4 Secrets to Starting a Business and Scaling an Online Platform
These days, your online platform is crucial. Consumers trust brands more readily if they have an online presence, and per Vox, top tier influencers with substantial followings are now raking in a whopping $100,000 per sponsored post. Online platforms are as lucrative as they are important for customer engagement. And, believe it or not, they’re continuing to grow.
According to Brand Watch, even though there are 3.5 billion social media users in the world, another newcomer creates an account every 6.4 seconds. With almost everyone online -- and with that number growing daily -- the sheer potential of your online platform for building a business or sharing your message should not be taken lightly.
But, there is one potential disadvantage of having everyone online: the competition is fierce. Everyone is vying for the engagement of an audience. So, how do you start an online business and scale your online platform so your content can perform and convert followers to customers? Here are some ideas:
1. Keep churning out content.
It can be discouraging when you keep posting content and nothing seems to take off. The secret is to just keep going! Case Kenny is the host of the “New Mindset, Who Dis?” podcast. It found success initially, but several months in, he wasn’t hitting the download numbers he was looking for, which was frustrating for him. Now, his podcast has hit close to 2 million downloads.
“I considered calling it quits. Fortunately, I didn't, I put my head down and kept publishing, fine-tuning my voice and message and in October 2018, the podcast blew up. It ranked #26 in the world on the charts and #8 in the world as a self-help podcast,” Kenny shared. It’s similar to what Gary Vaynerchuk says frequently: “You’re only one piece of content away from what you want to happen happening.” The more content you put out, the more likely you are to create that one thing that goes viral and scales your platform.
2. Be willing to invest in the build process when you start an online business.
Peter Pru, the founder of ECommerce Empire Builders, learned all about scaling an online ecommerce platform through dropshipping. “It takes money to make money,” Pru said. He encourages anyone who needs to work part-time or even a full-time job to fund their business to do it. “Almost every startup needs money to begin, so you have to be willing to do what it takes to earn that money so you can invest in yourself and your business.”
Investing in a publicist who can get you media exposure or a social media strategist who can help grow your platform is a great use of funds to get you started. Whatever you do, do not invest in buying fake followers. These will hurt your engagement rate and can be very obvious to new potential followers who can come across your page.
3. Learn how to track conversions and data.
Whichever online platforms you use, it’s crucial to take stock on what’s working and what isn’t. Nowadays, there are a number of tracking or analysis tools to help you determine which type of content yields the highest engagement rate. The first element to look at is which social media pages drive the most traffic to your website. Hootsuite recommends using Google Analytics to evaluate this. For example, if your Instagram is sending 18 followers a day to your page but your YouTube is only sending three, you know to focus more effort on Instagram.
Instagram has a built-in feature for business pages that can tell you how well your post does. When you click “View Insights” on a certain post, you’ll be able to see the number of impressions and compare it to the number of engagements (likes and comments). Perhaps photos with your face perform better than quote pictures you make in Canva, or maybe videos bring in more comments than just photographs. The next step is to use the data you derive from these analytics to pivot in your strategies moving forward, so you’re always doing what drives the most engagement.
4. Collaborate and cross-promote with other creators.
A key part of scaling your platform further -- especially once you’re confident on what content performs best -- is heightening your content’s exposure to other audiences. Finding creators who post similar content to what you post is a great way to expand your reach. Consider reaching out to other influencers on the platform you use most frequently and asking to collaborate or share each other’s posts.
A good rule of thumb here is to approach other creators with a similar number of followers to you so that you can do more of a “trade” rather than paying for the exposure. The Social Media Examiner shares that some potential opportunities for these collaborations include co-created content or product co-branding, such as launching a joint online course with another creator who shares the same expertise that you do.
Scaling an online platform is more of an art than a science, but these must-know secrets will help you direct your strategies so you can start scaling more, faster.