Growing an Engaged Audience and Bringing Them to Your Own Platform
Hear from James Pierce (@FromClickToSale), who has been absolutely crushing it on Twitter the last couple of months! We dive into James’ story about how he decided to make Twitter his social media platform of choice and why it is so important to have a clear purpose and reason for getting into social media. Hint: it should be to get people off of social media.
Nick (00:00): How do you build an audience? More importantly, how do you build an engaged audience? That's what we're here to talk about today. On this episode, I sit down with James Pierce. Who's here to talk about his experiences of starting and growing several blogs, including his current blog, From Click to Sale. We talk about how he has grown his audience on Twitter, and if you're building an audience on social media, why it is so important that you get people off those platforms and onto your own. Just a quick disclaimer, I made a comment in this episode about James being from the UK, and that is in fact false. He is actually from Switzerland. So James, I apologize. And I hope we can still be friends. Also, if you haven't already reviewed the podcast on iTunes, please do that right now. Yes. I mean, right now it will take you one minute to do, and you can even do that while you continue listening to this episode. If you do that, I would greatly appreciate it. Alright. Enough of that, let's get onto this episode with James. This isn't the Nine-Five Podcast and I'm your host Nick Nalbach. Where we get into the minds of entrepreneurs and people just like you, so you can start, build, and grow your own online business.
Nick (01:15): Okay. We are here on the Nine-Five Podcast and I have James Pierce with me from, FromClickToSale. And today we're going to be talking about growing an engaged audience and the different ways that we can actually build an audience for our own online business and ultimately bring in more income. So James, welcome to the show.
James (01:34): Hi Nick. Thank you for having me on the show.
Nick (01:37): Absolutely man, before we even get into this thing, I did want to bring up, I thought it was super interesting, like our story. So we met on Twitter, but after we got chatting and talking to each other, stuff like that, trying to figure out who we are, we found out that you are from overseas, you are in the UK and I'm obviously living in the US but we ended up in the same general area around the same timeframe. So James went to, he came as a foreign exchange student over to Wisconsin where I am from, and it's the Stevens Point Wisconsin area. And he went to Rosholt, which if you know anything about Wisconsin, Rosholt and Stevens Point are very close to each other. And we did not know each other at all, growing up, we just happened to meet on Twitter and found this out after the fact. So that's, I think it was crazy. Like this world is super small.
James (02:29): Funny thing is we could have even played against each other or played sports together. If our schools would have competed.
Nick (02:36): Yeah. And I spent a lot of time in Rosholt. I had a lot of friends growing up in Rosholt, so it's very possible that we crossed paths and didn't even realize it. And then Twitter somehow brought us into one location.
James (02:49): That is, that is crazy. I left Switzerland for several years, like to live in the US and Canada. And um, now I'm back here, but I'm not planning on in Switzerland forever.
Nick (03:01): So after, after Switzerland, where do you plan on heading next? Do you have any idea or are you just kind of winging it?
James (03:06): I'd love to go to Asia next because I've never been to Asia. Like I've been to many countries in the West, but the furthest I went East was Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Dubai is amazing
Nick (03:22): Dubai. All I've seen is pictures and the pictures blow me away. So I'm always very fascinated by it. That's one place that I've always wanted to go for sure.
James (03:30): I mean, the main critique that people have with Dubai that it's, uh, it's not what I think, but people say it's like all fake because everything was just built recently. But that's not the feeling that I had when I was there. The, the two things that I liked about Dubai were, um, the ocean is really, really warm. Like it's feels like you're sitting in a bath tub. And the other thing is there's all the food from all around the world. Like if any, any, um, Canadians are listening in, like in Dubai, in the mall, we could order poutin and eat. Poutin that tasted exactly. Like I had it in Montreal and I mean, there's all kinds of food there. It's um, yeah. Warm, warm ocean and lots of good food.
Nick (04:18): What more do you need? So, okay. You mentioned poutine. Does that mean that, and you've obviously been in Wisconsin, you've had cheese curds. Are you pro or against cheese curds?
James (04:29): That's what they put in Putin. Yes. Yeah.
Nick (04:31): At least that's my understanding. That's the poutine that I've had.
James (04:34): That's my understanding as well. Just making sure. Yeah. No, I love it. Actually. I don't think I've ever had a cheese product that I didn't like. There's lots of great cheese in Switzerland as well. So I'm, I'm used, like, if you're Swiss, like you're, you're used to smelling cheese and I'm eating cheese all the time.
Nick (04:51): Oh, there you go. So it was, it was a match made.
James (04:54): Yeah. So then what, what's the issue that people have with cheese curds?
Nick (04:58): See a lot of people, mainly from the South, they don't have cheese curds in the Southern States. So a lot of times people have not even heard of cheese curds or if they have it, if they haven't tried them, it's so off putting, for some reason that idea of a cheese curd, like they think of like, almost like raw or not raw, but like spoiled, like curdled milk type cheese curds. I think that's what kind of gives it the bad image.
James (05:22): When I was in Italy, we ate cheese filled with maggots. So basically the maggots, they live in the cheese and they, they add flavor to the cheese. So, I mean, that's not my favorites, that's not my favorite. Like I tried it, it was all right. But, uh, I mean, cheese curds are nothing compared to that.
Nick (05:42): I mean, I guess I can't say I wouldn't try it, but I'd be very skeptical. Awesome. So yeah, that's how we kind of met. We met on Twitter through that, and then as we got to know each other, we found out all this crazy stuff about like, we were basically right to each other the entire time, but getting right into the show now, I guess James tell a little bit of the audience about who you are and what it is you're actually doing in the online entrepreneurial space.
James (06:09): Okay. So, um, right now I do part-time freelancing. I'm still a freelance web developer, but most of my, my time is spent in a blogging, growing my blog FromClickToSale and growing my Twitter audience also on Twitter with my handle @fromclicktosale.
