With the growth of social media and its various platforms, businesses now have more opportunities than ever to connect with existing and potential clients.  

And, although almost every business has the potential to be successful with social marketing, not every one knows where to start in the ever-growing world of social networking. So, here’s a quick guide to one aspect of utilizing social media for your business – how to build a social media audience for business.

How can you build a social media audience for your business?

1. Define your audience by defining who your customers are and then determine what social platforms they’re using.

The first step in any marketing campaign is to define your target market and marketing on social media is no exception.

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Who are you trying to reach via social media?

Defining who your customers are is important because it will help you decide what social media platforms your business should focus on using.

For instance, if you own a clothing store that sells clothing for teens then you would want to consider setting up a Snapchat account for your business. Snapchat is the most popular social media app for teenagers at this time.

However, if you own an answering service and most of your customers are middle-aged business owners and entrepreneurs then you’d probably want to focus your efforts more on LinkedIn and Facebook.

After you’ve defined your customers and figured out which social platforms they’re using then claim your profiles on the various networks.  And, make sure you take the additional steps to verify your profiles, enter correct contact info, link to your website, etc.

2. Connect with people and businesses you already know.

Ok, so now your profiles are set-up and ready to go, but you have no followers, no likes … basically no audience. This is the easiest and most obvious step of building a social media audience for business, but a lot of people overlook it.

The simplest way to start building an audience is to connect with people that you already know or that already know your business. 

Make a list of existing customers, vendors and friends and then search each social network and request connections.

Also, don’t hesitate to use your personal profiles to request your existing personal connections to connect with your business.  Most of your friends, family and acquaintances won’t mind!

Social Media Marketing It's Kind of a Big Deal meme

Also, consider placing links to your new social accounts on your website, in your email signatures and on other collateral like business cards, etc.

Be aware that placing links on non-digital mediums is going to be MUCH less effective than placing links on your digital collateral.  How many times have you seen a link to a business Facebook account on a business card? Have those links ever motivated you to look up the business on Facebook? Probably not.  However, if you see “Like us on Facebook for exclusive access to discounts” in an email footer then you might be more likely to click the link and like the page immediately.

3. Post useful content!

This is the step that seems to be difficult for most business owners.

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What’s useful content?  A few tips:

  • Try to avoid “selling” your products or services with every single post.  It’s okay to make posts about your products or services, but structure these posts so that they’re informative or helpful versus having an obvious “buy stuff from us” tone.
  • Think from your audience’s perspective – would you want to see your post in your own newsfeed? Is it boring and annoying or is it informative and helpful?
  • Seek to educate your audience.  Share knowledge that isn’t common and that your followers will find helpful.  For example – if your business is an interior house painting company then tips about how to safely remove smudges from walls without damaging paint would be considered informative.

Aside from posting useful and unique content, make sure that you understand each social platform and what content is suitable for each.  We recommend reviewing Mashable’s Beginner’s Guide to Social Media to learn the basics of each platform so that you can be effective with your posts.

Without a basic understanding of the platforms you can make rookie mistakes like using hashtags on Pinterest doesn’t work, but using them on Twitter and Instagram works well.  So, make sure you understand the fundamentals before posting.

4. Engage with your audience.

The entire point of social media is interaction.  Likes, comments, replies, etc. are what drive these platforms.  So, give your business a personality and let it shine!  Each time your audience engages with your post, that increases your company’s social visibility.

Include Calls to Action (CTAs) when and where it makes sense to do so.  “Click here to learn more” and “visit the store to check it out” are examples of good CTAs.  You can also ask your audience questions and request that they respond in the comments or “like and share if you agree” – these are all request for your followers to take action and great ways to create engagement while increasing your exposure.

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Overwhelmed? Outsource Your Social Media

If you’re like most business owners or managers then you might not really have time to research your audience, learn these platforms and then create and share content.  We offer solutions like social media management and our social media dashboard that make social marketing easier for businesses.

We can analyze and find the correct audience for your business, learn which platforms your audience uses and then create posts to attract the audience’s engagement.

If you want to build an audience of people who are loyal, vocal and totally engaged with your business, let ClickFirst Marketing lead you on the path to success.