Cultivating Your Own Tribe

How Social Media Drives Your Brand Awareness

Photo by Jade Masri on Unsplash

Reading Time: 9 Min

Social media and its integration with creativity was a marriage made in the techie God's heavens. (Perhaps I'm a geek). But, just think of all the productivity and creative projects and businesses now driven by social media activities!

Now if we could just figure out how exactly to make it work for us...

 
socialmedia&creativity
 

I have taught social media to creatives, researchers, teachers and small business owners around the globe and the same questions and fear-laden hesitancy surrounding its use are always the same.

The reasons vary, but the main reasons they shy away from using social media is mostly because; a) of lack of knowledge, b) the (perceived) imposed time constraints and demands on their already overbooked schedules, c) disinterest, d) technical learning curves, or e) the ever-changing new technologies and its very nature of open-source applications.

There are also a myriad of concerns regarding privacy, intellectual property protection and digital theft. But, mostly it's just really about finding time in their busy schedules to even build an online profile - the who, what, when, where and why.

Where to start?

 

 The multiple facets of online marketing through various media channels brings fear to many. However, social media is a large part of the overall strategy that should be embraced. Organic and free is my focused approach.

The multiple facets of online marketing through various media channels brings fear to many. However, social media is a large part of the overall strategy that should be embraced. Organic and free is my focused approach.

 

There is so much information about social media, one doesn't even know where to begin, much less wrap your head around the dizzying array of social media activity. I'm still learn something new every day!

Quite simply, however, we need to start at the beginning.

First, understand what social media is, does and can do for you and your brand. By grasping its general purpose (each platform is different, with different audiences), can you envision how it might fit best within your overall strategy.

Second, identify your audience. Who are you speaking to or trying to reach? Consider your audience (i.e. fans, friends or followers) when you think about who you actually want to be 'speaking to' via your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.

These are your potential customers, advocates and biggest fans who will sustain you and your business. So be very clear who you want in your "tribe". (Read: Cultivating Your Own Tribe)

Each social media platform has its own set of rules and cultural communication policies. Each online community also polices its own platform accordingly - sometimes pretty straightforward and transparent, sometime not so much. 

But, before you start posting and (spamming) individual news feeds and groups, make sure you have a targeted effort, or all of your time and expense will be for naught.

 

Social media can be an overwhelming experience if you have absolutely no idea
where to even begin.

 

Four Steps to Social Media Clarity

I will outline some simple steps below on how you can begin to understand, apply, engage and communicate through social media channels to benefit your own unique brand.

But, first you must ask the right questions:

  • Who are you (your brand) and what do you have to offer (products and/or services)?
  • What do you hope to gain by building an online profile (and lose) if you don't? (this is your purpose)
  • What are the benefits and/or value to you? Time. Money. Investment of resources. What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? What makes you unique?
  • How can you share your expertise through these channels? (hint: Storytelling!)
  • What unique ideas, services or products can your bring to your audience that will solve their needs? What skills or talents do you already possess, that can bring value to those you want to reach?

Answering these initial questions will give you a solid framework to begin building your online profile. After all, you will need to devise a specific strategy and spend time on social media to gain from its numerous benefits.

 


Ready to Be In Demand of Your Creative Career?

socialmediaroadmap

Your Profitable Social Media Roadmap will walk you through the first, but crucial steps towards making the BEST decision of your life to creating your own profitable creative online business.

I can get you there in 90 Days!

 

 

start off on the right foot

  1. Gather the necessary information you need by visiting the social media platforms you are interested in.
  2. Allow yourself time to experiment through research and practical application.
  3. Grow your digital footprint organically and through best practices.
  4. Create an online repository of engaging and informative information about your brand and your work.
 
 Starting with the end in mind will enable you to craft a sound strategy that works best for your purposes and meets the needs of your audience.

Starting with the end in mind will enable you to craft a sound strategy that works best for your purposes and meets the needs of your audience.

 

 

Identifying your Audience

Once you've determined which social media channels you like and are right for you and your business (each one serves a different purpose), you need to identify if your audiences live there too.