Nick (06:27): Awesome. And I've been watching James grow on Twitter the last several months now. And you've been growing like crazy. Like I think we both started, we probably had pretty equivalent followers. You might've even started with less followers than I did when we actually started talking. And you have just continued to grow. It's insane. And the amount of engagement that you get and like the genuine engagement you get from all these people is just amazing.
James (06:50): Now I've passed two months on Twitter. And I mean, the reason why I went on Twitter is because I've never used a social media. I mean, I, I used to create a mobile mobile apps, especially like game apps. That's, that's how I became a game developer. And so I was developing my own apps as well because I saw how profitable, like how lucrative this market is and to promote my apps. I was posting like short clips and visuals on Instagram and Twitter, but I was completely anonymous. And that was my only experience with social media. And I always really shied away from it. So the reason why I went on Twitter, it was really like, you know, this, this whole idea, this, this mindset idea that you have to keep growing and you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. And for me getting on Twitter with my name and my photo and just putting myself out there, it was very, very uncomfortable for me. And I mean, that was right at the beginning when we met and, um, you know, just chatting with you and DMS and seeing that there's, you know, everyone's just normal and, like everyone does, there's something online and there is no people are not as judgemental as, as I thought, as long as you don't put out fake information, then you can just share your progress. You can talk about your work, you can share your experience. You can even say that things that you don't know and it's perfectly fine.
Nick (08:12): Yeah. I mean, I guess first of all, I didn't even realize it's only been two months that's. I mean, the growth that you've had is even more impressive to me now, but yeah, no, I see what you're saying, I guess is I think a lot of people end up going through that. I mean, there's a lot of introverts out there. You might not be able to tell from talking to me or the fact that I'm starting this podcast, but I am very much an introvert. I keep to myself like doing this podcast was a very big step for me. But just like you said, like everyone's striving to grow. Everyone wants to get better. And in order to do that, you have to step outside of that comfort zone. That's exactly what you're doing. I mean, you started that with Twitter a couple months ago, and now you're even getting into the video content , which you're putting out great videos, very informational, very helpful videos now.
Nick (09:00): So I mean, being able to continue to step outside that comfort zone that's I mean, I can't remember who I had heard say this. I think it was on another podcast that I listened to, but growth happens outside the comfort zone. If you stay complacent and you stay inside your comfort zone, you're always going to stay where you're at. If you're getting nervous and you're pushing yourself to be nervous and to be uncomfortable, that's when you're going to make progress. So that's why I think it's so awesome that you are taking that initiative and you are stepping outside that comfort zone.
James (09:28): Yeah, it was. Um, yeah, from, for me, it was huge. Now looking back, it's always the same story you imagine it's way worse than it is. Like you have all these fears in your head or all these worries that when you're actually in it, that's not even the issue. The things that I worried about for social media, they're not even real. You have other things to think about, like how to deliver content, how to engage with people, like how to find your audience, you know, that's what it boils down to. Not the fears that I had.
Nick (09:57): No, I mean, that's a good point. We've talked about it on Twitter and everything as well. Like you can paralyze yourself and not take any kind of action at all. And when you do that, you're going to end up in the same spot that you're at. But if you take action, no one, no one is perfect when they get started. Absolutely. No one is perfect. Everyone goes through issues, troubles problems that they have to sort through. And the quicker you get started, the quicker you can get a little bit more comfortable. And the sooner that you can actually overcome a lot of those obstacles that are real. And I guess, like you said, not something that you thought was going to be an issue. Now you focus on the meat, you focus on the real life issues that you have to face to grow that Twitter account or grow that blog following.
James (10:37): Yeah. And what'd you just say, that is exactly true. Like nobody goes on on Twitter or starts a blog or starts a podcast. And it's just easy for them. You know, nobody does that. Everyone has their issues, their obstacles, their challenges, whether that's time or resources or whatever it is in life that you're dealing with. Everyone has that. So thinking that I am the only one who has to face issues, it's just not realistic. And also naive. Everyone has that everyone has to deal with it. And I'm no exception. So kind of boils down to not taking yourself too seriously. That's how I, how I see it in the end.
Nick (11:13): The next question I want to ask you is a question that I've been asking. All of the people that I interview right now for coming on the show, everyone has their own, I call it a superpower or something that they are great at. They're better than everyone else at. This is a time to, I guess, kind of humble brag in a way. What do you think would be your superpower
James (11:34): Probably at this point my super power is experience. I would say because I've, um, I mean, how do I explain this superpower without making a long story? But basically what, what I mean is I, I studied different things. I worked in very different industries. I was, I was lucky to try out many different projects, all of them to a different degree of success and failures. So right now, everything that I do, everything that I, that I work on, it doesn't, it feels like I've had to go through this process already, whether that's motivation or discipline, or just doing research or analyzing the data, all these things. It's it's at this point, it's almost like I already have the experience and I just need to not repeat mistakes.
Nick (12:20): That is awesome. I mean, experience is something that I've very much lacked in, in part, because I send myself in a bunch of different directions. I am very much victim to the shiny object syndrome where I keep jumping from one thing to the next. Yep.
James (12:35): In that case you would have experienced, right? Like you you've, you've seen many different things and that adds to your, your bucket of experience, you know? And then once, once you realize that you need to stick to something, you'll recognize many of the patterns that you've already faced in, on all the different projects that you've tried.
Nick (12:53): That is very true, I guess. Uh, how does this thing go, Jack of all trades master of none. I feel like that's, that's kind of where I'm at right now. And I'm hoping as I get more, like what you said as I experienced more things and I get more involved with it, I'll kind of find my lane and be able to stay within that lane a little bit better. But I think that's, that's also again where a lot of people end up struggling and it is they're all over the place. And I agree with you. The experience does help. I feel like I do have a very good idea of everything in the different categories, from marketing to blogging, to content creation, to basically have a, a general knowledge of all these areas. But now it's, for me, it's time to, I guess, pick a lane and stick to it.
