Which Platform Should I Use?
One of the most common questions I get asked in my work as a digital coach and mentor is ‘Which platform should I use’. The real challenge is that the word PLATFORM – in my world – can actually mean 3 different things! Let me explain.
Platform Version 1: Network Marketing Platforms
I have many clients who are in Network Marketing, direct sales or affiliate marketing. For them the word ‘platform’ is defined as the base functional site or infrastructure, products and promotional training and support provided by the company that they sign up with. Some companies will provide you with a replicated site that you can use straight away, promoting products from that site to your social pages, sharing testimonials and demonstration or results videos, driving people to your site to make their purchase. You make a profit from every sale and as everything is tracked via your unique affiliate code to your replicated site, it’s really transparent. I’ve been involved with a couple of network marketing companies over the years so know implicitly what works and doesn’t work.
Some things you should know:
You’re selling a business.
It doesn’t matter how you frame it: when you’re selling products, the key to success is to remember you’re building a BUSINESS. Repeat clients keep some wheels turning and start you off earning some pocket money, but there is bigger money to be made. Your greatest success generally comes from growing a team and nurturing them to fulfil their greatest potential as business owners or entrepreneurs – and you make commissions off their sales as well. Sharing WHY you love the products is great, but to really grow in the ranks and to create the passive income these companies talk about, sharing WHY you love the business and growing a team is the way to do it. Every company is usually very clear when you start out about their compensation plan and while results vary, I know a number of people who have been incredibly successful in network marketing.
It’s easy to get started.
These companies are great for anyone venturing into entrepreneurship, wanting to add a side gig, start a part time gig from home or to add a product range to your business, which is what I did previously. As soon as you sign up, you can literally scale as fast as you want (as fast as you have time to commit to it) and normally the person who ‘sponsors you’ into the business will give you tools or coaching to support you on your pathway to success.
It usually costs.
Yes, there’s usually a fee up front, however it normally comes with some product or the platform to sell the product if you’re already a fan. It should also come with training, support, marketing tools and usually weekly or monthly training calls to help you take your business to the next level! You may have to invest in a training kit or products to demonstrate, so when you’re shopping around to find a company that could work for you, ask as many questions as possible.
It’s important to grow your own identity.
Network or affiliate marketing is all based on the strength of your connections and your community. As a network marketer, you’re actually working as an influencer! That’s right! However, an influencer is more than just a young thing in a bikini talking about ‘living your best life’. Influencers can range from 5 to millions of followers or connections as you’re basically ‘influencing’ someone’s buying decision through your recommendation. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of some of the guidelines around promoting particular products, making health claims and personal transformation guarantees. Normally your company will give you a breakdown of these guidelines. It’s also important to create your ‘niche’ as an influencer. What’s your story? My niche is about personal empowerment and covers weight loss, wellness, making positive choices, mindset, personal development and entrepreneurship. Sounds pretty broad right? I’ve worked really hard to combine all these elements into one story, enabling people to come into my world from whichever angle attracts them in and giving them a reason to connect with me. FYI: I’m not a network marketer, but I am an expert in growing brands. Read on further to learn more.
Platform Version 2: Social Media Platforms
In the digital world, we discuss ‘social platforms’ a lot, which are literally the channels we use to leverage ourselves into the global market. There are different reasons for using these platforms. Facebook started as a dating and rating site where University students would rate each other. Now it’s become a core part of billions of people’s lives, enabling us to stay in touch with family and friends, share funny things, advertise jobs, sell products, share business tips, advertise, promote events AND still rate and date others.
So which digital platform is best for entrepreneurs and business owners? Here’s my thoughts from my professional experience.
Most business owners and entrepreneurs that I coach never fully understand just how valuable LinkedIn is. My partner Pete Ward who is the Digital Strategist of our communications company often shares in training sessions that “LinkedIn is seen as an authority site, commanding more respect. Firstly, it has great SEO, meaning when someone Googles you, it will show your LinkedIn profile quite high up in the search feed”. This often ranks higher than some people’s websites, so it’s worth having a fully completed profile with links for people to get in touch with you. “Secondly, LinkedIn is the online confirmation that who you SAY you are is actually WHO YOU ARE. It shows your work or project history, people you’re connected to or have worked with and enables you to grow yourself as a thought leader in your specialist area.’ LinkedIn is all about validation and respect. In my opinion, anyone in business or on an entrepreneurial journey should be using this platform and even if you’re in a B2C business (business to consumer), you never know when someone you’re connected with may want to buy something you’re selling. Remember: the platform is full of people with needs too. If you want to connect on linked in, HERE IS A LINK TO MY PROFILE.