Here are 5 ways to identify your audience and start thinking about how you want to communicate with them.

1. How many people are already actively participating on the platform?

Ideally, each platform has its own unique base of users. Facebook currently has 2 Billion (with a B!) for example. This article further lists many social media sites and their user base, which might also provide some insight and necessary research information when choosing which platform(s) are right for you.

Ideally, I usually only recommend two social media platforms to start with. When you've mastered those, you can add more to your marketing stable.

 
fans
 

You don't need to reach 2 Billion people. You really only need 1000 True Fans to be a sustainable craftsperson/creator/business and maintain a viable and successful endeavor. 

A true fan as anyone that will buy what you produce.
— Kevin Kelly

 

You need a direct relationship with your fans and social media can provide a platform for which valuable engagement can be mutually beneficial.

 

2. What language is appropriate?

English is the primary language across the major social media channels in both the West and the East, such as Facebook and Twitter. That said, these platforms are just as popular in other non-English speaking countries as well, but some countries may have blocks on certain platforms, or offer their own language-specific versions.

If you are bi-lingual, think about how you might engage with both native and non-native-English speakers through your content publishing and sharing. Consider you will be able to reach a larger audience for sure, but you will also be spending more time splitting your time between the two audiences.

Think about the true value of where your audience lives, rather than trying to reach everyone. Ideally, whichever language you choose, you need to identify the language that is most appropriate for the audience you are trying to reach.

 

3. What are their social/political/cultural backgrounds?

This is important when considering what type of content you are planning to create, share and curate. It's just as important on social media to be culturally sensitive and transparent.

I like the cocktail analogy. Would you say something on social media that you wouldn't say to someone at a cocktail party in person?

Tolerance and class go a long way, even protected behind a computer screen. So make sure you understand the background of your audience and the brand you want to portray.

This ensures you will not only keep yourself out of hot water, but also to get the most out of your engagement opportunities and build global bridges that are available to you 24/7 in the digital space.

 

buildingbridges.jpg
 

4. What's their background knowledge?

Does your audience have a need to understand or already have information on your topic or area of expertise?

Ideally, you want to be reaching out to audiences who are interested in what you have to say and share. What you are creating and putting out into the world should be directed toward audiences who are most likely to be engaged, and therefore have at least a foundational knowledge of your subject matter.

This will enable you to connect and engage with greater accessibility through information and knowledge exchange. Only when that mutual interest and transparency is shared, can you start building a long-term, viable relationship.

 

5. What's their purpose for listening/reading?

This is an important one and is typically identified as a 'marketing' question. This should be at the forefront of your audience research.

Take some time to identify their reasons for wanting to engage with and ultimately buy something from you.

When you identify their purpose, you can better align yours. You may have lots of creativity and experiences to share, but if their purpose for listening and reading your content don't align, then you've lost your audience. Eventually, your motivation and drive for doing the business at all will fade into obscurity.

Identifying your audience's needs is sometimes known as 'pain points'. A pain point is a problem, real or perceived that needs to be solved. Your job is to find out what this is for your core audience you want to reach. 

By doing so, you are better able to serve their needs through your own unique services and product offerings.

Understanding the fundamental needs of your audience is key to you solving their problems. This isn't quite so easy to identify sometimes, but through focused research and regular exchange you can find out what exactly your audience's needs are and meet (or exceed) their expectations.

I share this and More with you in my
G.Y.R.L. 90 Day Bootcamp
(Get Your Real Life)!

 

It's a trial and error process, but by starting with these core 5 questions, you will at least have a much clearer idea of where to begin before you even create your first social media account.

 

pain points
 

Create Your Social Media Strategy in 3 EASY Steps

Coming up with a social media strategy is something that requires a slightly different focus than say, your marketing plan or your business plan.

Sure your products and services will define what your brand is, but social media is a whole other beast entirely and needs to be effective in order to gain a return on your investment (or ROI) through engagement first - not sales.

Social media is where audiences reign supreme and you must take a back seat and be driven by their needs.

