Social Media Growth 101: Home Bases vs. Pollinators
When it comes to social media marketing, one of the most common mistakes I see is people focusing all their efforts on overcrowded platforms.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s possible to get traction on these channels. It’s just a hell of a lot harder than other strategies.
Many give up after giving 100% of their focus to these platforms. They get discouraged. They get frustrated.
I don’t blame them.
There is a simple way to solve this problem, and it’s knowing the difference between two types of social media platforms: Home Bases and Pollinators.
Once you realize and understand this difference, you’ll realize traffic is NOT always indicative of effort or quality. Sometimes it’s indicative on the platform itself.
Here is what I mean…
Home Base: a well-established social media channel that is often overcrowded, and has limited potential for rapid growth. A Home Base is saturated, extremely competitive, and naturally exclusive.
Pollinator: a social media platform susceptible to rapid growth; it usually allows you to follow and unfollow as many accounts as you’d like. Occasionally, a platform is a Pollinator simply because it is relatively new to the marketplace.
The best examples of Home Bases are Snapchat, any kind of blog, and a YouTube channel. The best examples of Pollinators are Twitter, Medium, Instagram (in some cases), and Pinterest.
Home Bases are hard to penetrate. They’re platforms meant to nurture your already-existing audience as opposed to getting a new following fast. They are your bread-and-butter and where you want your clients to end up.
The problem I see is people putting the content out to the world and expecting their Home Base to do the marketing for them. It doesn’t work that way.
After you finish creating the content, the work has just begun!
That is where the need for cross-pollination comes in. Unless you utilize other platforms more suitable for growth to get more traffic to your Home Base, it’s going to be a long windy path…
There are only 4 ways to grow your audience on a Home Base:
- Networking with individuals who are well-established on that platform
2. Going viral
3. Chipping away at growth for years on end
4. Using other platforms designed for growth to drive traffic to your Home Base — this is where Pollinators come in. Example: using Medium as a way to drive traffic to your blog, gaining a following on Vine to boost traffic to your YouTube channel, etc.
Pollinators are social platforms that either have a high potential for growth or are still young enough to establish a following without enormous barriers to entry.
The trick is to treat your Home Base as you would your website. Most people know they must work to get clicks to their website. There won’t be much passive traffic.
So what do people do to solve this? They drive traffic to their website through social media, paid Ads, business cards, flyers, etc. So start doing the same for your YouTube channel. For your Etsy or Fiverr account. For your blog.
Here’s how you do it. It’s easy…
Step 1: Pick Your Pollinator(s)
I’m guessing you already have your Home Base. Now it’s time to find your Pollinator. Keep in mind you’ll be spending a large amount of time on this, so go with the Pollinators you actually enjoy being on.
Which social media channel are you on all the time? Do you have a preference for Pinterest? Then use it. How about Twitter. Also use it.
Step 2: Learn, Read, Study As Much as You Can About That Platform
Use the endless amount of online resources available to you for tips on your Pollinator. I recommend Social Media Examiner, The Buffer Blog, and Medium.
A simple trick I tell clients is this: go to the most popular accounts on the social network you want to grow on.
Study what they do. How is their content structured? How long is the content? How is it branded?
Then, use those same practices and apply them to your own unique style.
Step 3: Always Market Your Home Base
Be that person who never stops talking about their “thing”. It might annoy your friends and family here and there, but people will ALWAYS respect your passion.
You never know who you will be talking to. Look at every opportunity as practice for your sales pitch.
No matter who you are, you should have a two-prong strategy with a Home Base and at least one Pollinator.
A terrific example of this is Srinivas Rao. He frequently contributes to Life Learning, creates valuable content, and directs people to his Home Base: The Unmistakable Creative podcast.
Your game plan is to find your Home Base — hopefully you already have one. Then, find one to two Pollinators. Learn what you can about marketing on those channels through ebooks, articles, Udemy courses, and more.
After that, apply what you learn to your content.
The point of this article was to make sure you’re conscious of the difference in how social networks are constructed. There are platforms designed to be exclusive. Designed to weed out those not willing to put in the hard work, strategy, or (hopefully) both.
Now that you know this, don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t seeing the traffic you’d like to. Instead, revamp your strategy to boost your traffic by leveraging other platforms designed for growth.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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