James (13:35): Maybe I could put it differently. My biggest revelation was that doesn't matter what you pick. It will get boring. At one point, there is no activity, no business model or job that doesn't get boring at one point. It's just because you're doing it day in, day out, you're doing it for a long period of time. And one day you've talked about it a billion times. You've heard it a hundred times and it's like, you feel stale, right? And that's, that's when FOMO hits that's that's when fear of missing out hits that's when you think, Oh, maybe I'm ready to do something else. Everything I've learned here, I apply this to a, a new idea. I'm gonna succeed faster. But when you've done that a couple of times, then you realize no matter how awesome your project looks at the beginning, there will be days where you, you feel like you hit a wall where it will get boring.
James (14:25): And this experience like I'm mentally prepared that there will be days where I think, Oh my God, my blog, or even Twitter, it's like, I need a break, but that's just part of the process that that's why I always say that's the difference between a hobby and the business. When you're running a business, it's not about you. It's about what you deliver to the market. And you have to figure out a way to deliver it. Whether you're in the mood or not. If it's a hobby, then you can have fun. You can quit any day. You can start something you any day doesn't matter, but you just have to decide, are you in for a business or is this just a hobby? And if it's a business world, there will be boring times. that's just part of it.
Nick (15:01): Yeah, that's an excellent point, James. I think like what you were saying, everything's going to kind of get boring and once it does get boring, you can either, yeah, you get that FOMO and you decide to pick something else up or you power through it. And you get through those boring moments, those stale mundane moments. But I think that's where having your goals clearly outlined can make a huge impact on the direction you should go, because maybe, maybe you have reached the end of that. I guess, lane's life-span. If that makes sense. Maybe you've been on this path for so long and now it is time to make a change. But if you don't have any goals set, at what point do you make that change? If you have goals already outlined and you know what your purpose is in that lane, then once you've achieved your goals, okay? Maybe now it's time to switch lanes and we're going to focus on this direction and kind of head that way.
James (15:50): That's true. That's true. If you don't have goals, you don't know how far ahead you are, right? Like you could, you could be growing your Twitter account or your blog forever. If you don't have a goal, like I want 15,000 followers, then you don't know how, how far ahead you are. You could be gaining followers into the millions and still not be done if there is no benchmark, but I think it's no coincidence that business and mindset are so heavily connected because most of these, like the strategies we can buy the strategies, there's people creating awesome courses on virtually every kind of business model or side hustle. We have the knowledge. But then we're where we struggle is really in our, our head where we really struggle is with motivation, discipline. Like you said, goals, like you lose the vision, you even question like, why did I start this in the first place? Or does this really work? All these things are happening in our mind. And that's why it's no coincidence that once you understand the technical parts in what remains is a mind game is really how strong are you mentally? How, how well prepared are you for, for the process? Because doing the tasks itself is not that hard
Nick (17:03): Going off of that a little bit. What would be a few things you would say for someone that's just getting started that, I mean, we're talking about getting on down the road, getting bored, kind of losing the interest in it. Um, what do you think are a few things that people should consider when they're getting started? Um, whether that's setting clear goals or kind of having everything mapped out and outlined, I guess, what kind of tips or strategies would you give someone who's trying to get started and wants to kind of prevent themselves from that burnout or feeling like they need to change shift gears?
James (17:36): So if you're someone getting started, um, the first question you should ask yourself is what is your best medium? Meaning, are you good at writing or are you good at videos? Or are you good at images or audio? So you, you should, you should decide which medium you're going to master. For me, that's a writing. That's why I have a blog. That's why I decided to go on Twitter fits really well with, with blogging. Both are written content platforms, but if you don't like writing then, but you're, you have no problem stepping in front of the camera. You have good body language. You come across as spontaneous and genuine, on video. Then maybe video content is for you. But the first question should ask yourself is which medium is, is like your, your strength or which one do you see yourself doing every day for a few years? Like, that's what you should ask yourself. What can I do every day for a few years? But that is like specifically for content marketing. That's pretty much my thing is content marketing, but there are also other things like flipping or e-commerce right? Like Amazon FBA drop shipping those things. And then you have investing like stock market tech, that kind of stuff. So obviously that's not about content marketing, but if we talk about content marketing, which I think everyone who is on Twitter and most of them are going to be listening to this podcast are probably thinking about content marketing. Yeah. Once you have your medium, then the next question is which platform are you going to choose? So you're going to choose a platform that's perfect for your medium. Like if it's written and you're either going to be like on Twitter or a blog, if it's video, you can go on YouTube. You can go on Tick-Tock. You can go on Instagram. If it's pictures, you can go on Instagram or Pinterest. And if it's audio, then you choose a podcasting platform, right? So then you have your medium and then you choose your platform. And once you have this combination, it's just buy a course from a credible source on your medium and platform combination buy that, study it and just stick with it until you achieve your first goal, which for most people is having a, like a sustainable income on the side.
Nick (19:51): I think it is important to note when I got into online business and kind of started down this route. I wasn't comfortable on video. I am not a good writer. If I were to I guess, grade myself, I did terrible in school when it came to writing. So right now blogging is like your main?
James (20:14): I mean, it doesn't make sense that it doesn't make sense that I thought of myself as a, as a writer because I've had horrible grades for all my essays. None of like, like all classes were related to writing. It was history, foreign languages and the languages in general. Like I had not good grades in those fields, in my, my German teacher where we always had to write the essays. He always taught me. He told me repeatedly when I asked him, like, what do I need to do to improve my grades? He repeatedly told me, you know, some people they're just not meant to be writers. And it's so funny that now I'm here telling people, well, I prefer written content. I don't know how that happened. To be honest, I don't know when the transition happened, but at the beginning, most definitely. I did not see myself as a writer. I got into blogging more from a different point of view, like, you know, the, the whole analytics and research area where you search keywords and the optimized content for that. I didn't see myself as, as a writer in that sense.
