target audience

Don’t Worry About the Gurus … Just Do You

Back when I was still finding my way as an entrepreneur, I was between gigs and needed to bring in some cash. I opted for a multi-level marketing business, knowing that if I liked the products enough, I could sell them.

I was right, but felt pressure from the higher ups to recruit other sellers. It wasn’t in my DNA, though … I don’t like cold calls, gimmicks, lame pitches, etc. Against my better judgment, I tried it. What happened was exactly what I suspected: I pissed people off, didn’t recruit anyone, and felt the wrath of being something other than myself.

It taught me a valuable lesson: stay true to me, regardless of outside pressure.

Let Me Be Vulnerable For A Second …

One of my “superpowers” in business is networking. I’m good at it both online and in person. I love engaging with others and digging into what makes them tick. I’m passionate about what I do and that translates into my business conversations.

On the flip side of that is appealing to the masses – converting cold traffic into warm traffic into paying customers. I admit that I’ve allowed myself to fall into the same trap I fell into as a multi-level marketer: listening to the gurus instead of my gut.

I’ve heard some amazing advice: write practical tips my target audience is looking for, make my website about my audience instead of myself, “niche down” to appeal to my “avatar.” While I’ve generated traffic using these methods, my leads continue to come through referrals and through the two platforms I leverage my networking prowess: Twitter and LinkedIn.

The moral of the story? What makes me unique — networking and engagement — is what sells, not conforming to a set of practical tips.

Getting That Wake-Up Call

I owe my most recent wake-up call to a Freelance Transformation podcast episode with Khierstyn Ross. She confessed to host Matt Inglot that she hates pitching herself and that her business method is to network her ass off in the right places and establish herself as the go-to person for crowdfunding.

Like Khierstyn, I hate pitching to cold traffic, though I understand the value for those who are amazing at it (and in the right industry for it).

Khierstyn also talked about setting herself apart from the competition instead of blending in with all of the other Internet marketers. There are countless “social media managers” and “Internet marketers,” so good luck standing out from the crowd, she said.

That statement really resonated with me. I’d attempted to customize my website to my target audience, ultimately losing the part of my site that sells: me.

Embrace What You’re About

As entrepreneurs, it’s critical to embrace what makes us unique.

I love working with passionate people who want to make a difference in the world, whether it’s through education, fitness, health, or some other means. I have to work with people like this. Someone simply out to generate dollars at any and all costs is not my ideal client.

I dig into and ultimately embody the passion of my clients and work to convey it in the clearest possible way to those they want to help. It drives me as an entrepreneur to build those connections for my clients and see how they, in turn, can help others.

That’s what I’m passionate about.

Now — don’t get me wrong — I also nerd out over analytics and Facebook ads and breaking down the nuances of social media and content, but it’s not what sets me apart from other digital marketers.

What sets me apart is my drive to make a difference.

The Moral of the Story

So, why am I writing all this? I’m hoping my experience will help you dig deep into what sets you apart from the competition. I know from firsthand experience that the talents we so easily bestow upon others are hard to use with ourselves. We are too close to our own businesses.

Uncover what you are passionate about and what makes you unique — that is the reason people will want to work with you or hire you to be their consultant. It’s your “superpower” so to speak.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital marketing strategist, a fitness consultant, or an online coach: if you are someone passionate about helping others, it’s that passion that will result in growing your business.

Now it’s just a matter of conveying that passion in the right way.

target audience

Get to Know Your Target Audience’s Behavior for Social Media Success

Social media is incredibly simple. All you have to do is sign up for an account, type in your message, and hit send. Customers or clients will flock, right?

Wrong.

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is its simplicity. The fact that your 13-year-old nephew knows how to navigate Facebook leads you to believe you should be able to make it work for your business without batting an eyelash. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of business owners get tripped up.

Just because you have a successful, six-figure business off of social media, doesn’t mean it will be an automatic success on social media.

Here are some important questions to ask yourself if you’re struggling to get your business humming on social media:

Where Is Your Target Audience Spending its Time?

When you’re launching your business, it’s tempting to think of the key social media players — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest — and believe you have to have a presence on each of them. If your target audience isn’t there, though, you won’t get much traction.

It’s also important to know why they’re spending their time there. If you’re targeting school teachers, for example, you might immediately think of Pinterest as a platform you should invest in. If you’re targeting them because you offer professional development courses, however, LinkedIn or Twitter may actually be better options.

You can’t just think of where your target audience is hanging out, you must also consider why.

How Will Your Clients or Customers Find You?

Map out your customer’s or client’s frame of mind to best understand where you should be focusing your attention.

Let’s go back to our teacher example. You offer professional development courses for teachers. You’ve been putting your efforts into Pinterest with no luck, so you do a little digging. It turns out your target audience is on Pinterest … but they’re using the platform to find lesson plan ideas and DIY projects.

What should you do?

  1. Change the approach: Since your target audience likes DIY projects, what if you created DIY professional development? You could offer printouts or forms they could fill out themselves, then link to additional information (i.e. course materials) on your website.
  2. Change the platform: Maybe Pinterest isn’t the right platform for what you offer, even though your target audience is there. Shift focus to a platform that fosters networking and professional development like Twitter or LinkedIn.
  3. Change the audience: The audience you typically go after may not respond on Pinterest, but perhaps a different audience on Pinterest will. Maybe school administrators use Pinterest to find professional development materials for their teachers.

How does Your Target Audience communicate?

Just because something works on a billboard doesn’t mean it will work on Facebook or Twitter. Each social media platform exists to fill a specific communication need.

I may spend time on Twitter while I’m watching a TV show. Facebook is where I share family photos and engage within communities I’m a part of. I enjoy YouTube to watch hysterical spoof videos. Pinterest is where I find recipes.

Your audience may spend time on each of these platforms for entirely different reasons. It’s important to get inside the heads of your avatar and understand why they enjoy Facebook, Snapchat, or LinkedIn.

That’s the key to understanding how you should be communicating.

How Does the Platform Work?

Each social media platform has it’s own tips and tricks.

  • If you’re posting to Facebook, you better be aware of the dreaded algorithm.
  • Incorporate relevant hashtags on Twitter (you can research on hashtagify.me).
  • LinkedIn prefers longer posts within it’s publisher.
  • Instagram only allows one dynamic link for each account.
  • The list goes on and on …

Final Thoughts

You may take a look at this list and decide it isn’t worth the trouble – you’d rather hire someone. If that’s the case, reach out to me and we can schedule a discovery call — I’d be happy to do the heavy lifting for you!

I am also gauging interest for 60-minute social media strategy sessions!┬áIf that’s something you’re interested in, please let me know!