Here’s why followers and engagement don’t necessarily translate to business opportunities.
Personal branding online usually covers one of the following three areas:
- Real life celebrities
- Entertainers (tabloids, fun videos, memes, life tips
Most of my consulting calls revolve around lead generation and branding for B2B businesses. While I’m not a leadgen guru, a common misalignment is the inconsistent public behavior which doesn’t indicate what someone does for a living.
And people often refrain from “being boring” and bet on the virality factor.
This MAY work in some cases – but consider what your prospects look for in a consultant, freelancer, agency owner.
I know that lots of folks in my network bet on storytelling and motivational videos. Happy to hear some success stories that close B2B deals through positioning without education involved.
00:00:37 – 3 Categories of People You Normally Follow
00:03:03 – Problem Number 1 – No valuable proposition
00:04:08 – Problem Number 2 – It Takes Time
00:05:41 – Taking The Educational Route
00:06:30 – Traffic is Not The Most Important Thing
00:07:56 – Focus On Solving Problems
Hey guys, Mario Peshev from DevriX here.
Lots of people ask me about their efforts in terms of popularizing their content online. They do say, “Hey, we’ve started a podcast and it isn’t really getting any traction,” or, “We are writing some fancy trendy stuff online, it’s getting a lot of likes, but we don’t really get any leads out of that.”
So, I’d like to kind of stress on what’s getting viral online and also what’s the difference between viral and sellable, and how to differentiate that if you’re starting your own business or if you aim to become an influencer or anything along those lines.
3 Categories of People You Normally Follow
Let’s consider the people who you follow, or the YouTube channels you follow, people on Linkedin that you reach regularly and so forth. Usually they fall in one of the three categories. Number one is real world rockstars. Like, for example, you may follow Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, [inaudible 00:00:57], Tim Cook, whatever.
Real people who are famous in the real world who have accomplished a lot and whenever they create a sign-up online for whatever and create an online account, they’re already popular. If Tim Cook creates his own Snapchat, I’m pretty sure he’s going to gain millions of followers simply because of his fame, that’s just an example.
Number two is entertainment. By entertainment, you can see that as a broad field, so it’s fun, anecdotic, humorous stuff or tabloids stuff, some scandals, or anything like that or political stuff or even motivational, lifestyle quotes that attempt to make you feel better. For the most part, those aren’t things that are helping you in any way so to speak.
You can think of 9GAG, you can think of Buzzfeed or anything out there that you track or browse in your spare time or in your breaks or over lunch time, whatever it is, but doesn’t really give you anything, it just satisfies and entertains you and so on.
And number three is educators. People who create educational content for something that really helps you and can teach you something and you can improve your skills upon what they try to give you online and what most people fail to recognize when they start publishing online, be it through content or audio or video or anything like that, is there is a difference between viral and being successful as a business.
What I’m trying to say here is the following. If you get tons and tons of followers but you post pictures of your food or anything that doesn’t bring value to people, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to hire you for whatever position and what I’m trying to say is this is the norm, they are not going to hire you for anything unless they need someone who is simply popular or can help them in something relevant.
You can think of circus artists or a TV show producer or something else that requires popularity and virality and things like that.
Problem Number 1 – No Valuable Proposition
But if you expect a consulting deal, if you expect something else for just bringing value and building a stronger brand for a business, you are likely going to end up with someone who’s an actual influencer, which means someone extremely popular in real life, or someone who’s an educator. Someone who can bring the value of a business outside and can showcase it and find how customers relate to that brand and so on and so on and so on.
Those are again kind of those three categories and again the two groups of people that I usually meet – The number one, entertainers, who record daily videos on LinkedIn. They are shiny and happy and yadda yadda yadda but they can’t really learn a new job or they can’t really close any leads because potential customers don’t see them as a valuable proposition.
They don’t see the value in them, they don’t see their skills, they see someone who’s chatty, who’s friendly, who can speak with the public but unless they have a job for that specific thing, they can’t really assess the value of that particular person, so that’s problem number one.
Problem Number 2 – It Takes Time
Problem number two is people who try to exploit education in a good way but they are too impatient. I know people who have started podcasts and generated 100 views a day, 100 listens or whatever a day for the first year or a year and a half.
