Sometimes the world of social media can make you feel like the new kid at high school trying to find your place in the cafeteria. It can seem competitive, like a popularity contest, and sometimes it makes you just want to hide in a corner and just try not to get noticed.
But if you can shift that perspective from being overwhelmed to being excited by a new challenge, then here are six surefire ways to build not just any audience, but a solid fanbase that will grow with you and will always want to sit with you at your metaphorical lunch table.
1 – Find Your Niche
This first tip may seem fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised with how difficult it is to grow when you haven’t yet clearly defined who “you” are. Now don’t feel like you need to have it all figured out before you start posting because we all know that perfectionism is a surefire way to never get anything done. However, if you want to give people a reason to keep coming back for more of your content, you’ve got to have a vision for that content and be able to answer this question: who are you?
You should be able to answer this in one short, concise sentence or sum it up in three bullet points. For example, take a successful fitness YouTuber who uploads daily videos with quick ten minute workouts you can do on the go. That YouTuber has found her or his niche — easy, time-saving workout tips for an audience that will most likely range from a busy entrepreneur, to a new parent, or maybe even a college student who is more focused on partying than hitting the gym, whomever it is, they know exactly what they’re going to get when they go to that YouTuber’s page. Perhaps that content creator is also passionate about eating organic and wants to share recipes, workout clothing brands, or products. Maybe they also have a family and love sharing parts of their kids’ lives or little glimpses into their lovelife.
Whatever you want to share, outline it based on your top values and what you’re most passionate for providing. Again, combine these into one concise sentence and that will help you when you are deciding which type of content to share. Is that photo of you in Santa Barbara at the beach in line with your brand? Or do you just like the way you look in it? Get focused, get clear, and stick to your messaging so that people can grow with you.
2 – Know Your Audience
Whether you’re just starting to post or have been for years, once you are clear on who you are, start paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. What gets the most engagement? What about shares, comments, likes, and attention? Most social networking platforms now have analytics tools that can help provide more insight to who your followers are, their sex, age, location, and even other people they follow.
Once you’ve got this information, you’ve got solid gold at your fingertips. You can start formatting your content around what has been proven to work; now for a second, think about how many studies are conducted by huge advertising and consulting firms to measure popular content with consumers — and you’ve got that information right in the palm of your hand, literally, on your smartphone or computer.
3 – Now Really Get to Know Your Audience
Don’t let this be a one-sided relationship. Take time to get to know who your followers are beyond just looking at their statistical information. Look at their pages, find out who and what they post about, leave comments and like their photos to show them that you care. Take time to respond and like the comments they leave on your page.
Ask questions and when you get responses, make sure to acknowledge those responses in your own way. If your fanbase is already quite large, responding to everyone can feel like a daunting task, but simply take five minutes each day and just go through and interact with several people. If you’re really short for time, give a “like” or a quick smiley face. A little really does go a very long way when it comes to this part of growing your audience.
4 – Collaborate
Once you’ve got these pieces mastered, write out a list of all of your favorite content creators who are in your field. Their numbers should be around or slightly larger than your existing fanbase. Dont’ spend a lot of time trying to reach people who have a much higher follower count than you, you can always work up to that later once you’ve grown, but understand that they are most likely getting approached by so many people on a daily basis that your attempted interaction with them will most likely go unnoticed. Instead, spend your energy building with those who can mutually benefit from collaborating with you. If you’re worried that your follower count is too low, focus instead on the talent that you can bring to the other person.
For example, you may have knowledge around creating allergy-friendly appetizers and you notice another food blogger shares a lot of great recipes, but doesn’t have a lot to offer for people who have strict allergies. You may want to approach them via email and mention how much you respect their work (make sure you are already following their accounts), and then state that you have some recipes that have done really well on your site and you’d like to offer them a chance to feature yours and in exchange you will cross promote a recipe of theirs that they want to share.
Keep in mind that most likely, for every ten emails you send out you will get one response. Don’t get discouraged by the no’s, get excited but the yes’s. Remember, this isn’t an overnight success story, you are building, and the longer you do it the better you’ll get at networking. Once you get a group of other influencers that you can collaborate with, you’ll see all of your fanbases grow consistently and quickly.
5 – Be Consistent
When you start to gain momentum, or if you’re just getting started, this is KEY to separating yourself from amateur to professional status, or having hundred or thousands of followers, to having millions. Look at King Bach – he is known as one of the most successful Viners, who also happens to be the guy who convinced me to start posting content on Vine several years back, and he got his start by posting anywhere from five to ten vines per day, then later deleted the ones that didn’t get as many likes.
While this is an extreme example, and this was also was the app was new and users were hungry for as much content as possible versus now, when that high level of posting could be considered annoying, you still need to find your days and times and stick to it. This entire paragraph should be in capital letters because consistency is the number one secret to success across any platform, again, as long as the other above elements are in place.
6 – Have Fun
You should be enjoying this process. If you’re not, your audience will know and they will start to lose interest. If you start faking the process or show up inauthentically, they will call you out on this.
The online community is smart and your fans will often be the first ones to tell you to step up your game. Passion is contagious in anything, and you want your followers to feel like they’re excited to see what you’re doing and thrilled to be a part of the journey.
Remember that in everything you’re doing, you can always go back and start from the top, from tip number one. It’s never too late to switch up your game and go back to the drawing board and start from there.
Why does nearly everyone in the world love watching Beyonce perform? Because she exudes passion and looks like she’s born to be on stage; her aliveness makes us feel alive. Be the Beyonce of whatever you’re posting, every time, no excuses, and the results will blow your mind.
Words from Joel Brown the Founder of Addicted2Success.com who has over 2.2 Social Media Followers and a website with over 100 Million Views Worldwide
One of the biggest questions I get asked is, “Joel, how do I start a successful online business with millions of followers like you did?”
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