My son’s class went on a field trip last week. I decided to drive ahead of the buses to get to the destination a little early. (if you’ve ever followed a school bus down the interstate, you’ll understand why).
What can I say, I like to go fast. And, I hate following slow-moving vehicles.
Enough about that…
The place we were going to was an outdoor park, complete with a carousel, gem mining outpost, and miniature train.
I went inside the gates to purchase my tickets. As I was standing near the counter, trying to shove $2.37 into a small pocket on my bookbag, I overhead a parent say:
“I’m with _____ school.” The same school my son attends.
I looked up, ya know, just in case I knew the person. I did not.
But, I did see this parent a few minutes later on the playground outside the park gates. She was standing with a large group of adults over by the fence.
A few more minutes went by, and I noticed this large group of parents walking inside the park gates. Now, at this point, I had been waiting for my son’s bus to arrive for about 30 minutes.
Thinking they knew something I didn’t, I proceeded to follow them.
Our group procession marched through the gates, past the picnic tables, and stopped (rather abruptly) in front of the carousel.
My son’s class was nowhere in sight.
The buses hadn’t arrived.
This group had literally just moved from one location to another. For no good reason.
I felt like a complete idiot. I followed a group of strangers all because I thought they might know something more than I did.
Growing up, my mom would always ask me, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” This wasn’t a bridge, but it’s the same concept. Sorry, Mom.
Re-gaining my sense of independence, I walked back to the playground to wait for my son to arrive. He showed up 10 minutes later, and we were off to enjoy a day of fun at the park.
But, ya know, this experience got me thinking.
Following that group of strangers for no good reason is something that many business owners do when they’re faced with a new task.
It’s much easier to follow the advice of someone else than it is to figure things out on your own.
Only it isn’t easier. Not in the long run.
What happens when you follow the crowd?
You wind up disappointed, frustrated, and confused.
You do all the things you’ve been told to do or what you see other successful business owners doing. But, these things just don’t work for you.
You’re not seeing the success they are.
You can’t keep up with all the demands of:
-posting to social media 5 times a day
-creating a website
-designing awesome freebies full of value packed advice
-making phone calls
The list goes on and on.
No matter who it is you’re following, you just can’t seem to find the same success they have.
Why is that?
It’s because that’s their business. What they’re sharing with you is what works for THEM…that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
That’s the funny thing about advice.
It’s just someone else’s opinion. Sometimes that opinion is based on fact. But, those facts aren’t the same for everyone.
Now, I’m not saying to stop getting advice from other successful business owners.
Not at all.
What I’m saying is to take that advice with a grain of salt. Look at the overall picture they are showing you and find your own way of painting it.
If someone tells you that posting 2 times a day, 7 days a week on social media works, try it for a while. If you see that you only get engagement on certain days, scale it back.
You could actually see more engagement when you start posting less.
If you post to all the social media platforms, but only see real engagement on Facebook…forget the other platforms and focus your time and energy on Facebook.
If people in your industry say your writing needs to have a formal tone, but your audience prefers a casual tone (and if we’re being honest, so do you)…write in a casual tone.
So, how can you figure out what works for your business?
Don’t be afraid to test new things and see what works. If it feels good to you, and your audience reacts *positively* to it, keep doing that thing.
You can test your email marketing by looking at your open rates and click-thru rates. If you notice a decrease in either of these, it’s time to make a change.
That change could be:
-sending emails less frequently or more frequently.
-providing more value.
-selling less or selling more (but, only if you don’t sell that much to begin with).
-creating a welcome sequence to warm up new subscribers to your list.
You can do the same thing for your social media and content marketing. If you get less engagement from your posts or articles, try this:
-ask questions at the end of your posts to inspire conversations.
-use a conversational tone in your writing.
-post something that tells your audience a little more about who you are.
-ask your audience what they want to hear…and write about that.
So, you see, there are plenty of ways to find what works for your business.
You don’t have to follow the crowd to be successful. You can take the advice of others and use that as a starting point to find what works for you.
Now, it’s your turn.
Have you ever followed the advice of someone else only to find it was entirely wrong for your business? If so, how did you make a change, and what made you realize it was time to change?