re sitting.
If you want to stand out on YouTube, have a VERY specific and unique U.S.P. and personality. You don’t have to be an over the top entertainer (but that works too, if that’s YOU), you just have to be unique and clearly understood. Think of this almost like customer service for customers who haven’t bought from you yet.
LinkedIn is, of course, ideal for making connections, growing your network so you can get on other people’s radar, and demonstrating your expertise through your profile and articles. LinkedIn also features groups which are an ideal place for building credibility and staying up-to-date with changes in your industry.
Use LinkedIn if your ideal client is actively using the site for goals that are aligned with your product/services. Treat it a lot like Facebook – give people a reason to connect with you and stay in touch with you. Don’t half-ass LinkedIn just because you think you need to be everywhere. And if your people are on LinkedIn, spend ALL your social media efforts there until you have enough success to hire a team to manage social media efforts for you.
To stand out on LinkedIn, connect with peers and influencers who already have the audience you want to target, ask and inspire endorsements for the specific traits that relate to your business, publish articles for your specific niche, and engage in groups related to your industry.
There are loads of other platforms too, like Reddit, Twitch, Imgur, Vero, etc. that appeal to other niches like gamers, anime fans, comic book fans, artists, and more. Being super visible on a micro-niche platform might be more effective than blending into the noise of the big platforms. Choose what’s best for your unique situation.
No one platform is truly ideal for everyone.
So the first step in growing your following is to make sure you’re growing it in the right place. You can grow a following ANYWHERE. But to turn those followers into engaged fans and potentially paying clients, you want to be sure you’re growing your following in the right place.
Numbers usually aren’t enough if it’s all quantity and no quality.
Thanks for reading! 👀
Don’t miss part 2 of this series – How to ENGAGE with your followers to turn them into raving fans who keep coming back for more!
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