We can all agree on one thing surrounding short-form videos like TikToks and Instagram Reels—that escalated quickly.
In 2021, Instagram announced they were no longer a photo-sharing app. They were a video platform. The announcement came from the thriving success of their biggest competitor, TikTok. TikTok brought short-form video into the mainstream with its 29.7 million daily active users.
But, growing your audience on Instagram and TikTok is just step one of the creator journey.
The second step is owning your audience so that no matter how the content trends change (which they will!), you always have access to your biggest fans and folks most likely to engage with your brand.
Why creators shouldn’t house their audience on a social platform
Housing your audience on a social media platform is like renting an apartment. You get to live in the space and decorate it however you’d like. You can rent the spot for years and have it truly feel like home.
But, if the owners decide they no longer want to rent it out—you have to move. The hours you spent making it a home won’t matter. You’ll have to leave all the great memories behind. The owners have the final say. And that’s exactly how social media works.
You spend hours every week growing your audience to build your creator business. You get to know your fans through back-and-forth comments on your posts or conversations in your direct messages. You recognize your superfans by their profile names.
But if the social media platforms decide to prioritize paid ads over your organic posts or switch the type of content they’re pushing to the explore pages—your hard work can vanish. Your audience won’t realize they’re no longer seeing your content as often as they used to (even though you’re still posting!). And you’ll feel like you’re posting into an empty void as the follower growth and comments from fans subside.
You never want to give social media platforms all of the power behind your business. Creators need to house their audiences in an email list to ensure that no matter what happens on the social platforms, they get direct access to their fans (the people who make their business go ‘round!).
Through an email list, you can send newsletters, updates, and promotions for products. Email lists ensure longevity in your creator business.
Turning your followers into email subscribers is simply a matter of posting four types of content.
4 types of short-form videos that will grow your email list
You don’t need an MBA to turn followers into email subscribers. If you’re growing on social media, you already understand what your audience wants to see. You’re cultivating a relationship with your audience. You’ve done the hard part!
Now, it’s time to make sure you can continue that relationship with your audience by adding them to a platform *you* control.
Use these four types of short-form videos to grow your email list so no matter what social media changes come your way—you know you’ll always have access to the audience you worked so hard to connect with.
#1: Make videos promoting your newsletter
Creators use newsletters to nurture their audience. With a newsletter, you can create a weekly (or daily, biweekly, monthly, etc.) touchpoint with your subscribers. This touchpoint can tell them what you’re up to, promote your social content, or share info’ about your latest product releases.
The reason creators promote their newsletter on social media is because they’re the perfect opt-in for people who are just getting to know your brand. Think of the social media followers who watched 10 of your Instagram Reels. They followed you and want to know more about who you are, what you’re doing, and if you have any resources for them. They don’t know you well enough to buy your merchandise (yet). But they want to get to know you better.
Colin and Samir use TikTok to promote their newsletter for creators, The Publish Press. They make short-form videos promoting creator-related topics they recently covered in their newsletter and write captions telling their audience to subscribe. These videos, like this one about Mr. Beast’s Squid game remake, show their TikTok audience exactly what to expect inside their newsletter.
@colinandsamir go ahead, you’re gonna want to sub to our newsletter… #creatoreconomy #learnontiktok #mrbeast ♬ original sound – Colin and Samir
You want to create a frictionless subscription process as you promote your newsletter on social media. Don’t tell your TikTok audience to click the link in your bio, find your website link, and then scroll around your site to find the newsletter subscription form. That’s too complicated. You want to send your audience to a landing page for your newsletter that only promotes your newsletter.
Creators use ConvertKit landing pages to make it easy for their social media audience to subscribe to their newsletter. These landing pages are straight to the point. They tell your audience what they’ll get by subscribing, when to expect your newsletter in their inboxes, and exactly what information you need from them to get them signed up.
Newsletters are just one way to leverage TikTok and Instagram to grow your email list. You can also use lead magnets.
#2: Find trends to directly promote your lead magnets
Lead magnets are free content and resources you give people access to when they subscribe to your email list. For example, creators can make lead magnets teaching their audience the basics of how to start playing piano, 10 questions to journal on at the start of every year, or give their 5 best tips for people interested in podcasting. A great lead magnet helps your audience answer a question or solve a problem they have related to your content.
Like newsletters, lead magnets are ideal for the members of your audience who are still getting to know you. You can show them just how well you know your stuff with lead magnets.
Based on the topic of your lead magnet, you can use email funnels to sell those subscribers specific products (like your Piano 101 Course, Life Coaching Program, or How to Get Your First 1,000 Podcast Subscribers Training).
