How To Start A Cult (For Marketers & Social Media Influencers)
How To Start A Cult (For Marketers & Social Media Influencers)
Does your brand have a cult-like following?
Do you have loyal customers ready to purchase your next new product?
Are your social media accounts full of thousands of followers who all engage with your posts?
Imagine building a base of customers who rave about your business frequently.
Word of mouth alone would yield higher results than any marketing campaign.
The definition of a Cult is a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.
Building a cult or a loyal fan base for your business is hard and it is what every other business owner is also currently working on.
You have a lot of competition and on top of that, people nowadays don’t really want to be in a cult.
Go figure, right?
This article is about growing a business to a point where returning customers are your biggest marketing referral channel.
Finding your first member
It all starts with one.
One relationship at a time to slowly grow a following.
There might be some vanity metrics clouding your judgment by seeing other more established businesses.
“They have 10,000 followers, why don’t I?”
Truthfully, the only competition you have is with yourself.
No matter how many customers or followers you have right now, your goal should be an increased percentage of that number.
Was your mom your first and only customer? Great, now go sell it to another person and you just increased sales 100%!
Sounds silly right?
American Horror Story: Cult
In the show, American Horror Story Season 7 (Cult), I think they portrayed a fairly accurate start of a cult.
Kai, the main character and cult leader, starts out the season with no one except his sister.
Throughout the beginning episodes of the season, Kai finds and speaks to one person at a time.
He finds out what each person is struggling with and what they truly want.
Then he gives a promise that if that person sticks with Kai, they can persevere together.
Each person began thinking Kai was their best friend and they helped each other.
Eventually, Kai did this with 6 other people, and now he had a loyal following of just 6 people.
Those 6 people would do anything for Kai, which you could see in the show.
Kai by no means is a good person but he is great at only showing each person the side of himself that they want to see.
Getting one follower or customer at a time is key.
Kai ends the season with a large cult of members and he is the leader but it all started with just that first person.
Putting things in perspective
Focusing on gaining one follower or customer at a time will eventually lead to a bigger following or customer base.
How can you get a new follower or customer each day?
What is the best way for your business to find a new customer?
Once you have their attention, what are the specific benefits or features you would want to highlight in your product?
For influencers, it is more about what value or content are you providing that they can’t get anywhere else?
Each person is different and cares about different things.
You may sell just one product but there are several ways to sell the same product.
Once you find a new potential customer, it is key to find the root of what they are searching for.
Then you explain to them why your product or business is the solution.
Ways to find your first member
This entire website is for marketers, so hopefully, you already have a few ideas on how to find your first cult member.
But if you don’t, I have a few ideas to start you off.
The biggest thing I see businesses or brands doing wrong on social media is that they don’t have a personality.
They are scared to curse or post opinions, and that is a great way to get no engagement.
Show some personality, be funny, take a stance on a popular opinion (maybe not politics, unless that is what you are going for), and reply to hate comments with humor.
Here are some brands that do it right:
Twitter – Wendy’s
TikTok – Duolingo
Instagram – Slim Jim (yes, the meat stick)
People go to the internet, ironically, for genuine human connections. Make sure you portray this within your content.
Here is an article I wrote about growing your social media following organically.
Second, you could start networking in person.
I got my first few clients from in-person networking events and I am by no means a social butterfly.
But speaking to people individually and truly trying to find the solution they are looking for is very easy.
People love to complain if you ask them the right questions.
“Oh, you sell health insurance? How long have you been doing it? Do you still enjoy it?”
Typically you might get a response like “yeah I love it but April is typically a slow month for everyone so sales have been down but oh well”.
“Well hey I run advertising campaigns that generate leads, I wonder if we could try it out for your business during the months of March and April to make sure you aren’t slow for those months.”
Sometimes the people I met wouldn’t convert right away but eventually, they all came back and asked for more information about what I do.
Also, a tactic I have been wanting to try but haven’t yet because of the pandemic is to buy the coffee of the person behind you in line at a coffee shop, with the only stipulation that they take your business card.
I still have to think it over but they can throw the card away, they can blow their nose into it, I don’t care.
As long as they see my logo and maybe saw that I am a “marketer”.
I also think it is a good first impression to make, especially early in the morning before they have had their coffee.
It could make their day and now they associate you and your business card with a good feeling.
They might not be your target customer, but they might know someone who is, or they might not.
Either way, you would be growing your audience every day.
(Is that a stupid idea? Honestly? I would love to hear your opinions on it).
Third, just buy your customers
No, I am not talking about buying fake followers, I am talking about advertising.
Paid media and advertising are my bread and butter.
If you have read my other blogs, you would know that I am known for my highly successful advertising campaigns.
I live, eat, and sleep paid media all day every day.
But I freaking hate ads.
Get those ads off my For You Page or my feed. I don’t want to see them. They are annoying.
But the key to advertising is the messaging and targeting.
Imagine you are scrolling on TikTok while you are sitting on the toilet (let your imagination wander).
Then you are finishing up and you go to grab your toilet paper but oh no, you’re out of toilet paper.
