Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could create an event, write a book, or get a great review and then put it once on social media and everyone would read it and our business would increase 1000%?
Oh, how I would love to live in that world. And I know I'm not alone because I get many requests from people who want me to help them market that one event, that one book, or that one good article/review that's going to change their business.
Unfortunately, marketing does not work that way.
It's funny how you learn things and you don't even realize you're learning them. Over 10 years ago, I started a Facebook group about the same time I started writing a blog and book. The Facebook group grew, the blog got popular, and the book got published. And, while I knew it made sense to grow an audience that would someday want to read the book I was writing, I didn't realize exactly how important that was until later.
I was working for a self-publisher, reviewing manuscripts and helping authors through the publishing process. As I was doing so, I heard from so many authors about how disappointed they were about their book sales. Or, more often than not, they thought the time to market the book was when it was published.
The time to market your ideas, cultivate a voice, and let people know who you are is months, possibly years, before you put anything major out into the world. YES, you can create online courses to build that audience and that will help you test what works and what doesn't, but you can't expect millions of people to latch onto your life-changing event/idea/awesome review overnight.
It takes time to create an audience that trusts you enough to buy into what you're putting out there.
This is when it's important to understand that social media is a marathon and not a sprint. It's very likely that you will spend many thankless hours building that audience that will love (hopefully - nothing is guaranteed) that BIG IDEA when you unleash it.
So, if you're thinking you want to be the next thought leader that people trust and pay attention to, here's what you need to do long before you market that million-dollar idea:
1. Find Your Voice: What are you saying that's different from what everyone else is saying?
2. Find Your Platform: Video, written content, YourTube, Facebook - how are you going to communicate to your audience?
3. Publicize Without Annoying People: Create a newsletter, invite your friends to like your page (once), ask other thought-leaders in your industry about posting some of your content - but be considerate and remember that EACH PERSON WHO FOLLOWS YOU IS A GIFT.
4. Consistently Publish: At the beginning of my social media following, my audience was less than 10 people. But I felt a responsibility to those 10 people. The digital graveyard is filled with podcasts, shows, and blogs that people didn't have the attention span to keep up. (I've even contributed to a few myself.)
5. Be Grateful: Back to #3 - each follower is a gift. Each time another industry leader includes you or mentions you is a favor. Be endlessly gracious and humble (more about social media etiquette: CLICK HERE). You might have a great idea, but no one out there owes you anything.
One more thing to keep in mind: There's a good chance that your million-dollar idea isn't the one you think everyone will love. You probably have something simple that you're going to put out there that gets big - and the idea you spend tons of time working on because you were positive everyone would love it will kind of putter off down the river. It never fails to surprise me how unexpected the outcome of an idea can be. So, roll with it and see where it takes you!