Nick (21:24): And that that's a very similar situation that I was in, for some reason, blogging caught my attention and I started doing it. So if anyone's out there and they say, well, I really wish I could do blogging, or I really wish I could do video content, but I'm just not any good at it. Start doing it now, like start practicing it. Even if you don't publish a single thing, like grab out a pen and paper, open up your laptop, whatever it is, start writing stuff down practice. But really if you, the more, I guess the quicker you start, the quicker you can perfect it. And the more comfortable you're going to be later on down the road, if you wait and you constantly think, man, I really wish I would do that. I really wish I'd do that. You're not going to do it. And you're always going to have that regret. So if any of these platforms that you can get into, whether that's blogging podcasts, video, if any of that interests, you give it a try, start practicing it now. So that later on down the road, you'll be better off. Yeah,
James (22:20): Absolutely. And what's really funny is that if you don't create content for a given platform, I guarantee you, you have a wrong idea of what it takes to create content because for bloggers, most virtually anyone I talked to is not a blogger. They assume that they need to be a good writer and it's not true. You actually it's the opposite. Like I almost feel like bad writers make better bloggers because the blogging, the blogging is fear. People don't want to read a newspaper. If they want to read a newspaper, they read a newspaper or magazine. Also. They don't want to read essays. Blogging content is much more conversational and relaxed and even grammar errors, errors, or like, you know, it's like very,
Nick (23:07): Oh, I think that's a really good point that you made there because blogging seems to be a little bit more, I dunno, it's like you said more conversational. It's not as professional or as you learn writing, growing up, it's very technical. And I feel like blogging is very much depending on the niche, I guess, but for the most part, it's very relaxed in a sense like people want to have that personal connection with you and you can build that through your writing. And it doesn't have to be very, I guess, professional or technical when you're actually writing the blog.
James (23:37): I mean, even actually opposite unless you're having like a, like a scientific blog, but I wouldn't even call it a blog. That's more like, you know, for like exchanging scientific ideas or something, but blogging, the simpler you write the better is simplify as much as you can. And another thing like, because this whole talk, now it started with you. Don't really, you probably misjudged the, what it takes to create content for a platform, very similar to video content before I said, you know, if you have good body language and can, can talk, well, that's not even that true for video content for video content. If you have good editing skills, like if you enjoy editing videos, adding some simple effects or, you know, even just putting emojis somewhere or timing it with sound effects, that kind of thing. You're going to create great video content. So you don't have to be like a charismatic person or something to create good video content. If, if you have good editing skills, you will do well really well on YouTube. For example,
Nick (24:39): There's infinite possibilities for people online. So, I mean, you don't have to be the expert in one field. I mean, you, you can kind of bring your own style to any platform that you choose to go on or any medium that you choose to go on. Like that's what your personal touch. I always say, that's your competitive advantage. You can be putting out the same content as someone else. Who's way more popular and has way bigger following than you do. But you are going to reach a different audience than they are. And that is because of your personal touch that you bring to is. Yeah.
James (25:09): And I mean, you should, or actually you have to, because if you're generic, it's virtually impossible to stand out.
Nick (25:16): You've been getting started. You said your, your big superpower was the experience that you had. What has that experience been like for you coming up through online business? Like, is this something that you've always have seen yourself moving in this direction or is it something you just kind of picked up as you went and now you said you started with developing apps. Um, is this, I guess the direction you've always seen yourself moving?
James (25:40): How did I get into this? I mean, honestly, I did not see myself as someone running an online business from the very beginning, but how I got into this is because I was very, very interested in trading in the stock market. And that was really the first thing I ever did with my money was trading stocks. That's how I got into this whole scene of, you know, money management and getting rich and accumulating wealth, all these questions, all these books. And one thing that I learned from books very early is that you need to run a business, first of all, for cash flow. So you can invest it in a, in assets. And second of all, also for tax reasons like running a business, do you have like this, these three pillars of wealth, you have assets like you're in your investor money, you run a business and you have real estate, these three pillars of wealth. That's what I remember reading about. And then I just asked myself, so how can I start a business? And then I was looking online. And at that time starting a business online was the cheapest option. So I started with online business ideas and that's how I, how I learned about blogging. And that's how I created my first blog.
Nick (26:51): So you're your first blog. So FromClickToSale, that was not your first blog?
James (26:55): No, no. FromClickToSale is probably, I think it's my seventh. It's either my sixth, seventh or eighth blog, but I'm not entirely sure. Yeah, because it's, it's been, it's been spread out over so many years. The stock market was my obsession from, from a very early on. And I opened my, my, my portfolio right when I turned 18 and before I was 18, I was, I was begging my mom. I was like, please buy this stock. I know it's going to go up. And she just thought I'm crazy. But then when I turned 18, I just immediately opened my portfolio and was so obsessed with it. And at that time, for me, it was clear I'm going to work in the financial industry. So then I went to law school and I started working as a financial consultant, but then working in this industry, I was so disappointed that the day to day work has nothing to do investing. Like the investment decisions there, at least where I worked in, I worked in two companies, all this, this interesting decisions they were made by the founders and by the partners, they just delegate. They just delegate most of the paperwork and administrative work. And even if you were in the sales team, like flying to companies and pitching your, your like, um, your funds and investment products, the pitch it's already done for you, you get a PowerPoint presentation and your job is to go there present it, answer questions, but these, these juicy questions, you know, like where do we invest? How much Y that is very, very, like, all these things are decided on a very high level. And that was just so disappointed that I had nothing to do with it. And that was how I imagined it completely naive. So that's how I just quit my job and went back to college and learned programming because that's when I already had my second block online. And I was just so curious, how do blocks work on the backend? So I had to learn programming and databases, and that's what I learned in college.
James (28:49): And after that, I worked as a database and software engineer. And during those times I wasn't blogging. Like I, I had blogs, like they were running passively and making some sales, but I wasn't growing them or starting anything. And that's why it was always like up and down. And then I went, I started creating apps and then I had this huge idea to, you know, to create a killer app, went into that industry. And then just always up and down with blogs until now, like I'm really FromClickToSale. That's why, I mean, like my superpower in terms of experience, I already know what's going to happen in one or two years down the road with, FromClickToSale and I'm perfectly prepared for that to keep it growing.