And you live alone because you had a falling out with your roommate. What do you do?
Then you see your TikTok scrolled to the next video and it is an ad, FOR TOILET PAPER!
“Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting on the toilet, scrolling through TikTok when you realize you’re out of toilet paper? And you live alone because you had a falling out with your roommate? What do you do? You can order a brand new pack of toilet paper that gets delivered to you immediately by our convenient drone service. So you don’t have a delivery guy laughing at your embarrassing situation. Click the ‘order now’ button to get your TP!”
Wouldn’t that be convenient?
I hate ads, but if they are promoting a great product that I actually need and want, I don’t mind them.
The annoyance comes from 2 things:
- The ads aren’t anything I want
- No one likes to be sold to
So if you decide to advertise your products or brand yourself, I highly recommend targeting the right people (easier said than done) and promote a really great offer that those specific people actually want. Or else you might annoy your audience and the ads can be counterproductive.
Paid ads can definitely get you 1 new customer or follower per day.
If you want me to run your ad campaigns personally, you can reach out here.
The tricky part is how to get those new customers to keep coming back for more.
Keeping Them Coming Back
Alright, you made a sale, great job.
Now the biggest thing is seeing if that customer purchases from you again.
Imagine you get 1 new customer or follower per day and you keep that person coming back and buying more.
After a year you would have 365 customers.
Then 3 years later you have 730 customers, who follow you on social media and purchase your products regularly.
3 years might not sound so bad, or maybe you are reading this like “dude, only 730 followers after 3 years? That’s not that good”.
Maybe that isn’t a lot of followers, but it is a lot of loyal followers or loyal customers.
If you take a look at your competitor’s profiles, how many followers do they have and how long have they been around?
Typically the biggest brands have been around the longest.
There are also algorithms and word of mouth that help propel your brand to new heights.
730 people talking about you, recommending you to friends, and even just liking your social content can grow your business faster than ever.
It just takes 1 person at a time.
The compound effect will begin to work once you are growing a loyal following.
The quality of your product
Let’s face it if you get (or trick) someone into buying your product, and the product is just flat-out not good, they won’t buy from you again.
Even worse, they may tell their family and friends to not buy your product either.
It is very important to really double down on the research and development phase of creating your product, service, or brand to make sure it is good enough to buy again and again.
In a cult, the followers want to be led by someone they believe in.
If their cult leader started to do things that made their followers question them, they would start to lose followers.
Also, cult members get things out of the cult as well.
They get a support network, they get friends, they get guidance, and they get assurance.
If their cult stopped providing these things, they may start to think they should leave (or probably escape, you know, you’ve seen the movies).
Market research is really important for crafting a brand or product.
What are people saying about you in your reviews? What are they saying in your competitor’s reviews?
Compare and contrast what people like and don’t like about your products compared to competitor products.
Imagine selling a new energy drink called “Snake Oil”.
Ouch, already off to a bad start with that name.
But after speaking to a person whose biggest problem in life is that they are feeling unmotivated, depressed, and burnt-out, you might offer up “I sell this energy drink that might help”.
Despite the poorly selected name, you did a lot of research into energy drinks and you made a great one.
You give that person 1 free can of Snake Oil, and they absolutely loved it.
They come back the next day and ask to buy a few more.
Their coworkers notice the change in their attitude and ask about it.
That person rants about how he found this new energy drink and how great it is and he even tells more people “you gotta try it!”.
Now you have more people coming to you to buy your energy drink, just because you met one person, found out their pain points, and presented a solution.
Okay, easier said than done? Yes.
That will probably never happen? Also yes.
But imagine if your “Snake Oil” energy drink, sucked? Or even if it was just the same as all the other drinks.
You might make the initial sale but most likely that customer won’t come back and especially won’t rave about it to their peers.
How to make a better product
I want to be brief here so I don’t talk in circles.
But the biggest way to improve your product, service, brand, content, etc. is to really dive into criticism.
I used to write down all the negative things people would say about my industry and my competitors and write out a workaround for each.
Once I started getting clients, I would do the same thing for objections they would have during our sales calls.
Writing down objections for your products or services and defining proper responses for each, helps you improve your product.
Finally, once you have experience with clients, customers, or even posting content, you can then have a post-mortem for that project.
What went well and why? Then also, what went bad and why?
Over time and with more experience you will improve your offering and content.
That’s how you will keep your loyal followers coming back for more because you will be the best.
If you want to start a cult you need to start with one person at a time.
Understanding that each person is looking for something different and being able to identify that is crucial to the success of your cult.
Once you have the proper branding and products in place, you can then start recruiting members.
Setting a goal of 1 new loyal member per day can help your cult grow by 365 people per year.
If those members love your cult, they will naturally spread the word to their friends and family.
Eventually, the compound effect will start and your cult will grow easier and easier.
Just make sure you have a great ideology to follow (good products or services).
If you want to work with a full marketing and paid media team to grow your brand’s cult following for you, I highly recommend contacting Half Past Nine.
What do you want to read next? Let me know if you have topics that you would like to see covered.