AskPat 316 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody. Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 316 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
All right, here's today's question from RK.
RK: Hey Pat. I've got a friend who was just posting pictures of cupcakes she bakes on Instagram and Facebook and it turns out they're really good and everyone loves them. Basically, without any advertising or any active reach out program, she's managed to amass over 28,000 followers combined on Instagram and Facebook. She has no monetizing at the moment. She's just doing it for fun. But wondering what advice you could give to start monetizing this following. Thanks for any advice.
Pat Flynn: Hey, RK. Thank you so much for the question. And I think it's kind of cool that you are doing this on behalf of your friend. I think that's really awesome of you. Unless you are actually your friend and it's one of those instances when you say, “My friend is doing this” but it's actually you. Either way, this is really cool, so, I'm sure it's your friend and not you. So she's posting her own pictures of her cupcakes that she bakes. And she's amassed this huge following. Which is great. It's a great sign. People are, without any advertising, spreading the word for her. Word of mouth, social media, sharing, and they like what they see. And that's really cool. And because of that, there's a lot of things you could do but I also want to mention up front that it's not going to be completely easy either.
A lot of people feel like when they build a rather large following on these platforms, Instagram, Twitter, what not, that it's going to be easy to monetize and it's definitely not. You have to do a little bit of research. You have to do a little bit of experimentation. And you have to kind of get out of your comfort zone a little bit too because a lot of people who get followings like this for doing nothing special or nothing promotional, in order to sell stuff, you're going to have to be a little bit promotional and a lot of people don't like doing that or they're not comfortable doing that, so there's sort of a mindset shift that has to happen in terms of, “Okay, I'm going to monetize this” and a lot of people don't want to.
So I think that would be the first thing to ask your friend here is would this be something you would feel comfortable monetizing and a lot of people, they just don't want to do that because this is just the hobby and they just love sharing stuff. And that's fine. But on the other end of the spectrum, it can be good to make money too. And that's something if you feel you're getting a little bit of that back when you present this idea of monetization to your friend and he or she says, “Oh, well, you know, I don't want to monetize it.” Then you can ask why. Why not? It might help her or him to realize that earning money from what you love and what you do is great because then you can do more of that. That's where a lot of artists, for example, struggle. “No, I don't want to make money from my art. I do this just for the art.” Well, you could do even more art if you monetized it and people would feel more attached to you. People would feel like they are getting something, and also, they would have a way to give back to you as well. That's a big thing. So, when you give people the opportunity to pay you back for the amazing things that they're doing, everybody's a winner.
So what can we do in this situation? And, of course, I'd love to as always hear from the audience out there listening to AskPat. So this is episode 316. Use the hashtag #AskPat316 if you have ideas that you'd like to share. I think the first and the biggest thing that probably comes to mind for a lot of people is, “Well, why don't you sell your cupcakes?” You could do that. And I would recommend it if this is something that she, or he or she … I'm just going to say she the whole time because I'm going to keep … It could be a guy, but I mean, I don't recall if you said he or she earlier, but I'm just going to say she for now just because it's going to be quicker and I'm not going to stumble upon it each time I say he or she.
So, she could sell her cupcakes online, or wherever. And I know a lot of people who've done this. I am also an owner of a website about food trucks and I know a lot of people who have started in their own home, but you also have to understand that you can't just bake cupcakes and sell them online. There's a lot of things that have to go along with it in terms of health code and food licenses and every state and even every city is different. So, she's going to have do some research if that is something she'd actually want to do. And I know a lot of people who have done that and done it very well. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who have started that route and it just became something that wasn't fun anymore. They started selling cookies out of their own home, and then it just became this thing that they'd wake up every morning and have to bake again and it wasn't what they wanted to do. So you have to keep that into mind. Just like I talked about earlier. Is this something she would really want to do.
