“I keep hearing I need a platform, but I feel uncomfortable building one for myself.”
I hear different versions of this concern often and I believe it all comes down to one single worry — self-promotion.
I totally get it.
Self-promotion just seems tacky to most of us.
Perhaps you’re picturing that one person from back in high school who keeps filling your social media feed with a product or service she insists will change your life. Up until now, she has made no effort to maintain any kind of relationship with you through the years nor has she shown any genuine interest in your life. But out of the blue she pops up one day wanting to connect again, and then soon after she begins inundating you with information about her product or service.
You know what? That is tacky. But it’s not platform building.
In fact, building a platform isn’t really self-promotion at all. It’s managing your online reputation, which is necessary in the world we live in today.
A strong online platform gives you possibilities. It can serve as a stand out resume for that dream job you’ve been wanting (yes, employers are definitely looking up their job candidates online). It can be a solid launching pad for that business you’ve been dreaming of starting. It can open doors for passive income streams, new friendships, and career-building networks.
Just like the self-promotion myth, there is another myth floating around that says platform building is being an Instagram model. False. You need to think more holistically than just social media (and modeling is not required — thank God!).
Your platform is everyone you have access to reach. It’s your network — the people who read your blog, listen to your podcast, buy what you sell, and, yes, engage with you on social media. It is the people you are helping, educating, inspiring or encouraging. Currently, your network may be just a handful of people.
Your network is your net worth. What are you doing today to invest in building your network?
2: The internet is huge.
Trust me, the online world is a big place and there is enough audience for everyone. In case you’re struggling to believe that you have anything valuable to share with the world, stop reading for a minute and think about what is currently educating, inspiring, or encouraging you online. Really think about it. I bet you didn’t think of a brand just now, but a person. Aren’t you glad that person decided to start sharing their magic with the world online? What you have to share may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely for someone. Don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your someone.
Let’s go back to that friend from high school who suddenly reappeared in your life to start peddling her wares. Would you have responded differently if there had been a genuine online relationship between the two of you? What if she had spent the last couple of years writing a blog about her health journey with helpful tips for wellness, perhaps she left an encouraging comment on your post about getting fit, checked in on how it was going a few weeks later, and asked you for any tips you learned along the way. I bet you would be a little more open to hearing what she had to say about the health product she began to sell.
My point is you need to build a platform before you ever try to promote anything. You build a platform by adding value to people. The best time to build a platform was 10 years ago. But, the second-best time to start building one is today!
Social media handles and domains for your personal name and your brand name are gold. I have handles for my personal name on social media platforms I never plan on using. Go get them all if you can so they are ready for when you decide to go live.
Don’t rush to go live with a website today, just take the next step in building your website. I see too many people either rushing through this process and going live with a mediocre website, or being so paralyzed by all they don’t know about the process that they never start building one. I highly recommend consulting with a business coach before creating a website. At the very least, take your time to do deep research (a 30 minute Google search does not count) to find answers to important questions, like:
What makes a website functional, not just beautiful?
What key elements should every website have?
How can I use my website to build an email list?
Today is the day to start building your platform. Step through the discomfort, bust the myths, build your tribe, and get to work on bringing your magic to the world around you.