5 Ways to Thrive Online Right Now!Feb 06, 2021
Marketing is changing. It's no longer enough to post and broadcast about what you do and who you serve. In today's competitive market, it is vital to find ways to truly connect with your audience in a way that builds trust and nurtures them.
That being said, most business owners are starting to get really creative in the way in which they connect with their audience.
Sure, you will still need to post to your social media accounts. You will still need to do some advertising. And you will still want to create compelling content that grabs your audience's attention. But you also want to integrate some of the following to create a cohesive and ongoing relationship with your audience.
1. Human-to-Human Connection
As we leave 2020 behind and move into 2021, people are craving human connection. As a business owner, the more you fill this need, the better off you will be.
Human connection is pretty simple, but it does take some time and planning on your part. There are many ways in which you can connect on a personal level with your audience, but you do need to make them work for your business model.
If you are an entrepreneur or solopreneur, one great way to connect with your audience is to schedule coffee chats with key people you really want to get to know better. These meetings are not meant for selling, but simply as a way of learning more about them. This is simply a conversation - no selling! Since this can be a bit time-consuming, if you choose to do coffee chats, my suggestion is to keep them short and limit them to about 15 minutes. Remember, this is just to get to know them and learn. These chats will provide important data for later!
If you have a larger business, you can hold a free workshop or seminar for a group of people you want to get to know better. This is NOT the same as a webinar or workshop meant to sell. This workshop is simply to get to know your audience better while they learn more about you! Again, this is relationship building while collecting data on how you can serve them better. Make it fun, and make it about them!
In both of these scenarios, you have the opportunity and the responsibility to follow up, providing the space for deeper conversation!
2. Create Community
Right now, a community is where it's at! Social media is a fantastic place to create a community you love and who love you! There are so many ways in which you can create a community online. Here are a few to consider:
Your Own Facebook or LinkedIn Group
Creating your own Facebook group is one of the most common ways to create a community, but if your audience is on LinkedIn, that may be better for you.
If you choose to create a group, you want to take into consideration the amount of time the group will take for your marketing and engagement. A group is work, and you need to be present there for your audience if you want the group to work for you. If you can structure your week accordingly to keep the group alive and active, then this may be the right option for you. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to keep the group active. You are the host.
Your Facebook Profile
Your Facebook profile is also a fantastic place to create a community. So often business owners do not consider their personal profiles as a place to really create a connection with their potential clients.
I often hear people say that they want to keep their business and personal presence separate online. Let me break this to you: if you have a business and it is online, then you represent your business no matter where you show up online. When you are networking and out in the community meeting people, how do they normally find you? They look you up by NAME, not usually the business. It's important to remember you are ALWAYS a business owner if you are a business owner.
That being said, there are some things you can do to have a little privacy on your personal profile. One of the ways to do this is to create audience segments.
YouTube is another great place to create a community. If you are active there, you can utilize the platform in two ways to create a community. One way is the traditional way of posting more formal quality videos to connect with your audience. The other way is live video. The addition of live video on YouYube provides a great way to create a community and communicate with them as you are broadcasting. While this is similar to Facebook live video, YouTube users tend to hang out on YouTube as their platform of choice and have the potential to be a slightly different audience.
I would love to connect with you on YouTube. If you love YouTube, click the photo below to go to the video blog. Be sure to hit subscribe and the bell to get notifications for when I go live!
As noted above, workshops can be a great place to connect people and create community. Some business owners have ongoing workshops for their community. These workshops build the know, like, and trust, and allow you to get to know your audience better so that you can better fill their needs!
Forums can be a great place to create a community and find potential clients or JV Partners. Some common forums to consider are Reddit and Quora, although there are many others that are industry-specific, also.
3. Get Them On Your List
While this blog post is about thriving online, I would be remiss if I did not mention getting people on your list. As there are more and more social media platforms out there your audience's attention may become split between different platforms, and they may not be where you are. Another concern lately is the volatility of social media and the recent removal of some people at random. You want to get people into a place you own, and that is your list.
Another point I would like to make about email is that you can be more personal in your emails, which creates a better connection between you and your audience.
It is important to note that even though open rates in email are lower than they were, I have seen recent studies that indicate that as much as 80% of sales still come from email. This should tell you how important email still is in your marketing plan!
4. Don't Rely Solely on Ads and Automation
While ads and automation are great, it is a HUGE mistake to rely solely on them and to not be present online. In today's online environment, people really do want to connect with you and learn more about you. Relationship building is essential, especially if you are a very small business. Yes, I get that if you are a one-man or one-woman show, you are extremely busy and time is something you don't have to spare. But NOTHING can replace the value of human to human connection online!
Years ago, I mentored with a Facebook Ads specialist, and I was considering specializing in that myself. I ended up NOT going down that road, but I do have a great education in Facebook ads that helps me help clients with ads. Ads are great, BUT they are NOT the end all be all that many business owners want them to be., They are not magic. There is a lot of testing. And sometimes they just flat out don't work well. That's marketing and advertising - testing and tweaking.
For very small business owners and entrepreneurs, I do not recommend putting a lot of money into ads. I DO, however, recommend using ads to complement and enhance other things you are doing. They do help, but they do not replace YOU and the way you can personally connect with others online.
The same goes for automation. While it can really help you be more efficient, you do not want to use automation for things that require a personal touch. You really do want to show up and be present with your audience so that you can build an authentic relationship with them. Automation can appear cold to your audience and if you are not able to follow up to reply to them and be present, it can be a real turn-off for some people. Always remember, YOU are the selling point in how you serve your clients. It is not what you do or sell. If you take the YOU out of things, you are taking the one thing that people want to connect with. So, use automation where it makes sense, but don't overdo it!
5. Explore New Spaces and Social Media Platforms
Let's face it, new social media platforms and new ways to connect with people are popping up almost daily. When you see a new one, consider how you would use it to enhance and grow your business. Do not fall into the shiny object syndrome space and jump into it without taking a good hard look at how it will serve your business. So often, I see business owners do this and waste precious time on something that is not a good fit.
Here are a few places to explore right now that may or may not be a good fit for your business:
There are so many more! Be sure not to spread yourself too thin. Wherever you are online, you want to make sure you can be truly present there for your audience. That human to human connection is the key to building a thriving online business right now, and you want to make sure you are able to give your best you!
With all this talk about building a community, I also wanted to let you know about my own Facebook Group community, Social Media Business Solutions. My group is for ambitious coaches and service-based business owners who aspire to become powerful CEOs, make more money, make a bigger impact, and scale on social. If this sounds like you, this is my invitation to join. The group is free and you will get weekly pieces of training and tips on how to grow your business better online!