Business

Ep 13. How to Turn Your Audience Into Loyal Fans

Mompreneur article about nurturing your audience
I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

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You are listening to Episode Number 13 of the Purpose Gathering Podcast. I cannot wait to talk to you guys today about the number one thing that has propelled my business forward and that has given me the most incredible referrals and that is leading a business with authenticity. I want to share with you the three pillars you need to create a very authentic, real business that turns your customers and clients into raving fans. And then I want to break each of those things down and really give you some practical and tangible tips of how you can lead your own business authentically and show up as the best version of yourself for your audience.


Hey mama, welcome back to the show. So, if you are listening to this episode when it airs, you will have just celebrated Mother’s Day. So, I want to just let you know how much I appreciate you and I know that what you do is the hardest job in the world. And so, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, Happy Mother’s Day to you, and I hope that you felt so loved and appreciated.So in today’s episode, I really want to chat with you about how we can show up as the best version of ourselves for our clients, customers, potential clients, just random people who love what we do and just want to follow along for the ride. This is the number one thing in my business that I have seen makes such a huge impact. I think it’s the most important thing for you in your business too. So, I’m really excited to jump right in.


So, I want to give you a quick overview of what you can expect from this episode. So, the three pillars of leading with authenticity are showing your true colors, cultivating trust, and serving from the heart.


Showing Your True Colors
Okay, so let’s get started with pillar number one, show your true colors. Talk about yourself in your business. People no longer buy the best products. It’s just a thing of the past right. People buy from people they like, and so it’s so important that you infuse your personality, your voice, your interests, your quirks, all the things that make you uniquely you, share those.
And here’s why; not everybody that follows you. Not everybody that comes in contact with you is going to need your product or service right then and there. However, it’s likely that they either know somebody who could benefit from that something that you provide, or they might need your product or service in the future. And so, what you want to do is you want to give people connection points. You want to give people a way that they can still stay engaged with you, even though they might not necessarily need what you’re selling at that time.


So, I will use my photography business as an example. So, I primarily used to shoot weddings, and so of course not everybody that follows me is getting married right. And actually, the vast majority of the people that follow me are already married or they know somebody who is getting married. So, I want to make sure that when I am posting and creating content that I am not only talking about photography because that’s going to turn away those people who don’t need photography right now. But the second thing it does like keeps me front of mind when they do need someone. So, it’s likely that you are not the only person in your industry that does what you do. So, the only thing that truly sets yourself apart is you. So, it’s so important that you step out of your comfort zone and share personal stories, share those things that people are going to connect with and grasp on to.
While we’re on this note, I also think it’s so important to not only talk about yourself on your social media pages, but you also need to show your face. I don’t know about you guys, but when I go to someone’s Instagram page or their Facebook page, I want to see who that person is. Yes, their profile picture might be them, but I really want to know who is this person. Like I scroll their feed until I see pictures of them because I want to know would I be friends with this person in real life? Because let’s be honest, we hire people to work with us or for us, mostly we purchase with our feelings out of an emotional response. Like of course we want the people that we hire to be qualified, but we could actually choose from a number of different people, right?


Qualification isn’t what sets you apart. And so, I, when I’m looking to hire someone, I’m looking for a person that looks like someone I would hang out with. So, I want you to keep that in mind when you’re thinking about your brand and you’re thinking about the extension of your business. You are the biggest differentiator in your business, and so you need to put yourself out there. And I know it might feel scary at first, but it will change everything for you. It’s important to share beyond your business. People are tired of being sold to, so if they come to your page and all you do is sell, they likely won’t stick around for very long. They want to see that you’re providing something other than your business.


So, we talked about the personal connection points, but how are you going to show up for them and let them know that you care about their entire journey. Not just the journey where they stop and hire you. So, I’m going to use my photography business as another example. So, my ideal client is a recently engaged couple who is looking for a photographer right, that’s my ideal target avatar. But I don’t want to just provide value based on photography, I don’t want to talk myself up about how great I am and what a memorable experience that I can offer them. I want to provide value in another way. So, I know that typically couples go through a journey of wedding planning, and first it starts with the budget, right?

So why don’t I provide some value for them about wedding budgets and how to set one and give them practical tips and ideas of where they should invest the bulk of their wedding budget right. How can I talk about using Pinterest for wedding planning? What about hiring their DJ? The DJ, I think for a wedding is the most important part of the reception. Yet a lot of people spend the money on the food and skimp on the DJ. But the DJ is the one that brings the life of the party, so I’m going to interview my favorite DJs and put it into a blog post and share that with my ideal customers.


