Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 118 of AskPat. Was that weird? I don't usually pause there at the beginning like that. Anyway let me know @Patflynn on Twitter. Thanks so much. And again thanks so much for joining me.
Today I have a great question from John. But before we get to that, I want to thank today's sponsor, which is 99designs.com. Because besides fear and lack of confidence, I find that design projects are what I see hold entrepreneurs back the most.
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Now let's get to today's question from Jon.
Jon: Hi, Pat. This is Jon from ExcelCampus.com, and I was wondering if you had any tips for getting your audience to interact with you on social media when your niche is not one of their social interests. For example, my niche is Microsoft Excel and my target audience are people that use Excel frequently at their day jobs; and I know that my audience is on Facebook and Twitter, but I don't think they're as likely to share or like a post that is about a new spreadsheet tip that they just learned.
It might be embarrassing for those that aren't as much of a geek as I am about the topic. I realize I need to shape the content of the social media post to appeal more to their general interest while still keeping it relevant. And I see that you do this a lot of Facebook and I was just wondering if you had any tips on how you approach that.
I can see this being the case for a lot of niches that are targeting a person's work interest, or even organizations like a church where a person might be hesitant to share something about their religion with their social group. I would also like to know if you think social media is even worth the effort for cases like this.
So, any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I love your work, Pat, and thanks so much for all the inspiration. Have a good one.
Pat Flynn: Jon, thank you so much for your question and it's one that I know is going to help a lot of people, because I think they're in the same boat as you. They might not be talking about something that . . . of a high social interest for people. And the way I am going to tackle this question is to first give you some sort of scenario. And that scenario is at a party, because social media is, just as Gary Vaynerchuk says, one giant party. Twitter is like one giant party with several different conversations going on in several different parts of the room.
And if you imagine yourself coming to this party—joining social media—and all of a sudden you start talking about . . . no offense to what you do, but if you just start talking about Excel people aren't going to really pay you much attention. Or they will just think you're kind of weird because people aren't already talking about Excel like you said. However, if you go to this party even though you are somebody who specializes in Excel, Jon, if you go to this party and you talk about what the other people are talking about and you join conversations and you add value to them even if it doesn't have anything to do with Excel they will be interested in you. They will get to want to know what you do and perhaps be interested in visiting your website and getting to know you a little bit more that way. And if they aren't interested in Excel then that's okay. They still like you as a person. And if they are then great, and maybe they know somebody who is into Excel or they might become interested in it as a result of the relationship that you first kindled with them.
Now that's one point of view. The other point of view is even if you might be talking about something that's not very interesting to most people, if you find the people who are interested in that thing, then it's a party. Then you can talk about that thing as much as you want with those people. In relative terms it's not going to be as many people as somebody, who say, wants to talk about music or the World Cup, or something like that. But if you find those people and they've given you permission to start talking about all those things, by following you are liking your page then by all means you are more than welcome to start talking about those things.
You might not get as many shares and this is a problem that I am finding in my site at FoodTruckr.com. Because, think about it. If people follow your site they’re into Excel-related things and they might love what you have going on. Are they going to share that information with their friends and family? Probably not because it's not really useful or they don't think it's useful to their friends and family.
Just like with my FoodTruckr site, a site that I built at NicheSiteDuel.com. You can see the whole . . . if you're not familiar with where the site came from you can see how I selected that niche and how I'm building the website and how I'm monetizing it right now at NicheSiteDuel.com. I am having a similar issue with social media. The thing is as much as food truck owners are on social media—you know that's how food trucks tell their audience where they are at—they're not going to share “food truck marketing entrepreneur,” “how to run a food truck” type tips with their audience.
So I am not seeing very many shares. But when I do touch on a topic of particular interest on Facebook, for example, or on Twitter, there is a lot of conversation about it; because people finally have a place to talk about something that they don't really feel comfortable talking about any where else. I think that's what you have to approach with your social media streams, Jon.
Think of your Twitter stream or your Facebook page as a place where people who are talking about Excel, a place where they can feel comfortable talking about it. That's the feeling you want to give off. You want to be that person who leads those conversations. Who starts up those conversations. Who facilitates those conversations, by asking the right questions or by getting people to talk to each other. As much as it is difficult to do compared to other niches, it can be done. It can be done very well.
And I think if you, again, treat it as a place unlike any other, where people can be comfortable talking about those things. Where people are listened to and replied to. That means you will have to do a lot of that of that on your own as well, and get the community involved. Again, it's not going to be probably as much, or as sexy as a lot of the other topics out there, but it can work. So I definitely wouldn't discount it, because the truth is people want to do business with other people these days. That's what my buddy Chris Ducker says and it's absolutely try, right? And so the more you can become a person, the person behind your website that talks about Excel, the more likely people are going to come back to you in the future. The more people are going to talk about you with their friends who are, or who happen to be interested in Excel.
So again, Jon, that is the approach I would take. You're going to this party and it's a giant party, the Twitter-sphere and the whole Facebook-land. All these different parties going on. Find the people who are talking about Excel. Don't expect people to share it. I don't think that would be considered a fail. Just definitely try to understand how many people are clicking through to your links, and again, as always with any social media stream on any platform, you don't want to just throw things up there all the time.
You actually want to engage and start and facilitate conversations that don't have to do with any of that stuff that you're talking about on your site. You probably see on my Facebook page and even on Twitter that I talk about a lot of other things. I also give my audience a lot of opportunities to speak up themselves.
For instance, today I said, “Hey it's your turn to show off, give me a post that you talked about something interesting.” So I have all these people linking to their websites and that's okay to do. I also do interesting things—it might not seem like it matters—doing things like, “Hey, should I go eat at In-N-Out Burger or Five Guys Burger today?” Of course the answer is In-N-Out, but if I ask that question I am going to get a lot of people saying one or the other because they have an opinion.
Although that has nothing to do with online marketing and entrepreneurship and small business, which is what my Facebook page is about. It has everything to do with building a relationship, and just being real. And of course on the algorithmic end of things it's increasing that EdgeRank score that I have in Facebook. So that when I do post something relevant, a link, or something related to small business marketing or things like that the chances are that my posts are going to be showing up on their news feed is much higher. So, again Jon, I wouldn't discount social media. I think it will definitely be worth the effort if you treat it in the way like I said. Don't expect people to share, just try to get people to engage.
And again, it doesn't have to be about Excel specifically, but of course if you are providing value, and you are providing a place where people can feel safe talking about this thing where people probably don't have very many places to talk about then it can be a major success.
So, Jon, I hope that answers your question. I'd love to hear what you think. Thank you so much, and an AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially feature here on AskPat, just go to AskPat.com and ask right there.
Of course I want to thank today's sponsor, which is 99designs.com. So if you're dreaming about the perfect logo or website design, but don't know how to get started, or if you are worried about budget, 99designs.com can help. It's the world’s largest graphic design marketplace. It makes it incredibly easy to get a design that you love. Go to the website. Tell them the design you want, and you pick a price package that works for you. And the fun part about this . . . the really cool part is that designers around the globe are going to submit an awesome design for you and you give them feedback. You can get your friends to help give you feedback as well. And with thousands of designers at you fingertips, there's no limit to what you can get designed or created for you at 99designs.com.
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Thank you again so much for your time and attention today, and of course I’m going to end with a quote. Today's quote is from Peter Drucker. He says, “The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question.” Good stuff.
Cheers. Thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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