The Best Platform to Promote Your Side-Hustle
As the owner of a side-hustle you might feel torn between all the available marketing options. Your audience may be on multiple platforms. You watch the gurus and see how they publish their content on every platform, all the time.
You feel behind.
Maybe you try a do-everything-be-everywhere strategy too.
You spend so much time promoting your work you barely have enough time to create your work, let-alone think of new ways to grow your work in the future.
The ‘do everything’ cycle is tough to break, but there’s a solution.
Maybe you understand the power of ‘the influencer.’ Or you try to keep your message spread in as many places as possible. While the be-everywhere approach works well for entrepreneurs with a team, you might spread your efforts too thin.
As a solopreneur, you need a laser-focused approach. You need a central repository for your best work.
Instead of trying to be on every platform, all the time, I have a different answer for you. Keep reading and I’ll share the single, best platform to promote your side-hustle.
The Best Platform
The best platform to build your audience is the one that works for you. All social platforms have millions (or billions) of users. They all work when enough targeted effort is applied.
It’s not the platform that’s the problem.
The problem is an issue of focus. When you go all-in on a single platform, you learn what works and what doesn’t. You’ve got time to build your audience, time to respond to comments, and time to nurture relationships.
When you try to be everywhere all the time, instead of rocking a single platform with everything you’ve got, you operate a bunch of platforms with mediocre performance.
As the entry-barriers lower, the amount of competition rises. There are thousands of side-hustlers working their hardest to become influencers as well. These are your competition. If you want your message found in the sea of all the other side-hustlers, you’ve got to master one platform at a time.
We master our platform by going all-in with a single place.
When you start a side-hustle and attempt the be-everywhere strategy, you’ll water your message (or deliver half-assed results) to the point where you won’t build an audience.
When you master a platform you learn to take a stand, plant a flag, understand what works and what doesn’t, and become a staple of your niche.
Find the Platform that Works for You
Not every platform is perfect for every creator. Maybe YouTube doesn’t serve your market well, but LinkedIn does. Or Twitter delivers mediocre results, but Medium is the right answer.
During the seeking phase, open accounts on all the major platforms.
It’s important you own your name/business name in all these major places anyway. But it doesn’t mean you’ve got to be active on these sites. I prefer to go all-in on one site and use my ‘master site’ to push my content to the others.
This way, I’m not spending any time on the other platforms, but my content still gets a little exposure in multiple places.
The best platform for you is the one where your tribe likes to spend their time. More-importantly, a platform you enjoy spending time on. Maybe you spend all your time on Pinterest or Facebook.
- Research your audience in the search tools.
- Look at your competition, where do they focus most of their effort?
- Read your readers’ comments on your competitors pages. Where else do they hang out?
- How do you enjoy communicating with others? If you don’t like video, don’t choose YouTube as your all-in platform, no matter how exciting the numbers look.
Slowly Add a Second Platform
Once you’ve mastered a single platform, add a second. Follow the same process as you did the first. Master the platform. Post often and respond to your readers’ comments. Use the same ferocity you spent on the first platform.
Wait until you’ve ‘cracked the code’ on the first before you get tempted to try another.
Algorithms love consistency and hate when you take a break. There’s nothing worse for your traffic than planting a few seeds on one site, moving to a second, and pausing the first.
Instead, develop a consistent schedule for your first platform.
Add the second platform once you developed a publishing schedule optimized to your readers’ behaviors and generates a steady stream of leads on a continuous basis.
Don’t Neglect the First Platform
Although you added a second (maybe a third) social platform, don’t neglect the first. The idea is to grow your business, not keep it equal by substituting one platform for another.
If you can’t safely grow a second platform without ignoring the first, don’t add a second platform. Adding a second platform is about growing your business, not substituting one set of traffic for another.
Shiny-and-bright is always a distraction, but don’t be tempted.
If you got your first platform to work for you, never give up that traffic. The second platform should only be added if your business will grow further with the added effort, not at the detriment of the additional work.
Continue to provide a steady stream of helpful content, no matter the platform.
All your content should point towards a central hub. A list you own. I prefer an email list, because you own your email list, no matter what happens on the platform where you post your content. You can always set your roots in a new place quickly, if you have an email list you can contact with, “hey, I’m over here now.”
Keep a marketing calendar
The easiest way to avoid neglecting your successful platforms, is to keep a marketing calendar. With a calendar, you give yourself a checklist and number of criteria you must meet daily/weekly, before you can stop publishing for the day.
Maybe you write three articles a week, post three times per day on social media, and send one email.
Make yourself a Monday-through-Sunday checklist.
On a given day, look at the marketing tasks and knock them out as you work through your day.
Marketing, just like practicing your craft, is something that must be done on a regular basis if you want to grow your side-hustle.
It’s your job as the business owner to remind your readers you’ve got something that will help them–that you’re still in business to serve. Your readers don’t sit around waiting to hear from you. You’ve got to go to them.
Not only will a marketing calendar help keep your production schedule organized, but you’ll also have an overall picture of potential holes in your marketing plan.
Mastery: an Added Bonus
Not only will you own your little corner of your platform, but your intense focus may also lead to mastery of the platform. Like most social growth, there will come a hockey-stick moment on your growth curve.
While it might take you a few years to cement your dominance of a particular platform, there will be a tipping point.
Social growth is not linear.
AS you learn to master your favorite platform, you’ll uncover little nuances, unknown to the masses. When you master a platform, you own your niche. When you own your niche, your voice becomes much more valuable.
You might have a small trickle of traffic for a couple years, until one day you’ll have your hockey-stick moment. The key is consistency and longevity. Most side-hustlers won’t be able to out-live your content.
If you can last long enough to dominate your little corner of the platform, you’ll earn your hockey stick moment.
Give Your Readership a Reason to Return for More
Your platform is only half the journey. The other half is to give the reader a reason to return for more. Every piece of content you produce should be an invitation to join your tribe. I call this invitation your Easy Invite.
The EA is a free offer that solves a particular problem for the reader.
You show how your free offer will take her from where she is now to where she wants to be. Your EA should never sound self-serving. You need to give something that benefits your reader. No one wants to join your ‘newsletter,’ ‘keep in touch,’ or ‘join your list.’
We don’t want to be on some list.
Instead we want our own problems solved (or we want a quick escape). This is why we engage with content. This is why we join your email list. When your free offer matches the wants of your reader–you’ve earned a new subscriber.
When you’ve got a new reader it’s important you don’t lose her.
Once you’ve got a reader on your tribe (your email list), you have full access to contact her whenever you’ve got valuable information that will help.
Email builds relationships.
A simple invitation at the bottom of your content will help each reader join your email list. Once she joins, you’ll send an automated email series, building trust, providing a ton of value, and sending the occasional offer.
Not only can you use your email to build trust automatically, you can also sell your best work while you sleep.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell more work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.