AskPat 72 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 72 of AskPat. I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
And I want to thank two companies, and actually, just mention really quick SuccessShirt.com. SuccessShirt.com is where you can find the AskPat t-shirt that I actually give away to everybody whose question is featured here on the show. So you can check it out, and you can actually buy that shirt there too, if you wish. Which would be kinda cool. I also want to thank FreshBooks, our official sponsor for today's episode. FreshBooks, if you don't know, I feel, is the number one cloud-based counting, financial, organizational software that you can use to help keep track of expenses, income in your business because that's really important to do, and it's something I wish I did sooner. And luckily, you have the option of using FreshBooks. So if you go to GetFreshBooks.com and put in “AskPat” in the “How'd you hear about us?” section, you get a 30-day free trial to check them out. So, definitely do that.
Now, today's question comes from Alex over in Brazil. So, let's hear what Alex has to say.
Alex: Hello Pat. My name is Alex. I'm from Brazil, and I currently live in Belgium, an expat here in Belgium. And I'm a little bothered. I have just launched a blog, BrainyExPat.com, and I also have a job so I'm doing my blog on the side. My full-time job, of course, takes up most of my time. So, I'm dedicating the time I have left to create content to my website. But I know that it doesn't end right there. I like to have a good presence in social media, so I want to know from you, what do you think is the best strategy for a beginner blogger with regards to social media? Should I have an engaging, deep presence in one social media tool, like Twitter only, or Facebook only, or Google+ only? Or should I dedicate more time and have a more superficial presence in three, four, five social media tools at the same time? Which one is the best for a beginner blogger? Should I be concerned about increasing my reach and having a superficial presence in more than one tools, or should I just focus on one of those tools? Thanks very much, Pat, for everything you do. I follow you, and I really like your show. Thanks so much. Bye, bye.
Pat Flynn: Alex, thank you so much for the question. And first of all, I want to give some kudos to you because you're doing your blogging online business thing on the side in addition to your 9-to-5 job. And I know a lot of people who have the 9-to-5 job, and they think because of that, they have no time to work on something for themselves, and I think that's not true. You can always find more time for yourself, even if you have a 9-to-5 job. Now, Alex, I don't know if you're doing the extra work for your online business stuff after work or before work, but I feel like the best thing to do – for those of you out there who might be struggling with that is to wake up a little earlier and work for yourself. Before you expend any energy during the day for somebody else, why don't you put an hour or even a half-hour a day into your own stuff? Invest in yourself first. Just like in personal finance, you want to invest in yourself first. Start saving that money and put away on the 401(k) first before you start paying your bills and all the expenses. You can do the same thing when it comes to your online business. So, Alex, thank you for that and the inspiration that came along with that.
Now, to answer your question about social media, and what is the proper social media plan? How do you choose which social media platform to be on? Should you be on one or two and go deep into those or should you be on all of them? I know I have this philosophy of “Be everywhere.” And I think that sort of becomes misinterpreted sometimes to be literally, “Be everywhere,” like you have to be on every single platform that's available. Your brand should be there, so you should have a presence and get the most reach that way. That is not what I mean by “Be everywhere.” And I say this all the time, because I want to make sure people get it right. You have to be everywhere you need to be. Or you need to be where most of your audience is, so it seems like you are everywhere. The reason I called that whole philosophy “Be everywhere” is because in the places where I was, everybody told me it seemed like I was everywhere.
So, you want to be smart and strategic with where you put yourself. And I think for a beginner blogger, the best thing you could do is choose one platform, get familiar with that, try one other one, and then just work on those two for a really long time until you feel comfortable maybe expanding out. I wouldn't even expand out. I only focus on two. I've been doing this for five years, I only focus on Facebook and Twitter. Now, yes, I do have a Google+ account and that's primarily for SEO and authorship reasons, 'cause there's some benefit of getting authorship from Google and having your little icon or avatar show up on search engine results, that's through Google+. And that's something we could save for another episode or another tutorial, but I feel most of my audience is on Twitter, and most of my audience is on Facebook.
So, I choose to just primarily focus on those two platforms. And I like both platforms, and I like them both for different reasons, but if you had to choose one, I would choose Twitter. Twitter's the easiest and quickest way to join the conversations that are existing out there, and that's how you want to approach Twitter. You want to approach Twitter like it's just one big, giant banquet hall. If you imagine a huge, giant banquet hall or a party, and if you go to these parties, you'll see there's different groups of people having all different types of conversations. And you kinda have to find and work your way through the room and find out where these conversations are at, where you can feel like you could be a part of or you can contribute to.
