Do you want to get the most out of your social media marketing? Looking forward to 2019, channel building is now a requirement to help make your marketing more effective. Detroit is well on its way back, however, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need a channel building plan.
There are many types of channels in marketing. However, when I talk about channel building on this blog, I’m usually talking about building a social media style channel. A channel which you build a community and amplify your voice.
No matter which channel you find yourself on, whether it’s YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, among many more — there are six truths which you need to understand to help grow your channel.
You have either time or money when it comes to marketing. If you have a lot of money, then you need not use as much of your time to drive traffic. If you don’t have money, then you must use your time to create a community.
The thing is, channel building makes your marketing dollar go further. A good channel helps you lay the groundwork before you expand with paid marketing.
The Six Channel Building Truths
First Truth: Find Your Social Media Niche
The number one truth when it comes to social media and channel building in 2019 is you must find a niche. If you plan to work your way through all of the digital noise out there, you need to find a niche to stand out.
You must become the expert in something that has value to other people. Quite often you need to dig down deep to find such a niche, especially with today’s saturated online environment. It’s such a crowded social media marketplace, you must find the location where your target market is hanging out.
If you do those two things, find your niche and your targets location, it’s possible to develop yourself as the expert in a relatively short period of time.
The only exceptions for not niching down is if you have a unique personality or talent which earns attention, admiration or a solid fan base naturally.
However, for the rest of us, we need a niche. Fortunately, we don’t need to stay in a narrow niche forever. Yet, the more popular the topic, the further you need to drill down to find your area of expertise.
Digging deep allows you to develop the necessary authority in a niche which few people are addressing. This gives you a chance to dominate that position. Over time you can expand your niche which also increases your authority over a larger community.
Expand Your Niche
One of the things I talk a lot about on this blog is the combination code. As mentioned, sometimes we find a narrow niche, but we need to expand it over time to gain authority. It’s common to not be sure which steps to take next. This is why the combination code is so important.
Start with your core talent, the area you have a lot of knowledge, skill or authority. Then combine a style, technology, service, product or something from another industry to help separate you from the competition.
Channel building is a long-term play. When I say long-term, I’m not talking about weeks, or months, I’m talking about years. Yet, it’s the winning move.
Good successful channel building usually takes years. It’s funny, there are many people who are really successful on various social media platforms, yet we naturally think they were an instant hit. However, if you really look back, you’ll find that they’ve had other channels, some failed. Most likely they have been working for more than a year, quite often two or three to get to the point of your recognition.
Second Truth: It’s About Community
The next truth is you must appreciate your community. Your community is about the people in it. If you treat them well, they will help you get where you want to go. You need to appreciate every single person who emails you, comments and likes the work which you create.
It’s important that you respond to as many people in your community as possible. When someone comments on your blog, it’s necessary to respond back to let people know you’re a real person, show people you care about them.
It is true, over time, it becomes harder to respond to everyone in your community. Maybe you’re on YouTube, and you get hundreds of comments. Well, over time, you can develop canned responses to simple comments and questions. Fortunately, there are tools to help you improve engagement such as TubeBuddy,Hootsuite and or Disqus for WordPress blogs.
However, you may have to set a limit at some point. You may tell your audience, I’m only going to be able to comment back to the first 50 people or to the people who comment within the first hour. There are more advantages to this tactic than meet the eye. One, it leads to more authentic responses from you. Two, if people engage early on in your video or early on in your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter post, this triggers the algorithms.
Most importantly, do everything you can to let your community know that you are human. Which means, sometimes you need to show a little vulnerability. Engage your community in a way which encourages them to respond, feel comfortable and actually want to come back.
If you really want to take your connections to the next level, take the time to comment on their stuff. Become a fan of your fans. Maybe you notice someone commenting a lot on your blog, well, take a look at their profile and social. Maybe they have a blog that you can comment on, your followers could possibly have a YouTube channel you can engage with, or they might have great tweets which you can retweet.
The fact is, there are people behind those avatars. I recommend you take the time to find out if they’re trying to develop their expertise in the community too. Maybe you will run across the right person or right few people to work together and grow your channels. That is a powerful strategy.
Truth Three: Respect The Algorithm
The number one priority of every channel algorithm is to keep people on the platform. Remember this fact. If you understand how to keep people on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, you’re going to keep the algorithm(s) happy. Even better, if people continue to come back to your channel and staying on the platform, you are rewarded.
That algorithm rewards channels which help the algorithm achieve or maximize its goals. If you have content that keeps people reading, watching or scrolling through your feed, you have a winning channel. The algorithm (often there is more than one) will help promote you even better than you can do it alone.
A good example of a successful channel is Netflix. When people visit Netflix, they binge-watch the content. They go from one show to another show to another show and watch an entire series in one sitting.
This leads me to my favorite suggestion – create a series of work. Think about ways to encourage people to watch one episode to the next or one blog post the next or one photo to the next in the case of a site or app. like Instagram.
This is why having a niche is so important. It’s because if you have one focused topic, your community will keep reading, listening or watching.
Unfortunately, when your next topics are completely different, the community will not binge on your content so easily. This is why each piece you publish should lead to the next piece of content.
Truth Four: Visuals Work
The next truth is that visuals are highly significant. Consider your profile picture, your avatar, your logo, or your channel banner. Look at your photographs or video – do you need to upgrade the quality of your designs? The more professional you look, the greater the chances you’re going to get the attention of the right people, and people are going to take you seriously.
The Power Of Social Video Marketing
I find that video is the best choice for a channel building strategy. This doesn’t mean podcasting and other types of social are not a good way to connect with a community. However, body language is an important part of communication. Video helps people connect with you and see your a real person. Maybe over time, you’ll expand the different types of channel building. But first, start with video, if you’re comfortable.
Now everything doesn’t have to be buttoned up, stiff and boring. Your channel environment can be a lot of fun, it can be crazy, but the quality still needs to be there.
Think about it, the judgment of what is quality is internal. Now, some may say they don’t care about quality. However, people do judge your quality based on inner feelings. They have inner gut feelings like, oh, I don’t like this YouTube channel or I hate this blog. They may not know why, but much of it may have to do with the design or the quality of the imagery.
People don’t always know why they don’t like a channel; it’s just their first impression. A feeling they received about first three seconds after landing on the page. Those first seconds are an important reason why having high-quality visuals are essential and will help you in your desire to earn the success you deserve.
Fifth Truth: Yes, More Is Better
The fact is, the more you post to your channel the better, however, you’re better off being as consistent as possible. Consistency is positive for both people as well as the algorithm. People like to know when to look for you. If you can make your content part of someone’s habit or routine, you’re going to have more success.
The best advice is you should post as often as you can consistently, to the point in which quality decreases and/or engagement declines. When you see your post quality or engagement of your community drop off, these are the signals that you need to pull back.
The Sixth Truth: Not What You Think
The six truth of channel building is simply that activity and persistence wins.
This is a truth in channel building, it’s true in marketing, true in your career and life. The people who are active, find more opportunities, connect with more people, and seem to magically have all of the brakes.
The people who are the most persistent win. Activity and persistence is a powerful combination. The people who continue on and don’t give up are ultimately the owners of winning channels.
Channel building is hard! It takes time to outlast those who may be better or don’t have the patience and quit. I have had many winning channels, not because I started off with superior work, but only because I didn’t give up. I kept learning and making myself better, and eventually outlasting those who dropped off. The fact is you may have to pivot to stay relevant. Your channel may not be the same in a year or two than it is today.
The people who lose in channel building are the people who quit.
What channel are you building? Let me know about it in the comments below.