Successfully building an audience is the goal for every business as they expand into a more interconnected world of conversing, networking, and marketing online via social media.
Your social strategy begins by having a vision of success for both your company and your followers. Keep in mind that it's important to build a follower base slowly with the right audience rather than quickly with an audience without potential. Your followers have the possibility to become leads so make sure the vision for your business online coincides with the expectations of your online audience.
The process of building your audience should be thought of as a long term goal which will take time, consistency, and powerful, innovative content. Research your competitors to see what they are doing and identify what you feel works or doesn't work and create your strategy based on the information you have collected. Learning to sort through the noise of what competitors are pushing online is a tough task, but by learning how to attract the right followers you will be positioning yourself to more effortlessly build the right audience.
To capture the art of persuading someone to follow your company or brand, you need to understand what motivates consumers. Paint a picture of your vision for your followers or readers and clearly demonstrate what they stand to gain - expert knowledge, inside news, special offers, or direct dialog and brand engagement.
The most important factor in building your audience is to find out where they are. What social platforms is your intended target audience socializing and communicating on most frequently? Where and how are they interacting? Social media has changed the way people communicate and for many, has become the preferred vehicle for communication. Find out where your niche audience is electing to be social, and your potential for successful engagement increases dramatically.
When building your audience, keep in mind that your potential followers could very well be online during hours that you are technically offline. Use a social media management platform, or managed, professional service, to target users during nights and weekends and build your audience by placing content in their hands at hours they are most likely engaging online. In social marketing and advertising, the consumer controls when they want to attain, share, and endorse information or products.
You may be late to the game on building your online audience, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't start now. Don't be overwhelmed by competitors who implemented a social strategy years ago. Find an area that is lacking from others and fill the gap...find a niche in the market that seems underserved and develop it with quality, expert advice. Consumers look to blogs, websites, and social media for one common reason: you have what they are looking for or at least something they are interested in learning more about. Gain an audience by providing what no one else currently does.
When users are inclined to follow or like your business online, they have chosen to trust in your brand and have voluntarily engaged with what you are offering. In addition to staying current with your products and business, many look for loyalty incentives to "like" your brand online. Create a community of expert followers and brand advocates by offering discounts, special offers, or upcoming news that only insiders will have access to.
If you plan on building an audience, you need to understand how to keep them. Once you have gained the attention of followers, it's crucial that you stay relevant to them. Stay consistent with your content and posting strategies to your social platforms - It's natural to want more of a good thing and when that good thing suddenly stops, we naturally look to find something similar to fill the void. If you don't consistently generate new and engaging content, users will look to another business that will.
Develop two-way communication. Sharing original content online thrives when there is active dialog between readers and publishers. Followers liking and sharing your content is a way of socially endorsing what you have written or shared. Grow your audience with others who trust your brand, and make sure to respond to feedback. By interacting with comments or opinions from readers, you are creating an open forum for communication where opinions are welcomed and engaging conversation is encouraged.
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