Even in the most remote parts of the world, there is still some access to the Internet. This year, I flew more than 100,000 miles to speak at conferences and companies all over the world. I spoke in developed and developing countries. Everywhere, I saw people using smartphones to access the Internet and social media.
The opportunity to build or grow a brick-and-mortar business using the power and reach of the Internet is exciting. Billions of users log on every day, and you have the chance to reach a fraction that’s interested in the value your business offers to the world. The key is understanding how to pique their interest.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole movement of self-proclaimed experts. They tell you how successful they are and brag about all the money they’re making. They advertise programs or webinars about how you can make “six-figures through webinars,” or books and courses. Since that is a result some entrepreneurs want to achieve, they get suckered into spending their hard-earned dollars on hype. That is not how you build a loyal and engaged following online. Here are three secrets to building in a way that separates you from the hype.
1. Always be authentic.
People can tell the real thing when they see it. In fact, since so many want to put on a front, you stand out when you are authentic. Being an authentic entrepreneur means a few things:
Always tell the truth. Even if it makes you look bad, be transparent about your successes and struggles. People connect with you when they feel like they see the full picture.
Don’t put yourself on a pedestal. Yes, you have accolades, but cramming them down someone’s throat doesn’t build a connection. You have to balance showing your expertise without coming off looking like you’re bragging. Have an about page on your website that’s personal. Answer email and social media messages when you have time. Don’t make others feel like you’re talking down to them.
Acknowledge what you don’t know. There are always ways to improve in life, and we don’t know everything. If you don’t know something, be transparent about it and learn.
2. Consistently deliver valuable content.
There’s a wealth of content online, some good and some complete garbage. The way people connect with your business and message is through the value you deliver. Your following will grow if your content is practical and actionable. You became an expert in more than name.
It takes time to create good content. It takes research and a commitment not to lower your standards. There are many good examples of consistently delivering excellent content. Brain Pickings, the Serial Podcast, Casey Neistat and Malcolm Gladwell are a few good examples.
Stand out by going over-the-top for your audience. They will notice and you will stand out.
3. Don't see people as dollar signs.
Our goal as business owners is to generate income, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of how you make someone feel. People can tell when you view them like a number. It repels them. The entrepreneurs that build a raving audience do it by making a connection that goes beyond money.
Treat everyone you encounter, even the haters, with respect. The haters may try to drag you down but when you respond with grace, people see that and want to follow you even more. Despite his success, Gary Vaynerchuck is someone who always treats people like more than a number.
Successful entrepreneurs have two goals: create freedom in their life and make an impact in the lives of others. When you build a loyal and engaged following online, they will tell others, and your reach will grow. This gives you the opportunity to make a greater impact.
Stand out by being you. Don't follow someone else just because they’re successful. Avoid the hype and spammy tactics that may help someone for a little while. Those entrepreneurs don’t last in the long run. Build your business and following by delivering value that helps solve your audience’s biggest struggles.
Related: 11 Secrets of Irresistible People