Trends are a big part of short-form videos right now. Trends involve a certain sound (like dialogue from a YouTube video) or music that creators place on top of videos of themselves. Then, they’ll lip-sync to the sound or music and use video captions to directly promote their lead magnets, as Rachel Pedersen did in this TikTok. She’s using this trending sound to explain to her audience why she’s willing to give away so many free resources—and telling her audience exactly where they can find them.
@themrspedersen Free content prompts, trainings, communities, quiz, cheat sheets, checklists and more (Bink in my lio) #mybizcoachsays #freelancebusiness #ceochicks #instagramforbosses #ownbosslife #bossshit #startingbusiness #smallbusinessstrategy #bizowners #bizcoaching #futureceo #businessmoves #smallbizness ♬ não vai não – ༺nanno༻
Each time you promote a lead magnet, you want to tag your new subscribers as they are opting in to receive it. As you tag subscribers, they’ll be added to specific segments in your email list. You can have email segments like:
- LM: 10 Journaling Questions for the New Year
- LM: How to be More Confident
- LM: The Ideal Morning Routine
Now, you can send each of these segments specific content and products best suited for their interests and needs. Here’s what that looks like inside ConvertKit Automations:
There are two ways to promote lead magnets. We covered the first here (directly), and you can also promote your lead magnets indirectly.
#3: Create relatable content promoting your free resources
As discussed above, free resources are a great way to show your audience your expertise while collecting their email addresses to house in your email list. The free resources your audience cares about are the ones that help them. For example, if your content teaches your audience how to start a blog, your free resources can teach the ins and outs of the first few steps to launching a blog-based website.
The goal of lead magnets and free resources is to show your audience an in-depth look at your experience and process. Show your expertise. When it comes time to promote your products (either through their launch or an email funnel), your audience will be familiar with your content and know you’re the person they want this information from.
To indirectly promote your free resources, create relatable content that leads to clicking the link in your bio to opt-in. Unlike directly promoting your free resources in your short-form videos, as we explained above, these videos show your audience how well you understand their experience—then lead them to your solution. For example, Natalie Ellis uses relatable content about the struggle of posting to social media every day in her Instagram Reel. Unlike Rachel Pedersen’s video above directly promoting her lead magnets in the video itself, Natalie doesn’t mention her lead magnet in the video and only promotes it in her caption.
View this post on Instagram
Since Natalie’s lead magnet is specific to people having trouble posting regularly to social media, she can tag each of these subscribers as they opt into her free resource. Then, she can put each of these subscribers down a specific email funnel for people who struggle with consistency that leads to a product designed just for them.
#4: Talk about how much people love your products!
Once somebody buys your products, they become an email subscriber. This is the best-case scenario because you get a customer and get to house this fan somewhere you own. So how do you get someone to buy directly from your social media profile?
When you buy a product or service, you want to know that it works. That’s why you read reviews, watch testimonial videos, and look for proof that you’ll get what you’re paying for. Your creator products work the same way. You want your audience to feel confident hitting “buy” from you because they feel like they can trust you to give them the result they’re looking for.
As a creator, it’s up to you to share your customer’s wins with your audience. If you don’t talk about your products and how well they’re working for others, your audience won’t know. You’ve worked hard to make high-quality products or deliver amazing services, so make sure your audience (that you’ve worked just as hard to grow!) gets to see what happens when they buy or work with you.
Creating social media content that only promotes your products isn’t a bad thing. It’s a necessary part of having a creator business. As long as your entire feed isn’t filled with promotions, your audience won’t mind. In fact, they want this! They want to know your products are working (and you’re the expert you claim to be!). Rachel Bell created this Instagram Reel to highlight how she helps coaches make $10,000/month.
View this post on Instagram
The healthiest relationship between your non-promotional content and promotional content follows the 80/20 rule.
- 80% of your content should be non-promotional.
- 20% of your content should directly promote your products.
Remember, you’re allowed to promote your products on your social media feeds. If you don’t, you can’t turn your audience into customers (and subscribers!). So as long as you follow the 80/20 rule, you can still grow a happy audience while building your creator business.
Start growing your email list
The days of thinking short-form videos are just a fad are gone. So don’t wait to hit record because you think another content trend is around the corner. The truth is that there *is* another trend around the corner, but that trend doesn’t matter today.
The creators who build their dream businesses (on a solid foundation of an email list) are the ones who take action on what’s working now. These are the creators you see posting hilarious, thought-provoking, and relatable content that’s cultivating a relationship with their audience.
And you get to be one of them!
ConvertKit's creator marketing platform gives you the tools you need to building your relationship with your followers through email, promote your work with landing pages, and even earn a living online with ConvertKit Commerce. But the first step is to start with an email list.
Make sure to build out your email list as you’re growing your online audience, so you can feel confident in the longevity of your creator career.