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If you want to build an audience, help people out

When you're building a building - a solid foundation is of paramount importance. Without it, your building will collapse, putting everyone inside in danger and ending in the collapse of your structure.

I see way too many people trying to jump past the solid foundation and try to make it all the way to the roof, or exterior first, without first putting in the work. Now, I'm very guilty of that too, when initially trying to build a brand, the first thing that matters is people.

Start by helping people out and you'll slowly but surely start to amass followers. Each follower is another brick in your building and eventually, when you have enough, your foundation will be solid and you can continue.

Once your foundation is laid that's when it's time to start the work of making it look good and trying to grow faster and more exponentially than when you first started out.

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    Well said @yehuda. I've built 2 companies based on this idea. Especially for helping nonprofits because then I feel that we were part of the mission of the nonprofit.

    But I would add that there are some people that will abuse your kindness if you let them. For example, I recently talked with a marketing person who was working with a nonprofit and for 2 years helped them build their audience to over 10,000. Problem is when she said she couldn't do the work for free anymore the nonprofit felt like she was trying to take advantage since their donations had increased.

    So help others but don't feel obligated when you don't feel like helping anymore. People will take advantage of the help when they can.

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    What should the method be?

    Do I search and hunt for people in need, or

    I publicly announce that I am willing to offer help and wait for people to make requests?

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      Very interesting question, so first of all, decide WHO you want to help out. If you have a product - pinguiry for example, you're looking to help out people who don't have a lot of time and want to limit the length of meetings.

      Business owners, CEOs, managers, really anyone who wants a very real way of ensuring meetings don't run overtime (I'm assuming it just cuts the meeting when it's over).

      Now that you have your audience, figure out where they are - this could be in real life or online. Let's use online cause it's global and easier to talk about. So, online, you go to Twitter for example, and look for people who complain about meetings taking too long, and offer them pinguiry to help out. You're promoting your product but helping them out at the same time.

      In addition, if you have a skill (let's assume development) you can go and help people out there. Then you'll start building more of an audience and people will view your projects, be listening to you when you talk, be more likely to consume your content and then you'll have a bigger initial audience for your product.

      And if any one of them knows someone who could use your product, they'll be more likely to refer you to a friend because they'll remember that time you helped them out.

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        oh, I see, I had not thought of this from my products perspective. I was thinking of it more like, helping out people building their products - so last part of your message.

        I can help development-wise but i also think there are a lot of people in this community that build/prototype stuff and they either need testers/beta users.

        I posted this on twitter for example: https://twitter.com/alperkemalkoc/status/1351880720147501058?s=20

        so I am open to help, whoever reaches out :)

        I will definitely try what you are suggesting regarding pinguiry, and then reach out to you on my findings :)

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    It's absolutely true. But I feel the problem for many people is they feel they help people / provide value and still don't get noticed.

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      Man, Szymon, I'm so happy you commented this so that I can reply!!!

      First point: on helping
      If you read what I responded to Niklas, you can see a very important point I made that is paramount to helping people out.

      No, this isn't a direct quote...

      If you're helping people out with the expectation of anything, you're not really helping them out, you're just trying to help yourself out.

      And people feel that. If someone genuinely cares and wants to help out, I'll know it, you'll know it, it'll come through in what they say, how they say it and what they're willing to do. If the person is upset that they didn't get anything back from "helping out", they weren't helping out just for the sake of helping out, they were just doing it to get something in return.

      Second point
      Also, if you really helped someone out and provided value, do you think it's even possible for them not to notice?

      Let's say I own a pizza store and get 100 - 200 customers a week. Then, someone comes and offers to help out with advertising and I start getting 300 - 400 customers a week.

      When he leaves my weekly customer count will be cut in half and you can be sure as anything I'M GOING TO NOTICE. How can I not now that my customer base has been cut in half?

      I think people aren't notice when they are under the illusion that they're providing value, when in reality they're doing nothing. Site redesign only matters if it increases conversions -> if it doesn't, there wasn't any value provided there. A prettier site that doesn't increase my revenue or profits somehow is useless. Sorry, but that's how business works, haha.

