October 16, 2018

When Rachel Miller became a mother, she quit her job as a high school economics teacher and soon started a blog. Thanks to her understanding of supply and demand, that blog grew until she eventually reached 10 million page views in a single month. After building and growing a few more sites, she began teaching others how to do the same — how to build big sites and get traffic, with as few ads as possible. Our talk was chock-full of wisdom on how to build an audience, so let's dive in.

Facebook: Today's Hub

While there are plenty of channels out there, from Instagram to YouTube, many only capture a portion of your potential audience. Facebook, on the other hand, reaches everyone. As Rachel points out, as our world has shifted to being online, Facebook has taken over from shopping malls or downtown main streets to become the new marketing hub. While that may change again in the future, in order to reach people today, businesses need to have a Facebook presence — even if they don't think that's where their audience is.

Recognizing Facebook's role in today's world also affects how you brand yourself. Facebook is all about how you appear to your friends, so you want your brand to showcase the best of your members. Keep that in mind when deciding what to call your Page and when naming a Group. Rachel uses the example of a Financial Coach or Bankruptcy Advisor page, to which an audience may be reluctant to attach themselves. An aspirational name, such as Investments for Your Future or Financial Literacy, on the other hand, will do much better in attracting fans.

One Platform, Multiple Channels

One of Rachel's most important insights is to recognize that Facebook isn't a single channel. You have Groups, Pages, Messenger, and more, and it's vital that you understand how to use each of those effectively, and how to take advantage of all the different types of engagement available. The variety of channels also allows you to identify which methods of interaction your audience prefers, and to leverage that knowledge in order to stay relevant.

Rachel recommends that when you're first building an online presence, begin with one channel. Then add a link to a second — such as linking to a group's content from your page — instead of trying to establish a presence on all channels at once. While the need for certain channels will vary depending on your brand, a Page is the essential starting point for all of them.

It's All About Relationships

Once you have your Page, you need to find your audience, which is where Rachel's own business philosophy applies: If you love and serve people — giving them what they want and need — you become an invaluable resource in their lives. At that point, the sky's the limit for both you and your business. This attitude infuses her entire approach, beginning with her strategy of getting your initial audience organically. Once you have your first initial fans, ask them what they want to see more of, and build your product with that in mind.

It's not just about number of likes your Page has, either. We all know you can buy fake fans, and you don't need to have a giant page to have a giant impact. Rachel points out that if you're too focused on reaching everyone, your first fans will feel neglected. Love the fans you have, talk to them, hear and share their thoughts, and they'll bring in the next group of fans for you.

Finally, when it comes to ads, know that you don't need to spend a lot of money for them to be effective. Use whatever money you do spend to find where the people most passionate about your product are — those with a compulsive need to engage with your business's niche. Figure out what is irresistible to that target group, and use that insight in your content to maximize engagement and gain not just single buyers, but true fans of you and your business.