If not, there's other ways to monetize without having to bake. I mean, maybe it's a recipe book. A lot of these cupcakes I'm sure are very special and unique and you can put those into an ebook of some kind. You can maybe partner with another website or blog or company out there that could sell this for a commission, or you'd split the cost of the sale. Or it's just a book that she sells on her own. I mean, I think that would be the easiest and quickest way to go. You know, writing a book and selling it on Amazon, for example, and getting more exposure that way for these cupcakes. And yeah, people have done this already but these are her own unique cupcakes, hopefully. You don't want to do it like Screech did in Saved by the Bell where he took grandma's spaghetti sauce recipe and sold it to the school and then later got sued because it was just a Ragu or Prego recipe. Anyway, that was. . . wow, I can't believe I pulled out that episode of Saved by the Bell. For you those of you Gen-Y peeps, you would know what we're talking about. If not, don't worry about it.
But I feel an ebook, or a recipe book. . . I mean an ebook is great. You could even have it connected on CreateSpace through Amazon so people can print it on demand as well and get a hard copy of it too. That could be really fun and awesome. And it can be self-published. It doesn't have to go the traditional route. And that could be quite easy. Just hook up with somebody who has some good pictures and make it happen. I would really really consider connecting with the couple over pinchofyum.com. They're a food blog that is doing really well. That's another thing you could do. You could take these recipes and not necessarily just put them only onto a book, but you could also have a hub of some kind, beyond the social platforms, because it's dangerous. It's dangerous to have all of your following on social platforms because who knows what's going to happen to those? I mean, a lot of people had built businesses on Myspace and then Myspace isn't around anymore, or at least not in the same way as it was before. Same thing with Facebook. And Facebook is always changing their algorithms. And Instagram. I'm sure stuff's going to change down the road too.
So when you build and gather these large followings on these platforms, your job, if you really want to take this to the next level and potentially turn it into a business is to bring people into your own home, which would be your website. So you can take them and put them on your email list. You can serve them even better. You can provide even more value, but more than that, they are able to take action in a way that is controlled by you. By you. Not by Facebook. Not by Instagram. Remember Instagram is owned by Facebook now. So I mean, there's a lot of things going on here. But if you really want to take this business to the next level and actually turn it into something that is yours and potentially long term, you need to get those people from those platforms onto your own email list. And then you could serve them. Then you could survey them. I mean, that's really what's going to help you figure out what they want the most. When you bring people back to your own website, you survey them, you have conversations with them.
You get them on Skype and you just say, “Hey, what do you want to learn more about with these cupcakes.” Or “What do you like most about these cupcakes?” or “What do you wish you could do related to these things?” And you might find out that maybe they would want to make the same ones, in which case a recipe book or maybe a video course, or a membership site dedicated this would work out. Or maybe they are interested in food photography, because the photos are so good. And then it's a whole different route in terms of monetization depending on who that person is. It's really hard to discover on those platforms alone who your audience is. And you know, you're not going to be able to serve everybody, but you'll be able to find out who groups of people in your audience that you could then serve through these different products and things like that.
Now, the last thought I had was with sponsored posts. You could hook up with other food companies out there, other dessert bloggers for example who maybe they have a book and you can partner with them and sell their thing or maybe they would pay you some money to post on Instagram, for example, which I know is very common. Make sure you know the rules and regulations on that in terms of being fully disclosed, but I know a lot of, for example, fitness personalities on Instagram who are always posting pictures with their little protein powder and making sure the label's out because that's one of their sponsors and they get paid per post for doing that and that's something you could do as well because, or she could do as well because she obviously has people who love desserts, and if there was another company out there who wanted to get in front of people who love desserts, then it could be win all around.
So those are different ways to go about it. And if that latter example is the case, then you might want to actually follow other dessert bloggers and see how they're doing it and see what they're doing to monetize, and also connect with other companies and see if they would be interested. I mean, what's the worse that can happen? They would say no and that's it, right?
So, I hope that helps. I mean, I would love to know what you think about this. Everybody, and also RK and also your friend, if you wanted to send me an email later on and have her connect with me and at least have her listen to this episode. That'd be cool. So RK, we're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Thank you again for asking. For those of you who have a question, you can go over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page and potentially get featured here on the show and get an AskPat t-shirt. We've handed out for free, shipping included, over 300 shirts now and it's my pleasure to do that.
Thanks so much. Take care and as always, I like to end with a quote. And today's quote is from Brian Clark over at Copyblogger.com. He says, “Don't focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that's great for your readers.” Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks guys.