6 Ways to Grow Your Online Business in 2021

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Social media has become a valuable and important asset to business owners and entrepreneurs. Platforms like Instagram has allowed us to connect with our community by establishing ourselves as a resource. But the way in which we use social media for our online businesses has constantly evolved over the years. Particularly, 2020 and 2021 will see huge shifts in the types of content we curate, the focus of our content, and topics we’re not exempt from. In this episode of Her Life, By Design, I share 6 ways to grow your online business in 2021 and beyond.

Christina brand shoot 01 | 6 Ways to Grow Your Online Business in 2021

6 Ways to Grow Your Online Business in 2021

How we use and interact with social media is a direct reflection of what’s happening in the world. As people grow more conscious about the world around them, they’re demanding a more real, raw, and honest experience on social media. The first actionable step to growing your online business in 2021 is…

Let Go of the Perfectly Curated Experience

Once upon a time, having a curated feed on Instagram was in demand and all the rage. We worked so hard to curate a cohesive feed, matching warm and cool tones through overly edited photos. As artistic and painstaking as the process was, it created an environment on Instagram where reality was irrelevant. Instagram became the representation of us at our very best. If it wasn’t pretty enough for the gram, it wasn’t worth sharing. 

It’s time to let go of perfection because the era of curation is over. The events of 2020 forced us into a life in lockdown. Suddenly, we were all finding relatable, unglamorous moments through short-form videos on TikTok. We got through and found comfort in watching one another spend our days in sweat pants working from home.

We no longer crave content that is unrelatable and unrealistic. Instead, we want something we resonate with — something that shows us we’re not alone. 

This is great news for us as business owners. Because of this shift, the barrier of entry is lowered significantly. You don’t need the newest camera in order to grow a following on Instagram. Similarly, you don’t have to spend hours learning the ins-and-outs of Lightroom and Photoshop in order to attract people to your page. So swap out your focus on the perfect shot and aim for providing value and nurturing connections instead.

Instagram reels example | 6 Ways to Grow Your Online Business in 2021

Snackable, Bite-Sized, Short-form Videos

It’s time to start mastering the art of short-form videos if you want to see exponential growth in 2021. And the sooner you hop on the TikTok and Instagram Reels train, the better. If you’re hoping that the short-form video trend will hopefully disappear soon, I’m afraid to tell you that it simply won’t. This prediction is backed up by Instagram’s release of Reels. Clearly, the ever-growing popularity of TikTok served as a threat to Instagram, forcing them to create a feature and space dedicated entirely to short-form videos.

The process of creating short-form videos is very different from mastering static photography. But to help you get started, here are 3 types of videos you should be creating for both TikTok and Reels:

  • Educational videos – teach your audience something. This could be a quick tutorial or fun facts related to your niche.
  • Inspirational videos – give your audience inspiration to chase the dreams they desire. If you’re a travel blogger, this could be a video about how you quit your 9-5 to travel the world.
  • Current trends – playoff an existing trend on TikTok! Since TikTok has a very specific culture, you’ll find several video trends applied to several niches. For instance, Caitlin from @her.atlas started the “Random Things in my Japanese Home that Just Makes Sense” trend. Soon, everyone started creating their own spin on it, which eventually led to Netflix’s Stranger Things creating a similar video titled “Things in the Upside Down that Just Make Sense” (featuring Caitlin as a voiceover). 

In this episode, I dive a little deeper into how you can apply these 3 short-form video ideas to your niche. I also share my personal short-form video planning process from gathering inspiration, to batching. But no matter what, always come from a place of value and authenticity.

Shareable value driven content example

Less “Me” Centered Content and More Value

A lot of people come to me asking why they’re seeing a dip in engagement, story views, and overall interest in their content. My answer? It’s very likely that you’re posting too much “me me me” content, and not enough value. It’s important to understand that human beings are generally selfish creatures. The natural question we ask before making a commitment, be it in our time or money is: what’s in it for me? 

When it comes to a lack of interest in your content, your audience might not be tuning in because they’re not seeing what they have to gain.

So shift your mindset when it comes to creating content. Think about how you can relate everything back to your audience. Provide your audience with value, whether that’s through entertainment, inspiration, or education, and always keep their wants and needs in mind. And if you aren’t sure, throw up a poll, quiz, or question box on your Instagram stories and survey your audience.

Christina brand shoot 02

Own an Evergreen Platform

Owning an evergreen platform like a blog, email list, or podcast is so important. Remember when TikTok came under threat of a nationwide ban? Although it’s unlikely, the same could happen on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media platform. The truth of the matter is we do not own our social media following. Plus, our content distribution will always rely on how well we play our cards against the algorithm. Unlike an email list, where you have the power to distribute your content directly to your subscribers, leaving the choice to consume your content in your audience’s hands.

Additionally, your content will be discoverable for years to come on an evergreen platform. Unlike on Instagram where the shelf life of your content is limited to 72-hours or less. For example, a blog post that is SEO optimized will be searchable for years to come. Having the option of long-term discoverability means your ROI is naturally higher. And when it comes to working with brands, influencers and content creators can charge more if you’re offering a deliverable on an evergreen platform.

Create a Scalable Revenue Stream

Although securing more project-based clients and brand collaborations might help you increase your income, it isn’t a scalable revenue stream. What I mean by that is there’s a limit and cap as to how much you can make when you are selling your precious time. Sure, you can start charging more per hour, but the number of hours in a day are finite. 

If you want to grow your online business and increase your revenue in 2021, you need to create a scalable revenue stream. This means creating a digital product — such as an e-book, online course, templates, or presets. 

In this episode, I explain how you can create digital products related to your niche. I also give you an example of how you can find out which product you should create for your audience.

Example post from Shannan Monson
Credit: @shannanmonson

Take a Stance

Last but definitely not least, it’s time for business owners to take a stance regarding social issues. You might hear differently from a small group of people. However, it’s more important than ever to be transparent. From the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, to the storming of the Capitol in 2021 that revealed a large discrepancy between the way POC protestors and white terrorists are treated. It has never been more important for influencers to take a stance on social issues.

And more importantly, influencers and business owners need to do the work in order to become better allies. You might feel uncomfortable and might not have the words to articulate your frustrations. But it’s better to speak out and feel uncomfortable rather than stay silent and let injustice continue. If you really do not what to say, amplify the voices of people who do have the words to articulate what’s happening in a thoughtful way by sharing their content (with credit of course).

No matter, to continue with your regularly scheduled content in the wake of such seismic injustice shows a lack of concern and care. Furthermore, remaining silent speaks volumes when it comes to human rights issues and things that truly matter.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can take action and create a more inclusive space, check out this blog post I wrote about how influencers can make the industry more anti-racist.

Take Your Business to the Next Level in 2021

The way in which we conduct business online is changing. These 6 tips will help you grow your online business with confidence and guidance. They’ll help you stay focused on what’s important while removing fluff and irrelevance. The truth is, growing your online business means riding the winds of change. It means always acting and coming from a place of value and information. This episode is packed with information and actionable steps you can start implementing immediately. So start taking your business to the next level and tune into this episode.


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