The primary use of Facebook has always been about connecting with family and friends, sharing funny cat videos etc. As the Facebook suite has grown, so have the opportunities and functionalities and with the evolution of Business Pages, Business Manager and the cost effective Advertising opportunities available in the platform, it’s no surprise that more business owners and entrepreneurs have flocked to the site. Best practices: Create a business page and start by re-sharing content to your personal profile. This should help you grow organic followers who support you on your journey. Don’t invite people to an empty page. Add a bit of content first! DON’T always flog product! Give value, build trust and engagement, then flog products or share links to your services. Giving value shows how you can make your followers’ lives easier, meaning you’re more likely to generate authentic business or sales leads.
If you love to talk like me, get on Youtube IMMEDIATELY. In India, 50% of consumers buying decisions are influenced by Youtube videos. Over the last few years, I’ve utilised Youtube videos to drive leads to my e-commerce store. New sales arrived literally every day and now I’m just waiting to hear if I’ve qualified as a Youtube partner, meaning I can earn revenue from ad injections before, in the middle and at the end of my videos. My biggest tip: be helpful and keep to the point! The traditional ‘vlogger’ video is changing as people’s attention spans shorten. Don’t muck around: give VALUE.
This platform is growing more and more as a leader for e-commerce leads. Because Instagram is primarily based on attractive imagery mixed with hashtags for searchability, it’s great for any brand or business with products. Not the primary site for bloggers, but great to share a thought and an inspirational quote, with a link in your bio to your blog. FYI: If this is all starting to sound a bit overwhelming, it’s ok. Over on www.yourfixcommunications.com we do full social media training which enables you to understand which platform is best suited for you and your clients and shows you the best way to create and share engaging content FAST. It’s super simple once you know the rules of the game.
It’s still pretty big in the states, not used so much here in NZ. It’s a great platform for giving your opinion of something trending or including relevant news events and talking about how it affects you or your thoughts on the issue. We call that ‘news jacking’. Good to grow your identity and grow your voice.
Platform Version 3: Pageant Platforms
Over the years, I’ve had the great honour of coaching many amazing women for regional, national and global beauty pageants, as well as judging several local ones, and ‘platform’ is an important word they use too. According to the dictionary, platform means ‘a raised level surface on which people or things can stand’ and it’s two fold in the pageant world. Firstly, it’s what you STAND for. Pageant competitors are often asked ‘what is your platform?’ meaning, what is the cause or topic that you would like to draw attention to? For some it’s diversity or domestic violence. We’ve heard a lot about women’s rights over the years, loads about poverty and then there’s the much laughed about ‘World Peace’. On a serious note, your platform should come from something you’re personally passionate about. It connects to your WHY and is the driver of any personal brand. For me, my platform is about giving people a voice, or empowering people to find theirs, use it authentically and with confidence.
Secondly, once you’ve done well regionally, nationally or internationally, the pageant then provides you an opportunity to leverage off their platform (brand name, brand equity, following and media) growing your identity and extending your message and your reach to a greater audience. So you effectively leverage their platform to promote your platform. Make sense?
The key takeaway from this blog is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re leveraging off someone elses’ platform, utilising existing digital platforms or joining a company that will give you a platform to grow your own business, you need to start with growing your own identity FIRST.
You need to be able to know the value you have, the values you live your life by and the value you give others to make their lives better. Once you can clearly and simply articulate that, that’s where the magic begins and when you’re WHY turns into your KA-CHING! Sadly too many business owners and entrepreneurs who contact me have a burning desire to live a life of passion and ‘that will pay somehow as they’ve put their heart and soul into it, and it feels like their life’s purpose…..’ That may be the case, but being a success in business is so much more than that. I speak from 25 years of experience here……
SO: If you’re ready to discover your WHY, grow yourself, grow your platform and authentically use that to create a business or grow the flow of money into your existing gig, head on over to my company site: www.yourfixcommunications.com
We have a heap of workshops, online training and coaching or mentoring options that will literally set your brand on fire, so if you’re ready to grow your impact, let’s do this!