Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching your audience if you use it correctly.
But a lot of people just post an update here or there and hope for the best. Or they run a few ads and see a small uptick in followers, but they don’t capitalize on the new exposure to get even more reach.
Research has shown that all types of buyers, including individual consumers and businesses, make purchasing decisions incrementally, and that content shared on social media affects those decisions.
If you want to take full advantage of the potential that social media offers, you need to work on maximizing your audience. Here’s what you’ll need to consider when developing a plan to expand your audience on social media:
Know Your Goals
What do you want to accomplish with your bigger audience on social media?
Are you trying to get more exposure for your brand? Or do you want to create more leads for your email list or sales team? Or do you want to increase sales?
You can’t create a strategy for gaining more followers without answering these questions. You can get more followers, sure, but you won’t get the kind of followers who are going to help you meet your goals unless you have a targeted strategy.
Once you know your goal, you can get very specific with your targeting for your posts and your ads. For example, if you are trying to increase sales of specific products, you’ll want to narrow in on followers who have a need for that product, who have the income for it, and so on. If you are just trying to increase exposure for your brand, you’ll want to target followers who have a general interest in what you offer and who are more likely to share and engage with your content, such as millennials.
Define Your Audience
You should already have a general audience profile that you are trying to target, but you should also have individual buyer personas.
You should also have profiles for other stakeholders, such as potential channel partners who can spread the word about your products and services to their own customer base, analysts who can cite you as an authority in your field, journalists who may want to report on things you’re doing to create buzz for your brand, and influencers who can improve your reputation with what they say.
You should identify people who fit into all these categories and create strategies for reaching all of them on your social media channels.
Posting regularly is one important way to be active on social media, but it is only one part of the equation.
You also need to find ways to engage your users so that they feel some buy in with your brand. They need to have a reason to return to your page, to remember your brand, and to want to buy from your brand or post about it themselves.
You need to write headlines that attract their attention and compel them to read more. You need to pose thoughtful questions that encourage conversation. You need to reply to comments and add questions or thoughts that encourage dialogue.
Of course, you also need to create content that is useful and engaging. Your content should answer questions, solve problems, or provide solutions. It should inspire or entertain. It should make your reader feel something or see themselves in the content.
You don’t always have to create new content. Only a fraction of your audience sees your content when you share it, so you should get in the habit of re-sharing content and engaging more of your audience with it.
Narrow Your Focus
You don’t need to be on every social network, just like you don’t need to be all things to all people.
Focus your social media presence to only those networks that your audience frequents and where you are most likely to make an impact. You can grow your presence as the need arises and resources become available.
Forget about networks that don’t align with your brand. For example, if you work in IT and channel in a lot of code, you aren’t going to have a lot of photo opportunities to share on Instagram. Nor are you likely to have much that will interest followers on Pinterest.
Focus your efforts where they are most likely to get you results, whether that’s because your audience is there or because your message fits in well with the medium.
Expanding your audience on social media will take time, but the effort will be well worth it. Eventually, you’ll be able to leverage that audience to create a stronger brand identity, to increase your sales, and to create brand loyalty for your long-term success.