      Any other questions I'd love to talk about this, it's a fascinating topic to be honest.

      Also, on the topic of site design - Frontend Unicorn's site looks BEAUTIFUL! Good luck my man!

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        Wow, thanks for the in-depth answer, didn't expect it :)

        On the first point - so your view is that motivation matters?

        On the second point - I think you can both help and provide value without someone noticing. Helping it's usually tangible, but I can imagine a scenario when your help is hard to measure in numbers or other business criteria.

        With providing value it seems quite frequent that you do your homework and no one can see it. You can have the best technical blog there is, but if it's not SEO optimized and/or promoted somehow no one will benefit. Objectively you provide value, but subjectively there is no audience to consume it. That's why I think some people are bitter - they feel their content is better than the popular one, but still goes unnoticed.

        One additional question. Do you believe the people with big audiences deliver? Do they really help and provide value? Or not and this is what you meant by saying that strategy for 5k+ followers is different?

        I'm glad you like our site, you can find an easter egg if you click on Pixie's horn :)

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        So you'll only notice it when you lost the gains not while you are getting the value.

        Someone could promote your pizza store and you may think you are doing great pizzas so the customers lining up. Without noticing the help you are getting.

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          100% agree with you in certain cases.

          I think the point about people thinking that certain actions are helping out when they're really adding 0 value is very important. If you have a specific example I'd love to answer but in a general sense, people think that redoing graphics or improving a website is helping when if it doesn't increase the value of the business - it essentially accomplished nothing.

          And also, if it takes you leaving for them to recognize it, that's fine, if they're not stubborn, they'll understand the value that they lost and come find you to ask for future help. Then you have leverage to negotiate for compensation for the value you're providing.

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    True.

    Take care of them, they will take care of you.

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      Love that quote Michael!

      It's true, if you bring them business, they'll be a lot more likely to spend some money on your business.

      For example, if you're trying to help out a local bakery - head over there and BUY SOMETHING, then ask them if you can help them out. You've helped them by supporting their business, now they'll be a lot more open to listening to your offer and buying from YOUR business.

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        That just how it is...

        We do that here In the Åland Islands, we buy most locally we can, then out.

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    That's so true, Yehuda!

    Can you share specifics on how you started helping people and building a follower base?

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      100% Niklas. Just like this in fact.

      I don't even have a big audience, just for the record, you can follow me and watch me as I build it over the next few years.

      Post helpful insights that you think people will relate to, and A LOT of them. Post everywhere, IH, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, literally anywhere you can think of. For example - this exact post, it gained traction and is now on the first page of IH (even if it's not quite at the top yet, but I've gotten there plenty of times, not bragging, just stating a fact).

      Then, whenever someone comments (just like you did right now) REPLY!!! You're not too big to reply to anyone, ever. Obviously, once you have millions of followers it's going to be harder, but that's clearly an issue for another day (and when you get there, I'll be happy to help you out). Now you're engaging, and providing specific value to each person.

      Usually (and eventually you, once you have a track record), consultants will charge $100 - $500 for a call and personalized help - but you're giving it away FOR FREE. And also, intent is important. Make sure that you're helping out because you genuinely want to help, not as a means to and end.

      Once you've done that, you'll have people see what you're doing and start following you for more valuable insights and to help you out cause you helped them out.

      DISCLAIMER: This strategy works well for 0 - ~5k followers, once you get to 5k is when the game gets interesting and the strategy is totally different.

      Good luck Nikolas, if you want me to help you with your specific situation, let me know, my email is on my profile.

      1. 1

        That's amazing advice, Yehuda! Thank you. I really appreciate how you're helping people out and can just say one thing: Good job! 👍

        I'll write your email down and message you when I have more specific questions. Thanks a lot for the offer! :)

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        It would be cool if you could create a guide with other strategies when your follower base increases .

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