To Grow Your Social Media Following Take This Lesson From Old-School Media


Photo by Feeh Costa on Unsplash

Growing a large, engaged following on social media takes time. It will become the vehicle you use to promote your business whenever you want. Once you create an audience eager for your content, you won't have to worry about paying for advertising or p.r. or relying on third parties to promote you.

I built a following of over one million people for a niche brand, so there was no point in advertising to a mass audience. The product was yarn, and if you didn’t know how to knit or crochet you couldn’t be a customer. You might think that we could advertise in Good Housekeeping or even Martha Stewart, but only a fraction of the people who read or watched those outlets actually had the skills to use our product.

We needed the right customers to find us in order to get the attention of enough of the right people.

Social media done right is a magnet. It draws in the people who need to find you because they are a needle in a haystack in a generic world filled with people who aren’t relevant to you.

It takes time, but it works. The secret is to think like a magazine editor.

Magazines create content for an audience with specific interests and characteristics. That audience has value. Advertisers are willing to pay for a chance to get the attention of the people whose interests align with their products or service.

But, a magazine with one page after another of ads would be of no interest to anyone.

The lesson for your social media strategy is, be the magazine, not the ad.

What type of content do you share? Think like a magazine editor. Magazines offer inspiration, education, tips, stories, entertainment, and ideas that promise to make their readers’ lives better in some way. Successful magazines reach many millions of readers.

The biggest mistake people make about social media and marketing, in general, is this: They think it’s about them. Yet, no one wants to spend their precious time reading about your product.

People who give up their attention want to know “what’s in it for me?”

So think about the people who use your product when you write and create for them. Your product occupies a very tiny part of their lives. What else are their lives like? Address those concerns and needs. How does your product fit into their larger world and can you be helpful? Offer research, humor, an inspirational profile, a helpful list, a chart, or a how-to. Think about the different types of features that a magazine has and create them for your audience.

Once in a while, you will earn the right on social media to talk about something you offer. When you do, put your product in context. Show how one of your customers used it and became more successful or saved time. Tell stories. Show your audience how to use your product in a way that enhances their social life or family life. Even though the opportunity to sell isn't something you can do daily, you own the publication.

The perfect magazine to advertise your product is the magazine that you create. Be the magazine (or the blog, or the YouTube channel, or the podcast) that your customers want to subscribe to.

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