Ray Chan on Building a Following

Ray Chan on Building a Following

“We don’t know anything about marketing. We don’t have anyone on our team who has a marketing background”

Ray Chan, the CEO and co-founder of online platform for humour 9GAG shared that their social media sites -- which boast impressive followings of 26 million on Facebook, 22 million on Instagram, and five million on Twitter -- are run by one person.

Juxtaposing his presentation to the events of the hit movie Titanic, Ray said that their method for attracting millions of users and followers is just like the film’s love story. Jack, the protagonist, represents the businesses; Cal, the antagonist, is the noise; and Rose, the leading lady, represents the customers.

“You [Jack/business] want to reach out to someone [Rose/a customer] who is unreachable. With plenty of competitors and campaigns [Cal/noise], your target audience is distracted. How do you catch their attention?” asked Ray.

Identify Your Target

At the start of the film, Jack goes to the ship’s hull and shouts, “I am the king of the world!”

This is somewhat similar to traditional marketing where you shout loud enough and hope people pay attention. “But I’m sorry to say, the ocean is too big. People don’t really hear what you say even if you spend tons of money,” Ray said.

His advice: Spend your time and money targeting the people who care about you and your product.

Create Value for Your Users

In order to create a following, make a product that people want/need. “Our mission in 9GAG is to give people the power to make the world happier. Everyone has different definitions of happiness, so we leave it up to our users to make and share their own content,” he said. Their content reaches more than a hundred million viewers per month and this is because they listen to their customers to learn what matters to them.

Build Customer Trust

After you have identified your target and created your product, it’s time to build customer trust. “Sometimes you have to give first. You can’t ask them to like your Facebook page or follow your Instagram without giving anything of value to them.”

His advice: Spend time and effort doing things for your customers. Work for their trust by providing exceptional value and service.

It’s also important to stand by your value even if crises or challenges arise. Ray said that if you do, your customers will love you more.

Deliver More than Expected

A lot of businesses forget to deliver after they have their customers’ trust and attention. “If you don’t deliver more than expected, people will lose interest and move on.”

His advice: Keep building the trust and keep delivering great products and services until you mean something to people on an emotional level. “When you do, it’s easier to ask them to do things for you, such as follow your pages, share your content, etc.”

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