Nick (29:30): That's awesome. The programming and all that type of stuff. I, I had a very big interest in that growing up. And I actually started down that path when I was in college and ended up bailing on it for whatever reason, but it's always something that I wish I would have stuck to, especially seeing how technology has advanced. Now it's like programming should almost be a second language that's taught in schools now instead of like another foreign language, just because of how popular it is and how useful that skill is. And it's, it's still something that I can go back and do. Like, I'm sure I can find courses online and stuff like that to get into it. But I think that's a very great skill to have, especially this day and age.
James (30:09): I mean, that's why it was so easy for me to, to start freelancing, like as a, as a web developer or programmer. It's really easy. If you have projects that you can put on your portfolio, then it was really easy to get started with freelancing,
Nick (30:22): The freelancing services. Does that come through like another website that you're running or do you, how do you, I guess, pick up clients?
James (30:29): I started on Upwork. That's where I started then. Um, after that, like now I get everything from referrals or just past clients coming back to me asking, Hey James, do we have time for this? And, um, yeah, I mean, now I'm scaling back now I've started saying no to many things because I'm really like going all in with the, FromClickToSale. But, um, that's, it's really kind of became a, I dunno, it's like a snowball, you know, it became easier and easier,
Nick (30:56): Right. For everyone listening, James mentioned Upwork. That is, I think back in the episode that we talked with Tyler, the first episode that we recorded, um, it's very similar to services like Fiverr and Tyler had mentioned Legiit on his episode. Upwork is very similar to that. You can list your services and I'm not too familiar with Upwork, but I mean, there's design services, writing services, SEO, programming, pretty much any kind of freelance work. So if you are a freelancer and you want to get yourself out there, Upwork is a very great place to list your services. Or if you're looking to outsource someone is also a great place to go hire someone for the various projects or tasks that you have going on. I will put links to all that in the show notes as well.
James (31:44): Say that Fiverr is more for geeks. I mean, both the freelancing platforms, a hundred percent like Fiverr is more like I need a logo or you know, that, that kind of thing and Upwork that exists also. But what you on Upwork, you get, you get to work for companies, you know, there's companies, they, they might be in, um, in it or in development. And they want to keep their teams flexible depending on which contracts they have. So they might have four full time programmers. And then if a big project comes in, then they need to hire two additional programmers on the spot. And then they go on Upwork and they they find people they're like someone like me, if you're looking for longterm projects on the Upwork, just projects that go that last months, you know, and if you want to work for dislike longterm contracts, and I think Upwork is the way to go.
Nick (32:37): No thanks. Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, it, it does kind of seem, I've spent a little bit of time playing on Upwork. I was looking to outsource some of the writing that I do, but yeah, it did seem that was more, almost like a part time to full time position with Upwork versus Fiverr. You are paying basically by, like you said, the gig, the project. So if I wanted to have someone write a blog post for me, I would go there and have whoever write a thousand word article for me. And then that's it. That gig is done
James (33:06): Or thing on the Upwork that's really cool is that they have an escrow service, meaning that if you, they guarantee payment, if you do the tasks and you can prove that you did all the tasks, Upwork will pay you, even if the contractor refuses to pay and then Upwork deals with the contractor to get the money back. So you, as a freelancer are very well protected. Like you don't have to deal with these things. You just have to prove that you did it according to the prerequisites, of course. But yeah, Upwork is great.
Nick (33:35): Anybody who is interested in checking Upwork out, like I said, it's just upwork.com, but that will all be in the show notes here. So all you have to do is come visit the show notes and you can check it out yourself. I kind of want to shift gears here a little bit, right. When we opened up, we kind of talked about growing an audience online and you took to blogging obviously, and to Twitter to basically start growing that audience. And you have been doing a pretty awesome job in my opinion at growing that audience on Twitter. So I just kind of wanted to get into a little bit about that topic, actually growing an engaged audience, more importantly, not just growing an audience, but an audience that cares what you have to say. How do you, how do you think Twitter plays into that versus any other social media platform?
James (34:20): It's hard for me to compare because I didn't personally grow an audience on any of the other social media platforms. I just know. So I mentioned freelancing. I I'm also like I've helped several companies with their online businesses to get them more clients and more traffic. So I wasn't just working as a web developer. I was also working as a consultant and also worked for a large email marketing firm for, for several years. So that's where most of my experience comes from with other platforms. But since I don't have the personal experience, it's hard for me to compare. I don't know how, you know, how good of an answer I can give besides saying that there's Pinterest. If you have a niche for Pinterest and you can create images, then Pinterest is right now, the ultimate traffic machine. There's almost no doubt about that. And if you have something to sell and you're good with short videos, then Instagram seems to be really, really good. And then there's, there's Twitter. My favorite though.
Nick (35:23): I think Twitter is because I've been playing around with every platform. I've spent a little bit more time with Twitter than anything else, but it's basic basically, because I feel like the level of connecting that you can make with people on Twitter is a lot higher than you can on any other platform. I personally find it very difficult to connect with new people on Facebook and Instagram, and even LinkedIn, I've tried messing around with LinkedIn, but to me, Twitter seems like you're able to get to people.
James (35:51): Yeah, I would agree with that except for maybe not Facebook groups, Facebook groups are very engaged, but for sure, like Pinterest, there is, there are, I mean, posts, comments on Pinterest. Like it's very rare. It's very like one sided. Just people watch it, see it, click it or not. That's it. Same with Instagram. There's a common section on Instagram, but it's not at all comparable to the reply section on Twitter. So again, Twitter is way more engaged. The argument for Facebook of course, is that if you want to run Facebook ads and you build an audience on Facebook, then it's your you'll have a much easier time creating a lookalike ads. You know, that you can, you can use this data who's in your group. Who's following your page. Can use this data to create better ads, like taught, not, not create better ads, but target your ads better.
James (36:40): So that's one strong case for, for Facebook, if you're interested in PPC, but just on a, on an engagement level, the strength of Twitter is that it has the biggest organic reach. So something that never happens on other platforms is so like, if I follow you and you follow someone that I don't follow, but you engage with a person, whether that's a like retweet or even just writing a reply, I may very well see that on my timeline. So I may see content from a Twitter account that I've never seen before that I don't follow. That's not something that can happen on Instagram. For example, you're only going to see content from people that you're following.