So, can you see how having touchpoints that are similar to my niche but are not necessarily about photography, can show up for my people. And they’ll say, wow, this girl’s amazing. She talks all about the journey of wedding planning and not just about her services and what she does. So, I want you guys to be thinking, what are some things that you can do in your own business. I want you to take a couple minutes if you’re able to pause this episode and just kind of think of five different things that you think that your audience would want to hear from you.

The next way that I think is so important for you to show up for your people is on Instagram stories. And of course, if your people don’t show up on Instagram, then you can totally just disregard this part. But I think for a lot of us, our people are on Instagram. So, I want you to think about using stories more often and I like to use stories in a way that is not super scripted. I think I get my best inspiration, like spur of the moment. That might not be the same for you, but I feel like when I plan out my Instagram stories, they don’t feel authentic to me. Like they feel forced and I just don’t like that.


So, I like to use Instagram stories for actually showing up when I feel led to talk about something, and that to me feels more like myself. So, stories are something that I think that people need to show up on every single day, even if it’s not your face. So even if you are just maybe sharing other people’s really valuable content to your audience, or maybe if you are pushing your content to your stories to make it more visible. And one side note here I want to mention is that you should be re-purposing your content several times a week.


I know that this has been a big struggle for me when I’m trying to think of Instagram content and I’m just like, Oh, I don’t know what to create. Well, I can pull from things I’ve already created and re-share it because I think we all get stuck in this fear of oversharing like, Oh, well, I just shared that last week, I don’t want to share it again. Everyone will think I’m just oversharing. In reality, either number one, they never saw it because of the algorithm is ever changing and people are busy, and they may have missed it the first time. Or they saw it and they really wanted to go look at it and they forgot, so now you’re reminding them. Or number three is they saw it and they’ve already read it and they’re like, cool, that’s awesome and they’ll skip right past it.


So, I’m giving you permission to re-purpose your content. Don’t be afraid to reuse it. People probably forgot we remember because it’s our content, but other people won’t. So, re-purpose that content, stay consistent with it, and be sure to just ask for engagement to get other people to respond to you. But I’m telling you that stories make you feel like a real person to somebody who’s never hired you. And I can’t tell you how many people I run into in person. Maybe they’re my friends, maybe they’re just random followers I’ve had it happen both ways. But they mentioned how much they love my stories. Now, these people never comment on my stories, they never DM, but they’re watching my stories. And so, I think it’s so important to remember that even though you might not think people are watching and listening, they are. So, show up for them and be intentional and consistent with your time.

And as a side note, in case you’ve never thought of it this way, I want to enlighten you. Instagram stories are for your current followers so that you can nurture them and keep yourself top of mind. Your Instagram feed is your first impression, and it’s the handshake when people decide whether or not they want to follow you. So, I do think it’s important to stay consistent with your feed using hashtags so that you can be found. So, your posts in your feed are more so to attract new people, yes, to nurture your current people. But honestly, people are not really looking through the feed anymore, they’re just on stories. So, if you are going to post really content rich engaging items on your feed, you have to push it to your stories if you want it to get seen by your audience. So hopefully that tip helps.


Okay I also wanted to mention Instagram lives versus Facebook Lives. So, Instagram lives are really cool because they get pushed to the front of the story feed. So, if you are live, people see your live right away. The thing about Instagram lives is that they’re really difficult to save and re-purpose, and so I’ve been using Ig TVs, which I love. The only thing with this is that I haven’t heard of a way to use the Instagram live or Instagram TV views as content for Facebook ads. So, I am kind of leaning towards doing more Facebook Lives because you can actually use the viewers from those lives to target with sponsored ads.


So, this is just a total sidebar, but it’s something that I’ve been learning, and I wanted to share it with you. So, if you want to eventually be targeting your ideal customers and your ideal clients through Facebook ads, using something like Facebook live really is helpful for you to be able to gain those warm audience leads. And the last tip that I want to share from this first pillar, show your true colors is networking. Networking is so important, and I want you guys to think about community over competition. I think for so many years in my photography business, I was so concerned that people didn’t want to share, and so I guess I just stopped engaging with people.


Like I had a few bad experiences where people like didn’t want to share and they kind of jaded me, and I spent so many years just looking at my fellow photographers as being competition, and it really held me back. It made me feel even more lonely than I already was, but it also just really took away a lot of opportunities that I could have had, had I been embracing this community over competition mantra. So, I want to remind you guys, there’s enough business for all of us. When I started venturing out and meeting new photographers, it really was amazing to be able to give each other referrals. It was also so helpful for me to be able to ask questions and bounce ideas off of them. And so, it was so important to me to have that community and I’m so grateful to the Rising Tide Society and also the Phoenix User Group pug meetings that Melissa Jill used to host. They were absolutely phenomenal; I think those are the two places where I really started to step out of my comfort zone.


