Now that we’ve gone over the basics of social media marketing, the benefits for companies, and the brand strategies necessary for a successful campaign, it’s time to take a look at the real stars of your social media marketing campaign: your audience.
HOW DO YOU THINK OF YOUR AUDIENCE?
Hopefully, you think of them in a generally positive way, otherwise you wouldn’t own or work for a business that’s targeting them. But be honest with yourself — are they an expense or an asset?
Many business owners tend to think of their website and their overall online presence as a sunk cost — something they need to do because their competition has a website, is active on social media or participates in other online marketing practices. However, your online audience is actually one of the most important assets that you have as a brand. For the purpose of this article, “audience” is defined as anyone who is interested in what your company has to offer, but particularly those who have already opted-in to learning more about your products or services by signing up for your
email list, following you on social media, and even doing basic web searches for your company or brand name. The amount of time, effort, and resources you spend in order to launch the campaigns that result in a dedicated audience is remarkable; the results you receive from those efforts should be remarkable, as well. Let’s explore what audience development is, how to do it and why you should.
YOUR AUDIENCE ISN’T A SUNK COST
The right way to think of your website and digital presence — and therefore your corresponding audience — is as an asset, not an expense. Nurturing that proprietary audience (one that only you can reach) is essential for building brand authority, awareness, credibility and other signals which improve not just sales and conversion rates, but also your overall following and word-of-mouth potential. Many business owners think of their digital presence as an advertising expense — just another cost of doing business, without much active benefit. Building an online brand through social media often takes many months or years. But online marketing should be seen as an investment in the overall presence and brand of a business, both online and off. After all, a company’s website is often the first touch point that a potential client has with a brand, and first impressions are key. Future social media interactions, posts, and follows beyond these first interactions are the most essential part of nurturing that initial trust. Accordingly, the ways that you use both traditional and digital means to build your audience and nurture them shouldn’t be considered a mere cost of doing business.
BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE
There are many ways to build up this proprietary audience. Here are a few of my favorite techniques and strategies.
1. Foster A Sense Of Community On Social Media.Increasingly, people need to trust you and connect with you before they will want to buy from you, and the best way to build this community is via social media. This will mean not only promoting your content and products, but establishing relationships and being truly engaged and responsive with your fans and followers.
2. Offer Something Of True Value As An Opt-In Incentive (lead magnet). I still see too many social profiles trying to entice visitors to sign up for a free newsletter or email updates. Your opt-in incentive is so incredibly important that it’s paramount to think strategically about what you can offer that’s of unparalleled value.
3. Become A Trusted Source Of Information Via Your Blog. This will entail regularly providing content that’s unique and tailored to your specific audience, syndicated on your social channels. It doesn’t matter how amazing your content is… if it doesn’t meet the needs of your customers or website visitors, it’s likely to fall flat.
4. Make Guest Blogging A Priority. Regularly contributing to well-known sites in your industry or niche allows you to reach a brand new audience, to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and to continue to build trust and authority with your existing customers and clients. Engaging with your guest posting sites on social channels is also a great way to build a wider audience
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