Thursday, 12 November 2015

Want to grow your audience, it's a fairly simple formula

Bearing in mind the job I do, I really shouldn't be surprised how quickly your audience can grow if you blog every day and invite engagement.

But I am a little surprised that in a week my blog has gone from just under 100 views a day to just under 300.

There are other factors at play of course. I posted earlier in the day yesterday, I included a hashtag for an event that starts next week, and someone in my network who has a large following RT'd a link to my blog. I also tweeted a link four times at regular intervals throughout the day, recognising that my 3000 followers are unlikely to be glued to the platform all day long.

Even so, the basics of growing your audience more or less from scratch hasn't really changed since the start of social media.

You'll have heard me say before that I follow a very simple formula.

• Listen.

• Engage.

• Influence.

All too often people (and brands) start the wrong way round. Desperate to sell us their ideas (or wares), they simply push information at us. Rather than seeking to enter into a dialogue.

The easiest analogy is a conversation in a pub.

Imagine you're sat at a bar waiting for a friend.

Two people next to you are having a chat. You politely listen, and realise they are discussing your favourite topic, ice cream. At the right moment you catch their eye and reveal you make ice cream and are on the hunt for new flavours. You hit it off, and invite them to follow you up the road to your ice cream parlour/pub to try some free samples.

Or, you barge into a pub shouting who wants to buy an ice cream.

The music suddenly stops. Everyone stares at you. Then gets back to talking about what they were talking about before you interrupted them.

In a couple of weeks time I'm doing a talk in Salford to a group of University folk whose job it is to link up with local businesses in order to place graduates in those firms.

I've been asked to demystify social media, and help the audience consider how it can turbo charge their network.

I'm going to start with five simple thoughts:

1. The old rules don’t apply anymore. Whether you like it or not the world is digital. Get over it, join in.

2. Be a connector not a collector. Simply chasing likes, or fans, or hits to your blog at any cost is futile. Micro casting is fine if you connect to the right people.

3. Social media is turbo charged word of mouth. It's not more complicated, so don't make it so.

4. Authenticity is the key, be true to who you are. Be honest, humble, and real. Everyone can sniff out a bullshitter.

5. Be relevant, ask yourself why. Why are you on social media. What is the purpose. What are you trying to achieve.

Simple as that.

I'll share my presentation when it's done so you can let me know what you think.

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