My Big Marketing Secret
Have YOU ever wanted to create a social media platform that will GROW YOUR FOLLOWING? All you need is this ONE SECRET. MARKETING EXPERTS HATE HER.
Except it’s not really a secret it’s just something that people instinctually know, they just don’t quite understand what it is, so it can’t be utilized effectively. I could break it down into quippy million dollar advice but frankly that’s boring and I hate the old white men who do that. So bear with me.
The gist comes down to developing a parasocial relationship with your following that allows your audience to engage with you in a way that is meaningful to them, but doesn’t tax you emotionally. This hacks the inherent impoliteness of social media platforms and... It feels a little scummy when you do it. All marketing does, really. You are, in essence, tricking people into thinking you care about them—but at the same time, you’re not, because somewhere deep inside most people realize that a parasocial only goes one way. So eschew morality for a moment. We’re going full capitalist baby. Rather than giving you rinse and repeat examples, I’ll try to provide core principles that you can build your following off of.
1) Questions should allow your following to talk about your pitch...while talking about themselves. Rather than saying “Who is your favorite character from X book I’ve written”, try “X character from book I’ve written is like this—who are characters from your favorite books who would love or hate X?” This not only includes an audience who may not have read your book, but allows that audience to engage in a way that is meaningful to them.
2) Response is seen as self-actualization no matter how minimal the response. I see it all the time on TikTok—creators I follow will usually just reply with a string of emojis but it still feels good! They noticed I exist! To take it to the next level—for comments you really enjoy, you can type out a full response and spark another conversation!
3) this could be 2.5 but stands on its own as a principle. Response is important, but replying to everyone could undermine you. It’s the ‘if everyone is special no one is’ idea. Choose the best or the most recent comments depending on how large your following is. Members of your following will notice this—and they will try to work harder to gain your favor and attention. This may take the form of higher user engagement or it may take the form of sales, the latter being optimal in this case.
4) Social Media marketing is not about you. Yes it’s promoting your product, but in the sense of what I’m suggesting vis a vis parasocial relationships, your focus should be on the audience you’re cultivating. Make sure that the type of content you’re engaging with will tie in a new potential audience as well as foster a sense of community between you and your following. If you write romance and reblog stuff about the large hadron collider, you might be narrowing your audience instead of expanding it.
A common criticism I’ve received in this methodology is that this promotes quantity of audience over quality. However, if you assume that if 5% of your potential audience will become fans or 1% consumers, then you have to play the numbers game. The more people you reach, the more people you’re likely to find who really connect with your work.
Now obviously these are just tips. Do with this what you will. However, this is what I have noticed from analyzing the behavior of popular creators as well as my own personal tests in this regard. Go forth fellow scumbags and Capitalism well.