You’re ready to start your own business, so you begin doing a little bit of research on how to do it.
“Build and audience” is the first step you’ll often find. You can’t sell your products or services to a group that doesn’t exist.
This makes sense.
But how do we actually build that audience?
If you look it up, you’ll likely find strategies and tactics that suggest posting more often to social platforms:
- “Post 3 times per day on Instagram!”
- “Be sure to share your post to all 10,000 social media platforms”
- “TikTok is the best and fastest way to grow an audience in 2021. Start now!”
Yes, social media is a great platform to reach the masses. But if you aren’t speaking to the right people and building relationships with them, your message won’t travel very far.
Here are 5 ways to build an audience that actually cares what you have to say:
- Focus on Mastering One Thing at a Time
- Forget the Followers – Start Creating Fans
- Create Content Consistently
- Relate to Your Audience Through Stories
- Build a Community Around Your Brand
Focus on Mastering One Thing at a Time
This can be a frustrating one. No one wants to start small.
You can look at all the top creators out there and they are EVERYWHERE!
They’re on every social media platform, they’re on YouTube, they’re blogging, they appear on podcasts (or host their own). It’s like you can’t get away.
So it seems obvious that we need to be everywhere if we want to grow an audience, right?
Actually, we need to start small. I recently interviewed Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income on the Nine-Five Podcast, and we actually discussed this topic.
Here’s a clip from that episode:
The reality is that we can’t be everywhere. At least not by ourselves, and certainly not in the beginning.
You need to focus on one area that you feel passionate about and where you think your target audience is at. This could be through:
- Blog posts
- YouTube channel
- Email list
Wherever your most engaged audience spends their time, that’s where you should be.
It will be difficult to do. You’ll hear the “strategies” and “growth hacks” to building an audience, but spreading yourself too thin will only distract you from your achieving your goals.
Forget the Followers – Create Fans
The term followers really irritates me.
“You need more followers”… “Here’s how to get more followers”… “7 Tips to get more like and follows”…
Followers only matter if they care what you have to say.
What good does having 100,000 followers that never engage with your content do for you?
The goal and intent shouldn’t be to just get more followers. Instead, you need to be thinking about how can I help and serve the followers that I have right now with each piece of content.
By engaging with and helping the small audience that you do have, you’re going to create something much better than a “follower”, you’re going to create fans.
Help those fans enough, and you’ll start to create superfans: people that will go out of their way to engage with you, share your content, and purchase anything you put out into the world.
And the best part of all, those superfans are likely going to attract new people to your brand.
But you can’t start creating fans and superfans of your conent if you aren’t focusing on serving your current audience.
Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to start small! It might just be the best thing you can do for your business.
Create Content Consistently
I know. This one is thrown out there a lot.
That’s because people aren’t doing it!
That was 100% me. I would hear it all the time, get inspired to create, post two weeks in a row, and then stop.
Because I wasn’t seeing success in those two weeks, I’d give up and look for the next growth hack. Sound familiar?
If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to do what others aren’t.
The content creators you look up to didn’t start with a massive audience. In Episode 36 of the Nine-Five Podcast, Pat Flynn talks about what the audience for his podcast looked like right when he started the Smart Passive Income Podcast,
“It was just bloggers.”
After finally getting the courage to start his podcast, and publishing consistently, his audience has grown immensely.
Now, SPI Podcast has over 65 million downloads and he has created an incredible audience of fans and superfans.
Use Stories to Build an Audience
Everyone likes a good story.
Stories can be fun, educational, and thought-provoking, but more importantly, stories are relatable.
To build an audience that actually cares what you have to say, they need to know, like, and trust you. Stories are a great way to do that.
It’s much easier for someone to trust you when they can relate to you.
What’s more relatable to you?
- Hearing the story about how I failed to gain traction with my blog, shifted gears to video content only to fail again, and finally found my groove in podcasting? OR
- Shoving my product/service in your face and telling you that you need it otherwise you’ll never be successful?
You’re much more likely to relate to me and trust me if I share my experiences before telling you about my product.
Build a Community Around Your Brand
Finally, we come to community.
An audience that cares what you have to say is great. But wouldn’t it be better if you could bring together an audience who all share in a common goal?
If you’re building fans rather than followers, your fans are going to want to meet, interact, and share experiences with one another.
They already share a common interest in your content. Why not spark the engagement amongst these fans?
Even if you have a small audience right now, you can still create a community. Pat actually suggests starting out as a mastermind or cohort in the beginning.
Bring a small group of people together that share a common interest. Hold weekly meetings to hold each other accountable, help each other grow, and build relationships.
As interest in your cohort begins to grow, your cohort starts to become a self-sustaining community of individuals looking to be a part of the conversation.
Start Building Your Audience for Your Business
Building a real audience is going to take time.
- Focus on mastering one thing at a time
- Create fans, not followers
- Create content consistently
- Use stories to relate to your audience
- Build a community around your brand
If you stick to this model, you’ll not only build a large audience over time, but you’ll build a successful business or personal brand.
You’ll be the person others are looking up to and saying, “how is this he/she everywhere!? I need an audience like that!”
Want to hear more on the topic? Listen to my recent interview with Pat Flynn.
Or you can visit the show notes for this episode for more information on the interview.