It's Been Awhile (Ramble about 5PM)

Hoo boy! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to sit down and do a blog post for all of you.

As someone who is a huge advocate for the ‘post every day’ process, I can 100% say I’m personally a bit let down with my own execution of that.

So I thought I’d catch you all up with what I’ve been doing the last week, and what the plan is for the coming weeks as well.

So first off, where have I been?

The last week, I’ve been swamped with a few personal matters. Some of my friends have been going through a bit of a tough time and my usual 5PM time has been spent with them, working through what’s going on with them. It’s been nearing my niece’s birthday, and I’ve been working on getting her a present ready as well. Which has been a nightmare. What do you get a 1 year old child? A book? If you’ve got an idea, let me know in the comments. Help a brother out.

On the business side of things, I’ve been trialing some new posts on 5PM that I thought would be a little more beneficial to the audience. When we started, the first 30 days we had a plan of garnering interest in what we were doing. However, as I’ve watched what has been getting posted, I’ve noticed that I’ve slipped into somewhat more of a ‘motivational’ type of posting. Similar to what the 1,000s of other Instagram accounts are doing. I don’t want to be like that. It generates cheap likes and follows. Even worse, most of those likes and follows are coming from other business pages that are posting very similar content. It’s a vicious cycle with an endgame that could have left 5PM with a large audience of ‘nothing’ pages that are run by bots and people who aren’t genuinely interested or engaged with our content.

So I’ve been sitting here, trying to think about what we could be posting that could be more significant or worthy for a real audience. And I’m always coming back to ‘bringing value’ to the end consumer.

As a business that is just starting up, we’re barely two months into the business itself, it’s hard to imagine what kind of value that we could be bringing people. We don’t have years of experience under our belts in the business sector. While I have a good grasp on social media and the best way to post content, that’s not being shown currently with my current engagement and followers. Most importantly, what I consider as ‘value’ to the consumer (you), may not be the type of value that you are looking for.

Which leads me to my next kind of breakthrough that I’ve come to with 5PM.

Most of the value won’t be for you. It’s that simple. 90% of the value that I create and share with the audience probably won’t be specifically targeted to help you. And that’s because, as business owners, we are all at different steps of our businesses. We can’t measure ourselves based on other people’s timelines, and we certainly can’t expect that advice given to one person is going to be perfect for us. However, 10% of the content that I create will be something of worth to you. The other 90% is just going to be broken up as value for people in other levels of business, with different backgrounds, products, services, and the like.

Now, this can often feel like a contrasting thought with the current method of content production that I’m seeing being thrown around on the Instagram community, which is sticking to your ‘niche’. By staying hyper focused on one particular aspect, you’re able to find engaged audience members who like your content, and stick with you. And it makes sense in theory. If you’re doing skateboard videos, and you have an audience of avid skaters, and you all of a sudden begin producing content about tea tree oil, you’re leaving your niche, and most of your audience is going to be pissed. They rely on you to create a certain type of content for them, and you’re not delivering on that.

I’d like to think a little differently about that. I feel that if you are an Instagrammer trying to get off the ground, a business that’s decided to venture head first into the social world, or just somebody who is enjoying the idea of using social media to push forward some type of agenda, then it would be a wise decision to start broad, and then begin to narrowly focus on what your audience likes the most, as well as what makes you happy to produce.

Within 5PM currently, we’re seeing a lot of interest in two types of posts that we’re creating. The first is our ‘motivational’ posts, and the other is the videos that we’ve been creating. So now I know what the audience is most interested in, I have to make a decision about what makes me most happy to produce and create. I feel disheartened when I create the motivational posts, but I feel really good about the videos that I create. So I’m going to focus on that. As much as it is more work for me, and can often feel like I have nothing to talk about, I whole-heartedly feel that this is something I’d feel more comfortable creating on 5PM, and I think the audience I currently have, and the one that is to come as we grow, is worth it.

A final note on niche marketing and my expand, then shrink idea.

Don’t feel obliged in either choice to pick one thing and then never change. I like to think of the expand and shrink idea as a badly drawn Christmas tree. Start very broad, then narrow what doesn’t work, then expand what did, narrow what didn’t work from that, and so on and so on until you can find a niche that makes you both happy, and your audience enjoys consuming.

I’ll catch you guys on the next one.

-Sheldon

Sheldon Lynn