The Nitty-Gritty:

  • Why social media marketing agency founder Andréa Jones doesn’t try to game the social media algorithms to build her audience and, instead, spends a lot more time behind the scenes
  • How she finds people to connect with, how she starts the conversation, and how she follows up
  • The process and tool she uses to track her time spent on her behind-the-scenes audience-building
  • Why creating social media content is still an important part of how she’s building her audience

Back in 2010, I was spending a lot of time on Twitter.

And, I can remember realizing one day, while working from my dining room table back before I had an office to call my own, that a lot had to be happening behind the scenes.

In other words, there was everything I could see happening on Twitter, in emails, on websites, and in teleseminars. And then there were all of the conversations that had to have happened to make that possible.

I could see people promoting each other’s programs and services. I could see joint ventures. I could see genuine friendships and deep collaborations.

I could see these same people start to rise to the top, see their audiences explode, their authority grow exponentially.

And I knew—for certain—that it wasn’t just happening, it was being nurtured and engineered behind the scenes.

All of a sudden, I felt like I was on the outside looking in.

Except, I didn’t feel like an outsider. I just felt like I needed to find the door.

My hypothesis was that much of this relationship-building that turned into serious audience-building was happening in-person at events and coffee dates.

I didn’t have access to that.

But I did have Twitter and it felt like the next best thing.

So I started to put together a list of the movers and shakers that I wanted to form relationships with.

I made that list the main Twitter feed that I saw. I spent a good hour or two every day (okay, probably more than that) pouring over that feed and interacting with what people tweeted. It was strategic and genuine at the same time.

The results came fast and furious.

In no time, I had all sorts of new friends and opportunities.

And, even though I was forming these relationships one at a time, I started to see my audience grow exponentially from the shares and comments I was receiving from the people who I was interacting with. I was getting interviewed, hosting panel discussions, and being invited to events.

Those individual relationships led to massive growth.

Over time, I started to rely on these relationships and stopped putting such an emphasis on meeting new people. In fact, meeting new colleagues and influencers became a pretty low priority.

That was a mistake.

When I realized that my audience-building had stalled out last year, I started thinking about what I could do to jumpstart growth again.

So I asked myself: what’s worked in the past?

The answer was easy, networking behind the scenes, connecting with people one at a time, trusting that real relationship-building leads to real audience-building.

And yep, I can say the results have been typical in the best possible way.

Here’s what I know:

While it appears on the surface that every influencer, thought leader, and market frontrunner has gamed the algorithms and become internet famous through their content and social media strategy…

…it’s actually all happened behind the scenes.

It’s their relationships that have gotten them ahead.

It’s the subtle and not-so-subtle boosts from others that have helped them quickly grow audiences.

The good news here is that you don’t need to buy anyone’s magic formula for outsmarting Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or email inboxes.

The even better news is that possibly the best thing you can do for your audience-building is to send a couple of direct messages per day and take a genuine interest in getting to know people one-on-one.

How do you do that?

That’s what today’s candid conversation is all about.

Andréa Jones has worked with hundreds of small businesses, startups, and podcasters since 2014 by helping them create social media strategies that save them time and amplify their message. She’s also the host of the Savvy Social Podcast, a weekly show for budding entrepreneurs and she’s the founder of Social Media for Podcasts, a social media agency for podcasters by podcasters.

But I didn’t ask Andrea on the show to talk about crushing it on social media.

Instead, Andrea and I talk about how she uses social media behind the scenes to develop relationships with people who can help her get in front of the right people. She explains step-by-step exactly what she does to find people to connect with, start a conversation, and follow up—plus, how she manages it all in Asana.

Now, let’s find out what works for Andrea Jones!

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