Establishing and growing an online audience is more than just your number of followers. After all, this is a practice that requires not only gaining followers daily but having them engage with your brand in a significant way, eventually leading to more sales. With so many factors that can play a role along the way, we’ve boiled down how to start building your core audience in no time. Check it out below:
Create A Hub For Your Community
One of the first steps to consider for growing an audience is where these people are going to go and why. For most, the likely choice is to say “our website,” however, that’s only half the battle. Depending on the type of campaign you’re trying to run, there are a lot of factors you need to consider both in the layout of your website as well as how it flows. Remember, there’s always an action or end goal that ultimately will help you either increase revenues or fanship, which is why you need to map out everything step-by-step.
First and foremost, the flow of your website needs to be approachable on a desktop, mobile, or even tablet. According to Impact Bound, 52 percent of users say that a bad mobile experience will deter them from engaging with a company, which with how popular mobile search is, can lose quite a bit of business before you even get started. From there, think about your launch point and how people will engage with you to the final step; for example, if you’re trying to achieve more hits and conversation around a fashion lookbook, then how to go from social media to them commenting on your page would be a pipeline with a measurable ‘success’. We’ll dive more in-depth on specifically how to develop a social pipeline later on, but first, you need a foundation.
With a rough idea in mind about what components are going to be necessary, take a look at some options that can help increase efficiency and accuracy within your process. For example, Ning can be a hub for your social community and allow you to post all in one place, saving you time. Furthermore, other tools such as Buffer can assist in automatic posting to social media, as well as popular choices like MailChimp for email marketing. Although it might seem like overkill, the more time you can save for your business on these items, the more opportunities you’ll have to engage with your audience.
Find Your Path To Bringing On An Audience
Upon establishing your hub, the next step you should consider is how to bring your audience in, which includes knowing where they’re currently engaging as well as how you can be a part of the conversation. The most likely place to start developing a strategy for engagement is social media, which has remained a dominant focal point for brands to connect with consumers. While it’s a natural assumption to think you’re already a master of social, running a day-to-day business social media account is astronomically different than your personal, which you need to be cognizant of in developing your strategy.
The first step you should take in finding your social media’s audience is looking at where exactly your industry is currently engaging in conversation, as well as how you can be a part. An excellent example of this is with Instagram, which as noted by Pew Research, is where approximately 71 percent of 18 to 24-year-old internet users are actively going back and forth both with their peers and companies. The goal for engagement on Instagram should be maximizing the different tools they have available to drive people to your conversation. This can include anything from a hashtag that gauges how (or if) people respond to a particular topic you’re starting, to a call-to-action (I.E., Swipe up now) that gets your audience straight to a sales item or piece of content.
Although a process that will require some trial and error, there are some hacks you can use to get the fire started. This includes using platforms that help gain instagram followers to show legitimacy, as well as perhaps getting the endorsement of a tastemaker. Ultimately your path to an audience will require a blend of growth hacking as much as it will daily upkeep, which there are no shortcuts around.
Stay Consistent With Your Engagement
Finally, as you continue to develop an online audience, we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your outreach consistent. This not only helps you win over new customers day-in and day-out but additionally can help increase business as well. In fact, according to Zimmer Communications, consistent presentation of a brand can increase revenues by 23 percent, which is a pretty significant difference for your margins. However, if this is a relatively new practice for you, then creating a calendar is a must.
Depending on the type of audience you’re trying to build, map out a physical calendar of when the ideal times to post are, as well as what type of content. Much of this will be items that are concurrent with your other marketing materials, such as blog posts or new updates. Furthermore, don’t forget to vary things up between engaging pieces (I.E., Q&As or Surveys), as much as pieces that are easily digestible and fun to watch on social. The golden rule for consistency is to create content that you, yourself, would want to see every day, and with a passion for your industry, will start to feel natural over time.
What are some core components you’ve found helpful in growing your online community? Comment with your answers below!