I also want you guys to think about networking with like-minded people who have a similar target audience as you, but maybe serve them in a different capacity. So, for me, I started really venturing out to find other vendors, other wedding vendors that I could create a relationship with. Venues were huge for me because I come pretty high up on the order of who you hire for your wedding. So, I would go to the venues because typically a bride and groom would book their venue and then their photographer, so I wanted to network with them. And never be afraid to share the love on Instagram. A few of the hashtags that I like to use is hashtag Shout out Saturday hashtag Share Sunday and hashtag Follow Friday, and these are really awesome. Ways for you to showcase other people that you love.

And think about to who your audience is and what they are looking for, what would they be interested in. And so, share things that are relevant to what they might be looking for or what problems that you could help them solve through another person’s business. I also shared this tip in episode number 10 which was how to grow a real and engaged Instagram following, but I wanted to mention it again. So, when you are doing a Follow Friday or a Share Sunday, and you’re going to be sharing that post on Instagram, be a hundred percent sure that you tag them in it. Because they will not see it if you share it without the tag, and this might get them to reshare it on their stories, which is great for exposure and building your following that way. So definitely check out that episode if you haven’t listened to it, I know you’re going to love it.

Cultivating Trust
Okay, moving on to pillar number two to leading an authentic business is to cultivate trust with your following. All right, so I want you guys to position yourself as the expert. When people think of your service, I want them to think of you. So, I like to use an example of a real estate agent. So, for example, if you are getting ready to sell your house and you have two friends that are real estate agents, you probably have more than that. But I want you to think about who you would hire. Would you hire the person who posts once a month? And you know, shares their progress pictures of, you know, Oh, I just sold another house intermittently every other month. Or would you hire the person that shows up daily, who’s constantly talking about tips and tricks and new neighborhoods and like all the statistics and what the interest rates are, and pointing you to their website of how they can find the newest houses on the market. I mean, clearly you would hire the person who shows up more, right? Because you’re getting the illusion that this person has more success. Whether or not they do, it doesn’t even matter, right. What matters is the person that you think of the most is the person that you see the most.

So, I want you to think about that example when you are on Instagram posting. Like, do you want to show up and be top of mind or do you want to just pop in once in a while and let people know that, Hey, I’m still in business? So, when you guys are thinking about the idea of social media, I really want you guys to be using this as a tool to show people that you’re an expert in your field. I want you to show people that you’re consistent and that you care about them. I want you to think about it as a resource to attract new potential leads. I also want you to use social media as fun. I think a lot of people get really hung up in the fact that they feel stuck in a routine like I have to do social media. But do social media the way it feels comfortable to you but choose an avenue of how you’re going to keep it consistent. And if you have trouble with what to post, start asking people what they want to hear from you.

Look at other people’s profiles that are in different industries than you and try to get a little bit of inspiration from them. So, don’t look at your same industry because you might feel defeated and like this sense of competition. But go to other industries and say, what are they teaching and sharing with their audience and how can you draw some ideas from what they’re doing.
Another way that you can cultivate trust with your potential clients is to share reviews. So, I like to do something called a Testimonial Tuesday, which shows people my recent reviews. It gives me social proof and it lets other people know that I’m legit. And what I think is even a step further than a written review is a video review. So, if you can get people to do video reviews for you, if you are a service-based industry, even if you have a product that people love. If a video review just is so much more credible than words.

This next tip is one of my favorites, leverage your fans. Our fans are going to be free marketing for us, right? Free or inexpensive, I guess I should say, because everyone should have a referral program. Anybody who refers someone to you that books you should get a gift. I don’t even care if it’s like five or $10, they need a thank you. Because don’t you love when people send you referrals? I mean, that is the absolute best compliment that I could ever ask for. So, I definitely recommend having a referral program. I have one for my photo booth company and my photography company. So, anybody that refers a client to me will receive a gift card in the amount of 3 to 5% of whatever the total package price was.

So, this next tip right here, I think is so valuable and important that I’m probably going to do a whole podcast episode all about it. But it’s about the client experience. Because of course, if your client experience is awful, no one is going to refer their friends, right? So, you want to make sure that this is so special that your clients feel so taken care of even your customers, right. Client experience is just how the client feels from meeting you, purchasing from you and receiving whatever you said you were going to give them, right.


