Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur United States, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
If you’re running a business in 2021, you need to utilize the internet, and utilize it correctly. There are a number of online platforms, specifically social media platforms, that can assist entrepreneurs in scaling and growing, and therefore, succeeding, but how you use them is important.
The first thing to recognize is that each social media platform offers its own benefits with a likened end goal: to create a community. Frequently and colloquially referred to as a following, a community is so much more than numbers; it’s about engaging and building trust. I’ve witnessed how clients of mine, who are entrepreneurs across a variety of verticals from spirits to sports, have created communities with their customers to directly build relationships and trust with the people buying their products.
In a world where there’s a lot of falsehoods and ambiguity, people are starved for authenticity. By putting yourself out there and interacting with your customers, and letting them into your life, you foster a kind of bond where they feel connected to you. When customers or followers feel connected to you, they’re more likely to support you, whether that’s advocating for your company or buying your products.
“We have to start looking at these platforms like shows, not like channels,” Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, told an Advertising Week audience in 2019. “For me, there is no better place to go to sell to Gen Z than TikTok right this second, because the scale of attention at that age level is remarkable. We all chase awareness, but the industry has been overpricing potential reach with GRPs and programmatic. TikTok is a platform that skews to a certain demo that may not match everybody. But it has the potential to match everybody. Great awareness that is very difficult to achieve.”
Vaynerchuk’s point showcases how a specific platform can be targeted toward a specific audience, which permits an entrepreneur to home in on various demographics, who perhaps are their main focus, or alternatively, an audience they’re looking to increase engagement with.
When I look at clients of mine who are actors, athletes and musicians, I see them thrive on social media because it gives them an edge outside their normal daily scope of work. On social, they aren’t performing or acting, they can simply be themselves, bringing it back to my point on authenticity. In turn, this often leads to endorsements and business opportunities, including speaking engagements and sponsored events, permitting them to monetize their content and to create new opportunities for extra income.
This translates to happenings outside of content, as the pandemic propelled us into the likes of live streaming events and online learning, which has revealed an entirely new opportunity for monetizing content through digital platforms. “The pandemic was an eye-opener for many entrepreneurs like myself,” says John Otto, member of the iconic rock band Limp Bizkit, who now runs an online music school platform, founded during the pandemic. “When we were all forced to stay home many people had to think outside the box to overcome limited options for continuing their careers. Lower operating expenses and a wider reach to customers make online ventures more appealing than in-person business.”
Otto says by digitizing his music school, it allows for a flexible schedule, both for him to avoid tour conflicts, as well as for students to learn at their own pace, and to reach a wider audience, saying, ”I couldn’t possibly teach every student if my school was in-person.”
As online platforms become all-encompassing, from being used as learning tools to increasing profits, it’s time to re-evaluate how you’re using them to ensure you’re reaping the rewards. If you’re not online, it’s time to get online and make up for lost time. It’s never too late, but don’t wait another second.