Now, the worst thing you could do at these parties, and also on Twitter, is be like, “Hey, guys, what's up? My name is Pat! This is what I do!” Like, nobody's going to be your friend if you do that, right? You want to be really involved and caring about what other people do first, and add to the conversations that exist. That's how you start to get into these groups, and that's how people start to realize who you are, and how to build relationships with those people, whether they're part of your audience or just colleagues also sharing stuff with people in your target audience as well. And then you can share each other's stuff and you get to build a relationship, and then you can take that relationship further from that point forward. I've made a lot of connections that started on Twitter, that have then become Skype conversations, that have then become meeting people in person at conferences. Again, it all started from Twitter, and getting into those conversations. Re-sharing or retweeting or other people who I'm following. I always will follow the top influencers in an industry to see what they're doing and what they're talking about, so I can retweet those things and comment and reply back to them, and say, “Hey, that was an awesome article! Thank you so much for that.” And just, to get them to know who I am.
And it takes a lot of time, and again the worst thing you could do is go on any social media platform, whatever it might be, and just start to announce to the world who you are and how awesome you are. I think you want to get to know people first and have them eventually realize how awesome you are. That's the approach that I take.
Now, I feel like Twitter is the best because it's the quickest and easiest, and it's obviously free and most of them are free—actually, they all are free—but it's quick, it's easy, it's only 140 characters per status update. And it's relatively easy to learn. Facebook, on the other hand, I said it was free, it's free to get started and create a page. But now they're sort of holding back from people who like your page, not everybody's going to see your status updates. They're going to make you and force you to pay to share with all of them, which is kinda sucky, but they're a public company now and that's how they're trying to make money.
But anyway, Facebook has been good for me. It's currently the number-one traffic generator for my site, but I have spent a lot of time building that community. And I love Facebook, because it allows me to get direct feedback from my audience, and also go back in time and see what those conversations were, and pull from those conversations. With Twitter, it happens more quickly and more real-time, and it's harder to go back to those older conversations, or have group conversations. Facebook is better for having groups of people talk together.
But anyway, to answer your question specifically, Alex: I would just focus in getting deep on one or two social media platforms. Whatever you feel is best for your particular audience, and you want to find out where your audience is. If you have a very scientific audience, for example, maybe they're all into space, if that's your niche. Then you might prefer to go on Google+ 'cause most of the people who are into that are using Google+, and you kinda have to do a little bit of research and go into each of those platforms, and just see what the conversations are like there before you choose which one you want to hone in on. Again, like I said, Twitter is probably the best, 'cause everybody's there and everybody's having these different conversations, and you can include yourself in those conversations. And it's probably the quickest way you're going to see traffic coming back to your site when you share things with people who you've built a relationship with or they're sharing your stuff, for example. But you have to figure it out.
And LinkedIn is another one, Google+. Those are the top ones, but you also just want to make sure that whatever you want to devote all this time to is where your audience is. It's not about you; it's where your audience is and how you can best serve them and build a relationship with them. That's really what I use social media for, is, it's a way to—you know, a blog is great. A podcast is great. Videos are great. But it's hard to get into real conversations with people on specific platforms; that's what I use social media for. I don't even talk about business all that much. I talk about what's going on in my life, and I help people out, and I just talk about random things. That gives people a little bit more insight on who is the person behind the blog, and the podcast, and the videos.
I definitely would not spread myself thin. I understand the idea of having your brand on each of those platforms. But if somebody were to go to one of those platforms—for example, say you focused on Twitter and Facebook, but you also have a LinkedIn profile, but there's no activity there, you're not following anybody, there's zero followers, and there's no profile besides an image, and a logo, and a couple descriptive items. It's not going to really serve any purpose. So, it's best to just keep it off of there until you're ready to devote time to it. That's my feeling. So, I don't think you would get any digital traffic or exposure from doing a minimal job on any platform. You have to really devote yourself and your brand to your audience on one or two platforms.
So, that's my answer. I'd love to hear what you guys think. Head on over to AskPat.com. You can also leave comments on SpeakPipe. So, if you go to AskPat.com/speakpipe, you can leave questions or comments on this particular episode. This is, again, number 72. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Alex, I want to thank you for your question all the way from Brazil. That's so awesome. An AskPat t-shirt will be shipped and flown over your way at some point in time. You'll get an email from my virtual assistant at some point. And if you have a question, head on over to AskPat. You might get a t-shirt, too. I also want to thank, in terms of those t-shirts, SuccessShirt.com, and also our sponsor for today, which is FreshBooks. If you go to GetFreshBooks.com, don't forget to put “AskPat” in the “How'd you hear about us?” section. That'll give you access for 30 days, for free, to FreshBooks. You can see how it can help you create great-looking invoices for your clients, and reports for everything that's going on in your business. So you can just see what's going on and you can spend more time focusing on your business, instead of just the financial part of your business, 'cause it can get messy. Trust me, it can get really messy. I used Excel for a while, and I was just really happy to have a piece of software that did all the math for me and figured everything out. Especially during tax season. So again, GetFreshBooks.com slash—or, not slash—but use “AskPat” in the “How'd you hear about us?” section.
And lastly, I want to end with a quote. This is quote is from Henry David Thoreau. He says, “Do not hire a man or woman who does your work for money. But him or her who does it for the love of it.” Very important, especially when it comes to just working with anybody. You want to do it, and hire somebody for the right reasons. And hopefully those reasons aren't for money. So, thank you so much. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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