Nick (37:18): That's a very good point. Yeah. I have noticed that quite a bit. A lot of the content that I end up engaging with is actually content that someone like you or someone else that I follow actually ends up liking or re tweeting. And that's a lot of times how I pick the content that I choose to engage with in my opinion, has helped me grow a bigger audience because I'm engaging with people that I don't already follow, but that my followers are kind of sending my way in a sense.
James (37:43): Yeah, that's, that's the power of Twitter. That's the organic reach. And I mean, that's what, I don't know if you've noticed, but when I was just consuming Twitter, like not posting anything, ever just scrolling the timeline, sometimes there could be tweets that went completely viral. Then I checked out the profile and they had like 200 followers. It was a private account. And you know, it just exploded just because that's the nature of Twitter. People like that tweeted lands everywhere. Yeah.
Nick (38:10): The, the viral aspect of Twitter kinda blows my mind. I, I wish I understand algorithms better. And I really wish I understood Twitter's algorithm better because I mean, some of the stuff that I see go viral, I'm thinking, okay, come on. But then other things that you could say, okay, well that a lot of time was put into that specific message, but some of my best tweets that I've had have been basically just one off, I haven't put a lot thought in. I just kind of fired from the hip and put out a, just a random statement or question. And for some reason it picks up a lot of steam. Whereas other ones I, I sit and spend a lot of time putting together like a very elaborate thread and it gets like one like, well, what's going on? Yeah.
James (38:52): Yeah. That's that, that actually happens to too many people to me too. I mean, I don't have the, I don't have the authority right now to back this up with a lot of data, nor is my account big enough to, you know, to make like a factual statement on it. It's just my personal opinion. And my personal opinion is that many of the tweets that get above average engagement is a coincidence. And I don't mean that badly at all. I don't mean to take away anything from, from anyone like, you know, people creating great content and going viral, but it's just that you don't, if, if you would have posted the same tweet two minutes later, it might have just disappeared, you know? And there was something about that point in time where you posted it and just five people by coincidence liked it in the first minute.
James (39:41): And now it's showing up on more timelines, but if you would have posted it two minutes later, those five people wouldn't have liked. And the reason why, I mean, I have one experiment where I did that. I posted a tweet that was when I just had a couple of hundred followers, like I think 500 or so, I posted a tweet in the evening and it had really, it had zero likes, zero replies, zero retweets, everything's zero. And I left it there for about an hour and you could just feel it disappeared. Then I deleted that tweet. And I was just curious. I was like, well, is that tweet really so horrible because I thought about it. And I thought it was a good tweet. And I posted a tweet again on the next day, at the exact same time. And that became my best tweets ever at that on until then, like I was my, it was my first tweet we had like over 50 likes, you know, or even more like, I don't know how many likes it has now, but it was my best tweet ever.
James (40:31): And that, to me, just show that you don't know who's online right now. You don't know who, you know, who's watching also even your competition, if you post something. And if most of your followers are following like big accounts and by coincidence, by bad luck, you've posted at the exact minute, those big accounts posted, you just disappear. And then by coincidence you posted something when everyone wasn't posting and you get all the attention, you know, from the Twitter algorithm, these things, nobody can possibly know that, like, if you were alone, right? Like, of course, if you're in an engagement group with like, you know, like 10 or 20 big accounts, and you're just, you're just like, Hey guys, can you, can you like this? Can you retweet this? Can you reply then? Yeah, you can manipulate it. You can rise to the surface. But if you're doing this all alone, I'm personally convinced that a lot of it is coincidence. And that's why it's so important to keep pushing out content consistently, because you don't know when, uh, you know, when you, when you win the competition, focus who gets the exposure to.
Nick (41:31): It would be interesting just to some of that stuff at different times, or even just different days and see who I happen to catch online. But you, you had said something when the bigger accounts are on. And like maybe if you're posting at the same time that those bigger accounts are posting, maybe that would kind of hide you from the Twitter timeline. But I was wondering, how do you think that would, do you think it could work the opposite? Cause now you know that those people are online and they're engaging if a big account tweets and then everyone starts flocking to them when they start commenting, liking retweeting. Would that be not a decent time to maybe try putting something out because you know, that audience is already there.
James (42:06): I think it's one of those questions that they're, you don't really benefit anything from investigating this in my opinion, because there are so many factors out of our control. I looked at several of the big accounts that I personally like. And first of all, they all schedule tweets or that that's how I got into scheduling tweets because I thought to myself, well, if they're doing it still at their size, you know, it's not just, just because you have 15,000 followers, you can, you have the luxury of tweeting whenever, whatever, like there's still sticking to a tweeting schedule. That's why they're scheduling their tweets. So they're scheduling and you don't know their schedule. I mean, you could track it I guess, and then figure out the rhythm, but then they also still spontaneously tweet stuff. And you know, you see that you click on the tweet and it says sent by Twitter for Android or Twitter for iPhone are sent by Hypefury and, you know, okay.
James (42:58): That one was spontaneous or yeah. Or not scheduled or exact. So how can you control that? You can't, you don't know who's online when you don't know someone was just in the mood to post something now, like, how are you ever going to predict that? So, but, but what I discovered recently is that just retweet yourself an hour later, you've put out a tweet and you see that something happened and it's not getting a lot of engagement, like sure. Sometimes it can be because the tweets just not interesting, like people don't care that's possible as well, but just retweet yourself 30 minutes later, one hour later, two later, two hours later. And nine out of 10 times, I reached with myself like 30 minutes later. And all of a sudden there's like five comments, five replies, and 10 likes. And then you just realize that once again, it was just whatever the Twitter algo thought in that moment of your tweet, it thinks of you differently now. And we can't control.
Nick (43:52): What is your main purpose of getting on Twitter? Like why, why did you, why did you decide that social media and Twitter specifically was the route you wanted to go?
