Step 2: Get Popular
It is super important that you find a community before you worry too much about being popular. (If you missed this step, see last week’s post.) Gaining and maintaining popularity can take quite a bit of time and energy, so be sure it’s not displaced.
In my case, I built popularity as an athlete in high school. I had a knack for sports and, living in a small town, I noticed that succeeding in sports made it easier to gain popularity. At this point in life, I was less worried about what I truly wanted to be and more concerned with how to fit in. I am not much of an athlete any more, but using the sports community to build popularity at this stage in life proved to be a long-term benefit.
Memoir aside, there’s an important business lesson here. When your business is new or trying to better establish itself, it’s important to take stock and figure out the easiest, most natural place to fit in. Marketers often think of this as “low hanging fruit.”
You may want to position your business as the world’s best fitness resource and realize you have tons of healthy eating recipes stored in your computer from years of cooking. In this scenario, it might be best to focus your energy on gaining popularity in the cooking community because it’s the most natural, easiest fit for your current business. Get your name known, earn some strong inbound links from reputable sites and build history with search engines all while refining exactly what your brand is and what you want it to become. I’ll write about leveraging popularity to expand your community next week.
The principles of getting your name known, earning inbound links and refining your brand are exactly the same as establishing yourself in high school. Once you become part of a community, older members of that community will recognize you and be totally cool being seen with you. Their friends will ask them who you are and your name will get better known around campus.
- build honest relationships with leaders in your community
- focus on things you already do well and grow from there
- don’t fake your relationships
- don’t pay for friends
Just like websites, these new, older friends have a longer history and an established reputation on campus. People already know them and trust them within their community. If the best guitar player in school jams with you at a school showcase, other students recognize that a top authority in the music scene is endorsing you or at least willing to associate with you. This is exactly how search engines look at websites. Get seen with the popular kids, or the websites that have authority in your community, and the rest of campus will start recognizing you more.
Key Point: simply walking behind or next to a popular kid looks lame. Everyone knows you are trying to be seen with them but that the popular kid doesn’t actually want you there. This is the equivalent to spamming the comments section of blog posts. Don’t do it. It does more harm than good. The same goes for buying inbound links. It’s like Daddy paying people to come to your birthday party. True popularity takes time. It’s okay to be a freshman as long as as your expectations are reasonable.
Subscribe to the Connectivity blog by signing up (to the right, in the sidebar). Step 3: Expand Your Circle will be posted in a couple weeks!
Josh is the Content Marketing Manager for Connectivity.