How to be Successful, Even if you Don’t have a Huge Audience

I always talk about business as being an inverted pyramid. At the top is awareness (people who know you exist; followers), in the middle is interaction (people who like what you do and engage with you and at the tip of the pyramid is the sale (someone who has bought your work or service). Having a large audience is helpful, it means the top of your pyramid is wide, which should (in theory) equal more sales trickling down.

It also helps with social proof. Humans do what others do instinctively. When we were hunter-gatherers we kept a close eye on everyone around us. If our neighbour eats those red berries and doesn’t die we know it’s safe to do the same. This has continued and seeing where the crowd has gone lets us know, on some level, that this is a good decision and it’s okay to copy. You’ll notice that your social accounts will grow much more quickly when they get to a certain point after around 5 or 6K people will be much more likely to drop a precious follow. If your number is lower than that, it can be a struggle. So what can you do to keep the lights on when your channels aren’t popping?

Be Really Talented

As Steve Martin has said, and Cal Newport has written a book about; “Be so good they can’t ignore you”. If you have a small following but you have undeniable skill then you will find opportunities. We all focus on metrics, but I recently met a young content producer that gets, on average, 500 views per YouTube video she makes. It doesn’t matter how many people view your video if one of them is the CEO of Viacom, who then reaches out to work with you, which is exactly what happened to her. If you’re good, people will find you. A million views equals a lot more chances to be discovered, but it only takes one to change everything. If you know you’re the best at something then reach out and ask for opportunities.

Build a Website

When we first started Graffiti Life we obviously started at zero. Every follow we got, wasn’t necessarily a potential client, the same is true today; a lot of our followers just like to look at our paintings. However, our website is totally geared towards our clients and it creates sales. Build a website that clearly defines what you do and use it to sell your services. Your website is your forever home on the internet, you’re not beholden to algorithms or disappearing platforms; it still hurts me that we lost 20,000 followers on Vine when it died and it might sting if we lost our 50K insta following, but we’ll never lose our site!

Network

In January this year, I decided I wanted to start public speaking. I don’t yet have a website, I have only just started my personal insta and twitter accounts, as previously I’ve always focused on our brands and I’m basically starting from scratch. So far I’ve made £3000, now that figure won’t set the world on fire, but for a ‘side hustle’ that I dedicate about an hour a week on pushing, it’s not bad. I’ve been booked for gigs because I’ve intentionally created new relationships and mentioned that I’m a speaker. The people you meet will change your life and if you’re smart and get yourself in front of the correct people you may never need an audience at all!

Use Social Media

If you’re producing good content and intentionally using social media to make connections then your platforms will grow. It’s a good idea to be publishing on a few; because sometimes one will catch fire and it’s good to not be chained to just one. Unless you figure out how to grow really fast (check podcast episodes with Zac and Jay and Alex Norris who’ve both done this) this will be a slow process of winning people over, follower by follower.

Don’t give up and make sure that you still put in the time, but I think it’s important to realise that a big number social account doesn’t always directly correspond to a big number bank account. There are Love Island contestants with millions of followers who live with their mums. There are insta accounts with under 10k followers who have their rent paid each month from their side projects. Social media is great for conversations, but it’s also good to sell you and what you do. This means hitting DMs, tweeting people and leveraging the fact that a massive number of influential people or potential customers are now accessible online.

 

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