James (44:01): Two reasons. Number one, as I already mentioned earlier, it was a push out of my comfort zone because from click to sale, my block, it's not growing very fast. Like with Google traffic, I've had, like I said, like many, many blogs and I never had problems getting traffic, any of my niche blogs, like I had at blogs and all kinds of weird niches, which I selected purely out of keyword research. You know, you look at the keywords like, Oh good traffic, low competition. I'll create a blog for it. And they were like in fashion or health or exercise, all these things. And then my apps blog, I would just write like updates and even like share, programming tutorials, none of my blogs, not once did I like do any heavy SEO, like on page optimization off page optimization, it was just so easy to get traffic.
James (44:53): And then I thought, okay, now I'm ready to go into a competitive niche. And together with my freelancing work, where I'm really positioning myself more as a consultant and not as much as a developer anymore, trying to get more consulting projects. That's how I started FromClickToSale. So people can go on my blog and they see, okay, I can do online marketing consulting, and I can help you get results, whatever you want to achieve online. But it's such a competitive niche that online marketing niche is so competitive. And I'm really, really feeling this with FromClickToSale, where it's just difficult to break into the Google rankings. I'm climbing, I'm slowly climbing, but it's just slow. So I was searching for an alternative traffic source and then that's how I came to, to Twitter. I thought, okay, first of all, it's a push out of my comfort zone. I get to learn about social media and writing is easier for me. That's why I didn't go with Pinterest and Instagram. That's why I went with Twitter. It's easier for me to write. And so that's, that's the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is that my Twitter audience starts reading my blog. And so far the followers who are reading my blog, they've all come back to me and told me that they enjoyed my articles, that reading my blog helps them. And I just hope that I can continue this trend.
Nick (46:06): That's actually the route I was hoping you were going to go with this answer basically with, with Twitter, you, I guess any social media platform, doesn't just have to be Twitter, but for you, Twitter is meant to start driving people towards your website. You're driving people off of a social media platform onto your own platform, which is your website and your blog. And it's something that I've noticed a lot recently, especially like the groups that I've been following and engaging with on Twitter. It seems like a lot of people are very into the Twitter atmosphere and that's, they stay within that realm. And they, they're not trying to bring people off of the platform, which in my opinion is a huge mistake.
James (46:44): I mean, it's very tempting, right? Like, you know that I don't sell often on Twitter directly. I mean, I do affiliate marketing. And then if any of my own products or courses, I recommend products as an affiliate. I do that sometimes, but it's very tempting to do because you can just make money on the spot. Like instantly, like you put out a tweet and you can go into your dashboard and refresh refresh, and you see the clicks on your affiliate link. Sometimes even a sale come in. And that is very addictive. So giving, giving that up, giving all of that up to, to build an email list or, or a blog, especially because at the beginning you will most likely fail. And if you start building your email list and you start collecting subscribers, and then you send out your first promotional email and there is no sales, but you're used to selling directly on Twitter. So easy to just be like, okay, I'm just going to do this directly on Twitter.
Nick (47:39): The reason I harp on this quite a bit, I do it on pretty much every social media platform, just because I see that it doesn't matter what platform it is, whether it's Twitter, Instagram, TikTok like everyone likes to, they get comfortable in that platform. And I actually just shared something on Twitter today that I thought was really interesting and kind of sad. But this guy, he was an artist and he took the TikTok. Once the whole pandemic stuff started happening, he was out of a job and he took the TikTok. He was an artist. He was posting his art on TikTok. He was getting people to hire him for freelancing. Like I think he did, um, like personal portraits for people. And he started making a decent amount of money. He built up this TikTok following into 1.2, 5 million. And he was making a lot of money just from posting these videos and getting the freelance work. Well, he lives in India, in India, just put a ban on TikTok and he can no longer access this TikTok account. He can't get into the app. Every single person that he's engaged with. And that following he built up is gone. And I don't know if he's used that as a way to bring people somewhere else, but if he hasn't, that means he's literally went from making a decent living to absolutely nothing overnight.
James (48:53): That's the issue if you don't. I mean, why, why is Twitter free? I like Twitter maintenance is expensive. The surface are so expensive. The platform is expensive to maintain program, to update all these things. Why is it free? Because we're all creating content for Twitter, but Twitter owns that content. So same with Instagram, Facebook, everything. So, um, the, the thing, like I've never been in this situation. So again, that's just how, that's just my experience with many different online communities that I've worked with or the past years. So you, you fall into this trap that you think, well, my audience loves me on social media, for sure. They're gonna follow me to wherever else I'll go. And unfortunately, there is so much distraction on social media and people are really lazy and I don't mean that badly or negative at all. It's just, people have worked all day. People are tired. They're using social media recreation, like recreationally, and to get them to like, go on Google, Google your name, and then misspell it. And then, you know, like people don't win either
Nick (49:56): The reality you're, you're organically showing up on their feeds. So in most cases, they're probably scrolling through their feed and finding the content that you're posting. And they really liked the content. So they're engaging with it at that, at that point. But if you're not popping up on their feed, they might not even think about you.
James (50:12): Exactly. You're just gone. And there's plenty of people to take your space. Like if, if, if I lost my Twitter account, even I have awesome followers and I love them. But honestly, like how badly are people gonna miss my account? Right? And not like someone might say now, well then James, you need to make sure people are going to miss you. You need to create better content. You need to stand out more. All of that is true, but the reality is really brutal. Someone will take your spot, someone's ready to put out that content and someone's ready to be unique. And you're going to lose that audience if you cannot. Like, that's why people are advocating the email list, right? Like that's your list. It doesn't matter what happens on any other platform. You keep that list. And if people love your emails, they will keep opening your emails.
