You’ll often find that people will say that they support you, but have never come to a game, purchased a book, read a blog or made a retweet. It’s just the nature of people I guess. But actual support is crucial to our success in whatever field we may choose. Having people behind you that buy into the music, the blogs, or whatever else it is that you may in a sense be “selling,” is key. So what is it that actually makes you support a person in practice vs. just in your mind?
Don’t worry, this will not be a post ranting about people’s support. I have always said that you shouldn’t have to beg anyone to support you. I generally dislike when people are always crying about support. Like boo-hoo! If you are not being celebrated where you are, figure it out. But I am just generally intrigued by what actually makes people click buy or what actually makes people say, “I will share this.”
The biggest thing that I attribute to people supporting is connection. In my writing course, The Writer, The Brand, I talk about how people connect with people, not product. So the reason that big companies spend trillions of dollars on ads that tell stories and include people is because they know that people won’t just randomly connect to Coca-Cola or to Lunchables. However they do know that people will connect with the story of a girl sharing a coke with her boyfriend or people will connect with the frustration of not always having the time to make their kid a well-rounded lunch. This is why ads are so important. They put a story behind the product on the shelf for us to connect to.
So, in our own endeavors, we have to remember that people want to connect to you. Or some representation of you if you like to play the background. That’s why personal brands have become this huge buzzword over the years. Most of you are not here reading this blog because you stumbled across it and just thought it was amazing. Most of you are here because you interacted with me in some way, most likely through social media and thought, I like her persona enough to check out what she’s doing on her site. Or maybe someone else mentioned me and you connect with them, so you trusted them enough to check out my site. Either way, you were personally invested somehow, with me or someone else enough to click a link or to type in the site name.
This can be tough for some of our introverted folks too. You think, gah I have a great product or great business, but I am not about to put myself out there for people to buy into what I’m selling. I’m sure there are creative ways to work around that. But it will involve putting a story out there either way you slice it.
A lot of people have talked about the difference between your business and your brand and the key determining factor here is that your brand is your business’s story. We all have a story. Sometimes it takes a bit to figure it out. Believe me I know. But we all have something that will connect with another person. Me for instance, I went to college for journalism and hated news and thought, how can I still write and not have to go through the newsroom? Voila. By way of a stint in songwriting, I found my way to blogging. I am also a person who spent a lot of time helping other people in their endeavors instead of actually pursuing mine. Lastly, I also had a hard time seeing things through until the end until I finished my first book Dear Love and it became the stepping stone to finishing and creating many more great things. ALL these things are a part of my story or my brand and I assure you that these are the things that people can look at and say, I felt like that too.
This almost makes me think about what it takes for me to want to support people as well. So much of it is based on how much I like them and what they have to say, honestly. An important factor here is that building support takes time. Rarely do I see someone doing something that I decide to purchase right away. Now some of you are impulsive buyers so it may be a little different for you. But it takes me TIME. Ha! I have to check it out 3 or 4 times and evaluate whether I like you that much to spend my hard earned cash. So I get it when it takes people some time to want to purchase from The Dreamer Shop or whatever it may be.
When I think of the last few things that I just purchased … I bought Myleik Teele’s This is My Year Journal. This was after listening to her podcasts, missing the first journal and right before meeting her in Philly. But it was the podcasts that made me feel like I was connecting. I bought GG Renee’s Writing the Layers workbook. First of all it just sounded awesomebecause it had adult coloring pages too, but second I have been following GG for some years now and though I’ve been impressed by her blog, it was seeing her speak about writing at my BBB Series event in DC that really floored me. And the last event I supported, because well getting me to actually come somewhere is a whole other task outside of just spending some coin for a product was the Brown Girls Building Brands Brunch by Zakia Blaine of FBF Fitness. I met Zakia some years ago now and have followed her movement since. I am inspired by her business acumen and I attended the second brunch and thought it was amazing. And still it took me WEEKS to settle within myself the ticket price to actually attend.
So you see where I am going here. Yes, some of the most popular people can put something out and immediately sell 200 million of whatever it is. But for many of us, that cultivation process takes time. It was really interesting to me once I started receiving orders from people who I actually didn’t KNOW! I thought to myself “Oh momma I made it.” Because it’s a completely different ballgame when people who just discover you through the interwebs actually decide to spend money or retweet or use their platform to help you gain exposure and I don’t take lightly.
One important thing that I always like to tell people in regard to support is to remember that your friends are not always your fans. Stop getting so mad because people you know don’t support your business endeavors. Just because they like you as a person doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily into your music or your books or whatever it may be. I know, you think they just should be as a friend, but you know, it gets hard when you have a lot of friends to be in tune with what EVERY single one is doing. I’m not speaking on the besties though. They have to support everything. But in either case, focus on the people that DO support you. I promise you will be a lot better off my friend.
What actually makes you want to support a brand or business? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!