I got a question in my inbox recently that was so good, I decided to turn it into a full-fledged blog post. I see a lot of start up entrepreneurs making the same basic mistakes when it comes to setting up their businesses, and it ends up costing them a lot of time, and it can really quickly become a distraction and a huge time waster.
Lisa asked me what kind of social media she should be focusing on when she’s starting her business, and I told her to leave all interactive social media alone, except for Pinterest until your business is established.
Wait, what?! DON’T do social media?!
Here’s the thing: unless you have a huge fan base somewhere already, it’s better to focus on a platform that’s going to bring you in traffic that’s interested in your topic. Sharing your posts on a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profile that you just started and has 40 followers won’t get you new fans – and instead of spending your time making new content that gets re-shared continually, you’ll be spending all of your time just trying to get new fans with interactive platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Not to mention that you have to constantly come up with new content to “keep up” with these platforms and that is a job in and of it self!
While there’s no hard and fast rule, I don’t recommend you build your non-Pinterest social media accounts until you’ve reached three basic milestones.
3 Milestones to reach before you start using interactive social media
1. You have an established business with a stream of income that’s actually making you money
If you’re not making money yet in your business, then you don’t have a business. You have a hobby with the potential to become a business. If you’re building a business as a side hobby whose success isn’t critical, then by all means, social media away! Most of the entrepreneurs I know aren’t starting businesses just because they’re bored and want something to do on Friday nights, and if that’s you, then focus on what doing what your business is here to do for you: make money!
If you want to make money while you build your audience – here’s the quick and dirty guide. When I launch a new website or work with students who don’t want to spend tons of time and money on their business before they see a return, here’s what I recommend.
The quick and dirty guide to making money as you launch a content website
- First, I tell them to create a website where they own their own content (so, not on social media).
For a lot of newbies, setting up website hosting, a domain and your website for the first time is a hugely overwhelming task, so I created a guide that will help you achieve that in 8 days, you can see it here.
- Secondly, they need to make some content for their website, this doesn’t have to be just blog posts! I wrote an entire post here on other content you could use to add to your website, besides written articles.
- Thirdly, use a template to get started with super basic email marketing (like the one below).
- Then they use the principals I teach in Create Your Affiliate Marketing Business to use email marketing to make money, even if they don’t have a product. Adding links to blog posts only works if you have an established audience who trusts you enough to simply buy what you recommend, which is where so many aspiring content creators get lost. They read these stupid guides that talk about how easy it is to make money with affiliate marketing, because all you have to do is add affiliate links to blog posts, and you’ll start getting commissions.
Truth session: that doesn’t work for 80% of bloggers, and the 20% that it does work for, it only works for them because they’re already established. Established bloggers have an audience who trust them and know if they’re recommending something, it isn’t just to make a quick sale. Presumably, they know that they don’t recommend things to their fans that suck, so their fans are willing to trust their recommendation. Email marketing combined with affiliate links works much better to establish your business, because it allows you to build rapport while you share your links, and to do it while building your audience.
That is the way you can build your audience and start making money right away. No waiting for months to find out what your audience loves – in my program I teach you how to attract an audience who’s already predisposed to want the affiliate products you’re going to recommend.
2. You can automate your marketing
Automating your marketing allows you to focus on the three big things that will have the biggest impact on your business:
You can automate how you attract readers when you use a service like Tailwind for Pinterest. You can automate your email marketing to keep those readers coming back for more with Convertkit for email marketing.
You know what you can’t automate? Your content. By automating your marketing, you leave yourself free to make more content that only makes your automated marketing systems more effective!
3. You can automate your interactive social media.
There is a huge difference between how a platform like Pinterest works, and then the other big social media platforms. Pinterest, technically, isn’t a social media platform at all. It’s a visual search engine.
Other platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) are made to be interactive. They want you sharing, tweeting, reacting, and talking to people. They want you to be social. Pinterest just wants you to save stuff and find more stuff like what you saved.
You have to be really careful when you’re working with interactive social media because as Parkinson’s law says, work expends to the time allotted to fill it, and that is doubly true on social media where you’re dealing with a platform designed to draw your attention and hold it there.
It’s important that you can limit your time on it for your business or you’re going to find yourself constantly falling down the rabbit hole of memes, articles, and your high school friend’s Hawaiian vacation pictures.
So, before you start building your social media for your accounts, focus on making your business an actual business, and setting up the systems that give you the best chances at success… before you start “interacting” with your fans. People can interact with you in blog post comments if they want to, and I promise it won’t hurt any!
What about you? What have your experiences been with social media and starting a new business?