Before you invest time in trying to build an audience, it’s important to understand where your future customers are hanging out… are they on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? LinkedIn? Google+? If you don’t know, seek some advice, or ask your customers what they use.
Secondly, always have a goal – should it be to listen to your customers to provide new or improved services, or to build awareness of your business? Whatever the goal ensure you have a clear focus that determines how you will use social.
Once you know which networks to focus your efforts on (and my advice; if you’re managing them in-house is not to launch them all at once!) you can then begin to build your audience. First let your existing audiences (customers, friends and family, partner companies) know you’re using social media. Do this by word of mouth, having social icons and addresses on your marketing materials such as brochures, business cards, clinic posters not forgetting your website and email signatures.
But before you go shouting: “I’m on social” think about why someone would follow you on social? What value will you give that person? Think about what you expect from following a brand or business page – it’s normally “is there a freebie?”
If you’ve been on any of the major social networks in the last five years, you will have noticed the number of special offers, competitions, polls, kitten pictures, and memes (the funny pictures with words on top!). These are all great activities for building an audience on social, they engage, create an element of ‘virality’ and most importantly give the fan or follower value. This is all about content; make sure you have something interesting to say.
Another option is to look at how you can use social advertising to increase the number of followers. Social networks are slowly becoming paid networks, that means for those who wish to promote their business you have to pay to reach your fans and followers’ friends and connections. It’s usually a quick win for increasing numbers, but be careful it’s a minefield too.
My final comment on increasing fans and followers is that there is no magic number to how many you should have. So stop worrying about numbers and focus on providing your audience with great content they want to share, and that meets your goals.
If you’re considering social advertising to boost your numbers, looking for a social strategy or need someone to help create high-quality content, we’re here to help.
You can contact us here or reach out to us on Twitter at @JTFMarketing