When building an online presence, visibility is crucial. After all, to be successful, your service, product, or brand needs to be seen. There are multiple strategies for online content marketing, but we will focus on one method in particular, building audiences through social media followers. According to Nathan Chan, guest writer for Entrepreneur.com, “No matter what stage your startup is in, you’ll want to start or continue to grow your social media audience. The more people you can reach on social media organically and through advertising, the better your launch and your on-going sales will be.”
Social media platforms provide a network of individuals that can be targeted and turned into followers. Make sure your social profiles and pages are strong and they contain all of the pertinent details people would want to know about your business. According to Quicksprout.com, when marketing online you need to build a community that gives you permission to market to them; “Eventually, your community will include potential readers and people that know your potential readers. The people that know your potential readers are influencers that can share and broadcast your messages.”
When beginning your online marketing strategy, create your own social media business page. For example, a Facebook for Business page. This helps present a professional front and keeps your personal account separated from your professional account. Don’t forget to use friend-finding features offered on most social media sites. Use your personal friend list to start reaching out to everyone you know. Let them know you’re starting a business and you would greatly appreciate their help in spreading the word. As Quickspout.com says, “Most people are willing to help out a friend.”
Social Media Accounts
Make sure to link all of your social media accounts. Nathan Chan suggests to cross-promote your social accounts. Ask audience members to connect with you on anther platform. Look for opportunities to link one social account to another. Offering easy “click share to” buttons is a great way to encourage people to share your content on other platforms. The point of social media is to be social! Building audiences through social media means you can’t hesitate to interact with your followers. Try answering or asking questions or participate in Facebook Groups or LinkedIn discussions.
The next step is to understand who your target audience is and which social media platforms they gravitate towards. This will help you determine on which channels to focus your energy. For example, professional or technical readers may use LinkedIn, rather than Facebook, but younger generations may learn towards Snapchat or Twitter. You can use analytics to determine which social media networks lead to the best traffic.
Next, find other brands or companies that aren’t in direct competition with you and are related to your industry or field . Begin interacting with them once you have complimentary companies identified. Giving “likes,” sharing their applicable quality content and making unobtrusive comments can help with your own reputation and give you access to individuals who may be interested in your field or business. According to Forbes, follow like-minded people in the business. Surrounding yourself with a network of people that value your brand and expertise, allows you to become an influencer among them.
As you get to know other businesses, a partnership may be a possibility. Publishing guest content can increase your exposure and credibility, with the goal of increasing your own audience. If you’re a newcomer to the field, offer to do a joint collaboration with an established complementary business.
Social Media Ads
Now that you’re on the way to establishing an audience and building credibility, your next step is social media ads. Depending on which social network you are focusing on, advertising with social media can be done in different ways. For example, marketing on Facebook by using targeted Facebook ads is a great way to ensure your ads are going to your target customer. When a social media advertising campaign is promoted to the right group of individuals, paid social media advertising is a direct way to grow your audience.
Facebook sponsored ads are a way to get your content promoted through clicks to website. An eye-catching title and interesting content in a well targeted sponsored story can provide substantial ROI in terms of either sales or interest. Quicksprout.com states, “Paying for clicks and traffic on social media can be a great option to market… with paid social, you have the opportunity to pay for traffic and clicks right away. And if you do well to target your target audience on the right channels you can build your audience with advertising to supplement your organic efforts.”
One can’t discuss building audiences through social media without discussing the hashtag. Hashtags are used on almost all social media sites to make it easier for users to find content that interests them. When combined with creative content, a hashtag can lead new audience members to your business. Hashtags need to be relevant and specific. According to Meighan O’Toole, “If you want to build community, increase your reach, find new followers, network, and improve engagement, hashtags are your answer… another great use of hashtags is creating a personal hashtag to gather your work into your own pool.”
Another trick that is often overlooked is re-purposing content. When first starting out, you’re focusing on posting quality content. The problem is, your audience may still be relatively small. Once your community grows and you have a well-established audience, that is an ideal time to re-post previous content. Don’t feel like you have to just copy and paste, but you can get creative! Quicksprout suggests turning older posts into infographics, videos, or slideshow presentations.
Building audiences through social media can be time consuming. The authors of The Art of SEO state, “You can create the world’s greatest content, but if no one ever sees it, you will not have accomplished anything useful. You have to get exposure for it, and one way to do that is to build a loyal following of people who learn to love your content.”