That’s the journey that a client or a customer goes through and you want to make sure that experience is absolutely wonderful. I just did some mini sessions the other day and I think there were 22 people total that came through. So, I had four different family sessions and I brought a cooler with some water and some snacks. And I can’t even tell you how shocked they were that I brought those things for them. Like they felt so loved and taken care of, and it was a very small, inexpensive gesture on my part. But they are going to tell their friends and family, this photographer takes care of you; definitely hire her right. Because that is what we all want. We want to feel like we’re being well taken care of.


Okay and my last tip here on the pillar of cultivate trust is to under promise and over deliver. So, setting expectations with your clients is huge; your clients should always know the next step before they wonder what it is. You want to make sure that you take the first step and that all of your client communication is sent to them before they even think of having the question. So, setting expectations is huge for cultivating trust. And then also following through on your word. If you say that you’re going to get something to a client by a certain date, stick to that date. And if you aren’t sure if you can make it happen, then don’t give them a set date.
This is something that I think is really important in my photography business as well. If I give my clients a hard date, like I will have your photos to you by Sunday, that means that I need to have it to them by Saturday. So typically, what I do is I will always tell my clients more time than I think I need, because I would rather send their gallery early than late. I want to under promise and over deliver.


Serve from The Heart
All right, so we’re on to pillar number three, how to lead with authenticity is to serve from the heart. If you’re not passionate about what you do and what you sell, then it’s not going to matter. Because people are going to pick up on that and they’re not going to buy from you, if you don’t even feel passionate about your service. I want you to pull your followers, ask them what they want to learn, what are they struggling with? How can you serve them in a unique way, provide crazy amounts of value for them? Well, I talked about this on another podcast episode, but you have to show up consistently for your people. And that doesn’t mean you have to post every single day, but I do think it’s important to have some type of content every single week. A blog post, a podcast episode, a Facebook Live, some way that you show up for your people every week and they can look forward to your content.


So, I know that I’ve been talking a lot about social media as an avenue of leading your business with authenticity and I don’t just mean on social media. Obviously, I mean in every aspect of your business, how you show up for your people is showing your true colors right. Making sure that everything that you say and talk about isn’t in alignment with who you are as a person. Cultivating trust with the following that you have and serving from the heart. These are obviously going to manifest in all kinds of different ways, not just on social media. But I want you guys to be thinking about taking your content, re-purposing it on social media, but it’s not going to live there, like we talked about in some of my previous episodes.
The biggest thing that I have learned right now that I want to share with you guys is about your email list. And if you hear that and that kind of freaks you out and you’re like, oh my gosh, I know, I’ve heard I need an email list, what does that even mean? I want to save you guys years and years of heartache. I am just now after 10 years in business, understanding how important it is to have an email list. And yes, that’s embarrassing to admit, but you know what I do not want you to fall prey to this huge piece that I missed. Because I thought it was for people who were bigger, you know, like, Oh, well, when I have a more successful business, then I’ll have time for an email list.


No, everyone needs an email list. So, I’m going to challenge you every time you get on Instagram and you’re thinking about oh how can I grow my following? How can I grow my following? I want you to think about how can I use Instagram to grow my email list. My goal over the next several months is to grow my email list by five people a day. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but you know what, right now it’s zero a day. So, I’m going to work on growing my email list to five people every single day, adding that to my list, I want you guys to do the same.


Instagram and Facebook own your list. I want you to get them off of that platform as fast as you can and into your email list, and you can do something as easy as MailChimp. MailChimp is free, there are other amazing options. That’s just the one that I used when I first started. You’re going to want to do an opt in to get people onto your email list. This is going to be a whole other episode, but I really just want you guys to get that into your head right now of getting an email list and starting to learn how to nurture your email list more so than you nurture your social media. I think a lot of us are really hung up on social media and we let our email list just completely either never get started or we just neglect it.


And the last and final thing that I want to leave you with today is to be consistent. That’s the only way that you’re going to stay top of mind with your audience. You just have to consistently show up, even if you don’t feel like it. I know sometimes that’s hard but think of your audience. Think of your people who are waiting to hear from you every week because they need what you have to share.


So, I hope that you guys have found value in today’s episode. If so, I would love for you to take a screenshot of it, share it over on Instagram, and tag me at The Purpose Gathering. And I really want to hear from you, which one of these pillars do you feel like you want to focus on the most right now. Is it showing your true colors, cultivating trust, or serving from the heart? I know for me right now; I really want to serve you guys well and I can’t wait till next time. As always, mama, I’m here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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