Nick (50:57): Yeah. I'm a huge advocate for the email list. And that's something that I've been trying to grow myself, because like you said, it's my list. I can do whatever I want with that list. At that point, there was a
James (51:09): Sorry for interrupting. Just something that like the term email list makes it sound like it's something you are different, but actually an email list is nothing but leads and any, I mean, any business you've like if you've ever consulted a business or helped a business with their, their sales or marketing strategy, their leads it's Holy, like it's so important to them or their leads. And if you, especially, if you have paying customers like the contact details of paying customers, returning customers so important to a business, and the email list is just that an email list is just collection of, of leads. You have the contact details, which in this scenario is their email address. But in other businesses it might be their phone number or home address. Right. But for an email list, well, these are your leads and you contact them by email.
Nick (51:57): Yeah. That's an excellent way to put it, to wrap things up a bit here. What is one thing you would like to ask to leave the readers with or the readers leave the listener with in regards to growing their audience? Or maybe even just getting started on either blogging or social media. What's one tip that you would give the listeners.
James (52:19): So if you want to grow an audience, then it's mostly done with creating content. Like I wouldn't call PPC growing an audience. That's more like buying an audience. So I leave PPC out of the way, like PPC, like in terms of you pay for ads to show up on different platforms. So growing your audience, the most important thing is creating as much content as you consistently can. That is, but it has to be a balance. Like you need to find a way to create content every day. Like, I really think if you cannot create con it doesn't have to be finished, but you need to have a routine where you create content every day to just keep at it and then just use every chance you get to trade more in content on one specific platform.
Nick (53:03): Perfect. And now would even add maybe even key in, on a specific niche
James (53:08): 100% you need that. I've, I've written a blog post on my blog where I go over some of the most profitable niches that are out there. So if anyone is not sure about what, what niche or niche, I'm never sure how to pronounce it to go into, and they can read that blog post. And I'm pretty sure they will. They will find something
Nick (53:26): Awesome. I'll get that link from you after we get done recording here. And then I will actually put that in the show notes. So if anybody is interested in trying to select a niche or trying to find a niche that is profitable to them, they can check out that link in the show notes and go to James' website FromClickToSale.com to get that. Okay. And finally, where can people find you online? Obviously you mentioned FromClickToSale.com, where else can people find you if they want to get in touch with you or reach out to you about social media blogging?
James (54:02): My, my blog and my Twitter account. Those are my two main platforms on Twitter. It's also @fromclicktosale. And then, um, my, my new YouTube channel also called FromClickToSale. And I appreciate more subscribers there because that's really new, but really you can reach out to me on Twitter, on my blog. I'll I'll respond for sure.
Nick (54:26): Well, awesome. And if you guys are wanting some very actionable advice, James is very analytical with the stuff that he does. He has a lot of experiments and studies that he does to provide a lot of this information. So it's some really good stuff. So I very highly recommend going and checking them out on Twitter and go and check out his blog. And like he said, subscribe to his YouTube channel. He's putting a lot of great content about Twitter on there right now. So definitely go check it out. Yeah, man,
James (54:55): I need to, I need to copy that from my bio. They just said,
Nick (55:00): Well, James, I appreciate you coming on the show. I hope you had fun.
Nick (55:04): I know I had a good time. I'm sure the listeners will get a lot of great information from this episode today. So thank you. Yeah.
James (55:11): Thank you, Nick. This was fun. And thanks to anyone for, for listening.
Nick (55:15): Thanks James.
James (55:15): Thank you Nick.
Nick (55:16): Alright. I hope you enjoyed that episode with James Pierce. All the show notes and links discussed on this episode can be found ninefivepodcasts.com/episode4. And don't forget nine five is all spelled out. That's N I N E F I V E podcast.com forward slash episode 4. And the number four is the number four. I don't know why I had to make this so confusing, but this is where we're at. If you haven't already rated and reviewed the podcast, please do so on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews help get the podcast seen by more people. And if you enjoy this podcast and it has helped you, I want more people to see it. So if you would do that, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again for listening. And I look forward to chatting with you on the next episode.
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Hosts & Guests
Host – Nick Nalbach
Guest – James Pierce
About This Episide
James has picked up a lot of experience in the online business space over the last several years. He started out working in the financial industry before going back to school as a programmer and web developer.
James’ schooling as a web developer, led him to take on many freelancing gigs as a programmer and eventually started creating his own apps. This experience, coupled with the many blogs he has started (7-8 blogs to this point!), has given James a very real-world understanding of the various aspects of online business.
After generating decent traffic to his various niche blogs, James decided to bring his expertise to his own business blog, FromClickToSale. There, James educates and helps others get their own online businesses running smoothly.
In this episode, we discuss how James ended up in the online business niche and how he is growing his audience on Twitter to help promote his blog.
We get into some of the tactics James has used to build his social media following and why it is so important to bring your followers onto your own platform (just look at Vine and everything that is happening on TikTok). As entrepreneurs and business owners, if we are not utilizing social media to bring our audience onto our own platform (blogs, apps, email lists, etc), we are all subject to the whims of the platform we choose to be on.
Links & Resources
Note: Some of the links listed below may be affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them.
- Here are some of the most profitable niches to get into
- Outsourcing individual projects with Fiverr
- If you are looking to outsource work for a longer project (part/full-time), check out Upwork
- If you are looking to start growing your email list and get more involved with email marketing, I highly recommend ConvertKit (I personally use ConvertKit and absolutely love it!)
- Want to set up your own WordPress website? Check out How to Start a WordPress Blog so you can start moving your social media followers onto your own platform
- Leave a review of the Nine-Five Podcast over on iTunes
I would love to know what you thought about the episode with James! Make sure you let James and I know over on Twitter (@NineFiveFree and @FromClickToSale).
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Nine-Five Podcast! I have received a lot of great words of encouragment from people over on social media, as well as in the reiews, so THANK YOU!
Before you go,
What are you doing to right now to grow an audience of your own?
Let me know in the comments below!
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"The value you provide to others directly correlates to your success. The more value you provide, the more successful you become. Focus on the value!"
- Nick Nalbach
I am an entrepreneur and adventure enthusiast, looking to break free from the Nine-Five grind. I'll show you what has worked and is currently working for me, as well as what hasn't worked so well.