It’s almost 2020 and I’ve made the decision to avoid New Years resolutions and spend more time on what’s already working. What I mean is instead of creating unrealistic goals for myself, I am focusing on business objectives that currently work. For nearly two years I have been trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Time wasted on content that was difficult to monetize. Although brand endorsements and social media are a small part of my business, it’s not my money maker. This year I had to be honest with myself and seriously take into account my analytics to understand what my audience wants and what was driving the most traffic that translated to capital.
When creating a brand or specifically targeted social media you need to find your niche. The value in having something to give to your audience is knowing their needs, but it is also important to know yours. If you go into brand development blind you will do like I did which is pull yourself into multiple different directions unable to build trust in your audience. To establish your audience you need to know yourself completely. Who are you? What do you have to offer others? What are your core values? Once you have narrowed your mission statement down and you are confident then you can begin brand development and strategizing your marketing plan. But there are several other factors to take into account beforehand.
Keep in mind hobbies don’t always make you money or drive interest in your brand. When I started my website it was heavily focused on fashion design and styling. As it grew my audience dictated what I shared. This was beneficial and detrimental. Trying to maintain the interest of everyone who followed me was impossible. I couldn’t keep up with their demand so I became discouraged and stopped posting for days, weeks and even months. My passion filled me with anxiety. Until I stopped listening to everyone and made an honest evaluation of my business, who I wanted to target, and what I had to give them. A good resource to help you focus on quality consumers/followers versus quantity is “The Technium” by Kevin Kelly and his essay ‘1,000 True Fans.’ It puts numbers into perspective so you can focus on rich content.
When I listened to myself and my audience I learned I was a brand strategist/developer. Which made sense since I was a VP of Business Development and talent manger prior to working in fashion. Although my full-time career was a fashion designer turned stylist more recently, it wasn’t translating on my website. In order to scale my business I had to offer my audience a brand they could trust. Which wasn’t necessarily a clothing brand. So I started an Instagram account focused primarily on art direction, styling and branding. That way I could incorporate fashion but not focus my brand around being a fashion designer and stylist specifically.
Now that I have established a loyal following I offer different services that meet their needs. From brand development, content creation, video editing, story building, script writing and art direction (to name a few), I assist them in creating a successful business around their vision. In order to be successful I analyze their traffic to create a niche based upon their analytics. I work on a consultation bases to ensure I can achieve their goals and help them strategize accordingly. While this takes away from my everyday social media presence from time-to-time it allows me to have a career I love while enjoying my hobbies (or passion projects) as an extra curricular for fun. I don’t suffer from a lack of creativity anymore. I am constantly inspired and eager to work on the next project that comes my way.
Whether you have already established a business or blog be honest with yourself if you are where you want to be, and if your niche is profitable. If it is not make changes by asking yourself what is your purpose? How are you giving value to your audience? The biggest value you can bring to the table is your authenticity. Not just a voice behind a brand or picture. When I got clear with myself and the feedback I received from my audience that’s when my brand came together. That’s when I could focus full-time on my business and stop all of my side hustles. I challenge you to be true to yourself and target your niche to expertly bring value to others this new year.