What is a Platform? It’s your stage. It’s the thing you have to stand on to be heard. It’s built of people. Contacts. Connections. Followers. It’s about building relationships. It’s about establishing yourself as an expert. It’s about using various tools to reach those who are interested in what you have to offer. Could be a message, a service, or a product.
Why do I need a Platform? Develops your “voice,” your platform will share your personality. This is part of your brand. Gives you an opportunity to influence people. It’s what gives you the authority to communicate to and serve your followers. Helps establish a relationship with your tribe based on trust. When they know you and like you they will want to follow you. Gives you visibility. Establishes you as an expert in your field.
Elements of your Platform Website Blog Social Media Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Etsy e-Newsletter Public Speaking/Teaching
Where Do I Begin? Decide what would best serve your business. A website or blog is a good place to start so you have a home base to refer people to. Add the different elements gradually. Each tool works great alone, and even greater together. Use Social Media management tools to help.
Website This is where you house the core of your business. The branding/personality is a reflection of who you are as a business and perhaps who you serve. Contact info will be easily found here. Information links. What do you offer? Categories of services. Fee structure. Perhaps a storefront. All of the links to your social media will be found here. This is home base.
Blog Wordpress and Blogger are both free and popular This is where you can share more of your personality and develop your “voice.” Content might include industry tips, opinions, links to resources and info that would be valuable to your customers. Insight into your processes. How-to’s. Top 10 lists. Content will be relatable, reflect your personality & branding, authentic, transparent, and professional. Frequency should be regular or people will stop following your posts. No less than 2x/week.
Facebook Viral Marketing. This is where your friends are and their friends are. Best word of mouth marketing ever. Frequency should be between once a day or 3-5 posts/week Build relationships by authentically liking and commenting on other’s posts People respond to pictures. Share great links, coupon codes to your favorite resources. Quick tips. People love when you’re not all about self promotion.
Twitter Called micro-blogging. Short snippits of information and links. Audience is global. Another opportunity to reach an audience with expert advice and resources. Frequency might be several times a day. Content might include a link to an inspiring article, a blog post, a witty comment regarding a current event.
Linked In Professional networking. This is a resource of connections, and their connections. Suggestions of who you might know based on who you’re linked to. You can post updates here just like facebook or twitter. Make sure your profile is complete. At the minimum, get connected with the people you know who are on linked in as you never know what the opportunities will be that come your way as a result.
Pinterest This is a public visual bookmarking resource Boards can be used for reference for your clients You can create a board that links back to your own work Highlight articles, looks, or a passion Use this to inspire and teach your followers Continued reflection of your personality/brand All of these point back people getting to know you, following you as a resource, and visibility
Etsy Creative Storefront Handmade marketplace, vintage, & supplies Personality is shown through your work Well crafted items and sales give exposure Can be linked to Pinterest for additional exposure and traffic
E-Newsletter Constant Contact & Mailchimp are popular People have to opt-in to get on this list so you know you’re reaching those who want to hear what you have to say. Content is less frequent. Maybe once a month, quarterly, or as needed. Be brief and succient. Your followers don’t have time to read long articles. Save those for the blog. Content might include expert tips, new resources, highlights of one or two services. Think News not Spam. Speak to your audience. Make the content valuable.
Public Speaking Get out there and teach what you know Offer classes & workshops Target your audience Establishes you as an expert You gain visiblity. Your personality shines.
Link them up Choose one or two to start Gradually add platforms to increase your visibility Drive traffic to your website, blog, facebook, etc. Help people find you and create a following built on trust and expertise. Be generous in sharing what you know, not just what you sell. All of these points back to you being the expert in your field. Builds your relationships. Creates a following by becoming a trusted resource for what your people need.