In order to stand out in the crowded online space, you must also make sure your niche is highly focused, market-driven and uniquely positioned.

 
 
 To find your niche, it must be market-driven and unique in order to stand out from the crowd.

To find your niche, it must be market-driven and unique in order to stand out from the crowd.

 
 

3 steps to creating a social media strategy you can follow in order to establish a sound plan that will integrate the mission of your business, marketing plan and product development strategies.

1. Know your audience

This is key. Call them demographics or target market or niche audiences, but predominantly these are real human beings, the people who will buy (or want to buy) what you are selling.

socialmediastrategy

You must know 'who' you are (brand) and what the audience wants (pain points) before you can start selling anything to them. Start by engaging and having conversations about what it is you do first.

Build trust.

Then you can entice them with what you want to sell - but only if it serves their needs. You should ideally, also find a healthy 80/20 ratio for your business activities. This is called the Pareto Principal.

Meaning roughly, you want the greatest engagement and activity (sales, etc.) coming from your top 20% customer base. They will provide 80% of the activity that drives your business. Or quite simply, 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers.



2. Create an amazing content

Before creating a schedule about what you are going to talk about - you must first have something important to say. That it, what do you want to talk about? Your business activities? New product developments? New tools you are using?

Your audience will be keen to do and learn, while you are also doing and learning. Not knowing what cereal you had for breakfast that morning...

Have an amazing new product? Position your content on how your new product will HELP your audience? In Gary Vaynerchuk's book "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How Tell Your Story in a Noisy World" he goes into great detail about the fine art of finessing the art of the sale on social media.

But you must first know what kinds of content you want to share in order to build an editorial calendar around the conversation. Creating an organized approach will help you stay focused and on target with your messaging.

How can you bring them value? When you figure that out, then and only then should you start promoting. But not before or you will lose their interest and loyalty before you've even started.

Creating an editorial calendar will also help you track your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), as well, around the conversations you will be having. This will allow you to measure which topics are peaking your audience's interests.

Hint: I cover this in my G.Y.R.L. 90 Day Bootcamp

 
editorial calendar
 

3. Create an Editorial Calendar

Yes, I know this is easier said than done. But once you've established what type of content you want to share, you need to plug that into an editorial calendar (what and when you will post, share, engage, tweet online).

YouTube? Podcast? Blog? Pinterest? Instagram? Twitter? One or two platforms? More? All of them?

What platforms do you want to exist on? Where does your audience hang out? What types of content do they like to see? When?

What type of content do you share? Original? Curated? Recycled? Do you use images or video? What about hashtags or links?

Once you have this organised and mapped out, then you can share content which will excite your audiences and get them talking, sharing, tweeting and engaging with you.

You will also be sharing this content with them during intervals of high engagement and online activity.

The best times to post on social media depend on the following:

  • The platform
  • The region(s) you're targeting
  • Your goals (e.g. clicks vs. shares)
  • How your target audience interacts with the platform

The point is to get them to engage with you first, then have them begging for your new product before you even offer for sale - this is the sweet spot.

Building a focused strategy, once your content is carefully crafted, provides you with a clear roadmap to your social media success.

Most importantly, start with Confidence. You will learn along the way. It's more important to just start. (Read: Give Confidence a Kick in the Head)

 

Ready to Start Building Tribe?

socialmediaroadmap

Your Profitable Social Media Roadmap will walk you through the first, but crucial steps towards making the BEST decision of your life to creating your own profitable creative online business.

I can get you there in 90 Days!

Jodi Nelson-Tabor

London

Creative consultant and key media strategist with global experience as academic researcher, lecturer and professional trainer/facilitator, in the areas of creative and professional development, digital innovation, creative enterprise and its impact on the creative economy.

A professional Creative Practitioner with over 20+ years of experience in film, tv and theatre from LA to NY, Brazil and London.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, I hold a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the prestigious California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of the Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma.  My PhD is in Film and Media Studies from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

Actively involved in the education and arts communities, I also spend a significant amount of time mentoring fellow artists by giving time and expertise to organizations that support arts for social change.