When Brian decided to open his school for young writers, he had two choices. He could spend lots of time and money on renting billboards and ads on busses, or he could make his work speak for itself. His business started out slow, with only a couple of students and not enough hours to justify quitting his 9-5. But Brian had a game plan that he knew would fill his empty chairs.
For one, Brian knew he needed to have an online presence – after all, it isn’t real unless it’s online, right? So, after seeing which prompts and ideas his students responded to most, Brian began to share them on social media.
After that, Brian opened a young writer’s Facebook group, engaged with other writers (and wannabe writers) on Instagram and Twitter, and shared his writing tips on his blog. Pretty soon, Brian had built up a fairly respectable following.
But still, the 300 people following Brian’s page wasn’t enough – not if he was serious about investing all his time in his writing school. After all, 45 students wouldn’t pay his bills. So, Brian decided to create an offer: write a short story using one of Brian’s prompts, send it into Brian’s email and one lucky winner would get a free editing session. This would mean one-on-one time focused solely on improving their story and then the chance to be mentioned and published on Brian’s website.
With some strategic posting and post boosting, pretty soon, Brian had two hundred short stories to rifle through. People were sharing the competition with their friends, finding old prompts, and coming up with creative tales. Now, Brian’s work was working for him! His posts were interesting to his audience, sharable, and could take on a life of their own.
As we see from Brian, just posting isn’t enough. There needs to be value in what we post. Our content needs to speak to our audience and inspire them to become part of our community. For Brian, this meant posting prompts and actively getting his audience engaged. We can’t expect our audience to invest in us unless we invest in them. Stop expecting your audience to find you and follow you, instead give them a reason to want you!
What does it mean to build a community? Marketing (and especially social media) isn’t like sales. Yes, the goal might ultimately be the same, but the journey is very different. Where sales focuses on a one-time purchase, marketing focuses on a loyal customer. To get there, we need to invest and engage our communities.
Let’s Sum Up
In order to know what to post, we need to know our audience. Once we understand them, their interests, and the best way to incentivize them, we can then attract them. Posting on social media without a plan isn’t going to get the results you want. After all, social media is all about being social.