To build an audience, you need to reach new people. The cheapest, most effective way to do that is for current fans to share your content with their network, thereby attracting connections with similar taste. Here are the five ways to create shareable content.
Know Who Your Fans Are
The first one may seem obvious, but that’s why it needs to be here. Do you know who your target audience is?
I’ll start you off with the two most basic:
How old are they?
If you can’t give an exact number, try asking yourself what stage of life are they in: Are they in school, working, retired? Who lives with them (parents, roommates, a spouse, 2 kids and a dog)? What would they eat for dinner on a random Tuesday night (leftovers, cheap takeout, a healthy home cooked meal)?
Which gender(s) would most enjoy what you’re offering?
If you offer something “traditionally gendered” like handbags or powerlifting classes, it may be really tempting to check off either extreme end of the spectrum and call it a day. On the other hand, you might not be the kind of brand who wants to intimidate or scare off people who don’t fit the mold.
Hot Tip: Remember that the person who purchases the product isn’t always the person who uses it. There’s a reason jewellery companies advertise diamond engagement rings in men’s fitness magazines 😉
Know Where Your Fans Are
Once you have that most basic idea of who you’re trying to reach, now you have to figure out where they hang out.
Different social media platforms appeal to different people for different reasons. An easy example is age: more grandparents are on Facebook than on TikTok.
However, it’s also important to take into account peoples’ states mind on different platforms. People go to Facebook primarily to update themselves on the lives of friends and loved ones, whereas Instagram is seen as a form of escapism from their everyday lives.
With this in mind, you should now have a clearer understanding of where to focus your content curation efforts.
Study Your Fans’ Taste
Besides the platform’s technical constraints (character limits on tweets, photos dimensions in the feed), there are certain aesthetics that seems to go hand in hand with platforms (have you ever said “that’s so Pinterest!” out loud?).
Once you’ve got those down, it’s time to study your target audience’s taste and their outside passions (outside meaning outside of their love for you). If you’re locally based and serving local clientele, it’s so easy to reference local news and events (sports teams, landmarks, weather) in your your everyday content. Because you’re not some giant media corporation, you can easily get super local and post as stories unfold, instead of needing to wait for head office’s approval.
Even if your fanbase is spread all over the place, you all probably have a few other passions in common. What TV series’ are you binge watching? Do you and your audience tend to dress fashionably, basic, alternative or vintage? Do you have certain ethical values and causes in common? Heck, if all else fails, you can never go wrong with a cute animal video.
A key indicator of your success in whichever field you’re in is that the majority of your followers or fans are not working in the same industry. Think of it as the first major level up in your career.
If you’re a musician, you know you’re on the right track when more casual music fans buy tickets to see you play than fellow artists on the scene. If you’re a YouTuber, you’ll see more fans leaving comments than other content creators. If you’re a health coach, you’ll know it when more private citizens with personal goals follow you on Instagram than flawless fitness gurus, gyms, and vitamin companies.
When being a solo-preneur or content creator, it’s easy to accidentally lock yourself in the bubble that is your niche. However, if you want to grow your follower base beyond people doing the same thing, you’re going to have to find ways to make your everyday life relatable to regular folk / future fans.
Are you able to explain what you do to your extended family a the next big reunion? If not, work on an elevator pitch aimed for people to know nothing about your field.
What regular problems do you face? Remember that “normal people” don’t deal with Twitter impersonators, sponsorship contract negotiations, or writer’s block. However, we have almost all dealt with interpersonal relationship issues, were disappointed when plans fell through, or felt like an outsider in a crowded room. Find ways to add a more universal message to the stories and struggles you talk about.
At the end of the day, the reason people follow you online is because your content provides value to their lives – that can be education and awareness, entertainment and escapism, a bit of both, or something more.
People share other’s content online as a way of creating a curated image. Every meme, quote, video or community announcement they add to their wall is part of their subconscious personal brand building. They want their friends, former classmates, potential employers and exes’ jealous new partners to judge them based on what they share. They will share what you post because it speaks to them, their lives, their struggles, their life story, and provides value – both in its original content and as a form of building their brand.