It just gets some time to build traction, to record enough episodes, to gain momentum, to provide the right value for people to actually subscribe and sign-up for you. I know YouTube influencers who say the first 10,000 followers are the hardest, even if you get to the first 1,000 it gets a bit easier but after 10,000. It pretty much runs on autopilot.
You can’t expect to go from 50 to 100 in a day unless you pay for that. You can’t expect that the time for reaching 50, 100, 500, 1,000 is going to take again to become overnight.
It takes time to build that initial following and that sort of kind of online reputation is something that matters to your followers. Before you sign-up for something you probably take a look at what sort of content they’ve produced to date, how much is it, how valuable is it, how much comments, shares yadda yadda it gets in order to decide whether you wanna subscribe or not because otherwise it could be someone who’s just starting out or someone who may stop tomorrow or whatever it be.
But, if you decide to take the educational route, definitely be prepared that it’s going to be a long journey. It’s going to be slow but steady, but it is going to help you [inaudible 00:05:41].
Taking The Educational Route
Let’s consider the following scenario. You’re a business that sells some form of machinery right like fridge equipment or something like that. So, if you do that it will make the most sense to produce content for people looking for that so you need to find your buyer persona, you need to take a look at your competition and you need to do some organic research and find out what works for your audience and based on the audience’s demographics you need to answer those questions and so on and so on.
Then you’re going to reach to repurposing content and the list goes on. It’s a long effort, it’s usually anywhere between a a year and two in order to start getting some real traction but it’s worth it and it makes sense in the long-run and people can associate that brand with the value that it provides so that’s extremely important.
Traffic is Not The Most Important Thing
On the other hand, if that same company starts writing Buzzfeed type of stories like “10 Most Delicious Foods” or I don’t know the “50 Celebrities Who Have Someone Who Looks Alike” they are going to get a lot of traction through social. They are going to get clicks, and likes and shares and so forth but does it mean that they are going to close customers? Most likely not.
Traffic is important but it’s not the most important thing. If you bring a lot of traffic that doesn’t convert, this is going to harm you in the long run. Why? Because you are going to get higher bounce rates because people are not going to read other stories from your blog which means that Google is going to start de-ranking you more or less. Moreover, Google may actually count you as someone in entertainment instead of someone who’s in B2B services. This is going to affect your rankings in other areas with your target keywords.
So again, having traffic for topics that are not relevant to your industry may very well bring a lot of just traffic but it doesn’t necessarily convert to leads and everyone can choose their own branding.
There are people who just wanna be perceived as again chatty and funny and so on and so on, but if you wanna work toward [inaudible 00:07:48], you need to provide value or you need to be big in Japan in your industry otherwise outside of the world.
Focus On Solving Real Problems
You either have to be real active offline; speak at conferences, go to meet-ups, meet a lot of people, do a lot of business and actually have credibility, testimonials, portfolio or whatever, or focus on educating people.
Focus on solving real problems online because here’s the thing, when customers are looking for a service provider, be it a freelancer, a consultant, someone to hire, they want to see their portfolio online which means they want to learn as much as possible about them online which is again could be a portfolio, their own website yadda yadda yadda.
But, they want to understand both the personal side, whether that person is counterfeit but also the professional side which is if not more important at least as important because you may have someone who’s extremely funny and a good fit for having a coffee at lunch but it doesn’t mean they can actually do the work that you want to get done.
Making sure that your brands corresponds to what you wanna convey to your potential customers or employees or whatever is extremely important so focus on that. Again, if you started something for entertainment and you get a lot of traffic but that doesn’t really convert to leads, it means that you’re probably targeting the wrong audience.
You may consider working in advertising, probably generating money through AdSense, [inaudible 00:09:21] something like that or just switching to something else like selling that website or whatever.
Make Sure You’re Consistent
If you wanna provide value and to start doing education, make sure you’re consistent, make sure you’re following through, you’re recording materials at least twice a week or so, you’re writing blog posts and so on and over time it is going to aggregate, it’s going to become more valuable.
People will associate with you, people will sign-up for you and eventually some of those are going to contact you for business.