How to Grow Your Brand’s Social Media Audience
The steps to growing your brand’s social audience include identifying your audience through personas, finding the best channels for your target market, creating quality, targeted content, and using paid and boosted posts and elements of influencer marketing.
Keep reading to learn the in-depth how-tos for these steps…
In today’s digital age, establishing a social media presence for your brand is a vital piece of your marketing strategy. Not only can you utilize social media channels to communicate effectively with your customers, a defined voice on relevant platforms builds brand awareness and acts as equity with prospective buyers. If you’re crafting a social media strategy for the first time, or you’re looking to enhance the presence you already have, follow these top tips for growing an audience worth having.
The first step towards growing your social following is to identify the channels on which you should focus your efforts. You’re most likely familiar with the marketing world heavy-hitters: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Other forum-based sites like Reddit and Quora allow companies to engage with potential customers in Q&A format, while Snapchat provides space for real time engagement opportunities with video, photos, and geofilters. So how does a savvy marketer determine which channels cater to audiences that are right for their business?
How to Identify Your Social Media Audience
Start by creating audience personas. This will require some front end research, so take advantage of tools like Facebook Audience Insights. You’ll want to identify the interests, demographics and type of content that your target audience is likely to engage with. This will help you determine which social media platforms they are likely to spend the most time on. Once you’ve created a persona for your target customer, you’ll be able to strategize how to reach them best on the platforms where they are already active.
How to Create Quality Social Media Content
When building an audience on social media, it’s important to remember that quality comes first. You and your team should focus on creating content that provides value to your audience, and optimizing the format of that content to what is proven to perform best on your chosen platforms. For example, if you are selling a food delivery service targeted to working professionals who spend time on Facebook, you’ll want to create articles with sharp images that stand out in a feed, or even videos that creatively display what your service offers.
On the other hand, if you were marketing an ethical fashion line, you may want to adopt a strategy that includes shooting stunning photos of people wearing your clothing and posting them on Instagram with relevant hashtags. Whatever your product or service is, you’ll need to prioritize creating content that helps address a need or desire that your target customer base has. As a general rule, 80% of the content you post should give value, and only 20% should be categorized as self-promotional.
How to Target Social Media with Paid Ads and Boosted Posts
Once you’ve determined your content strategy, you can start experimenting with paid social efforts. Targeting starts with educated hypotheses based on your audience personas, but will likely evolve as you test targeting to different interests, demographics and locations. You should be using Google Analytics to evaluate site traffic already, but if you aren’t, now is a good time to start using UTM parameters to track campaigns in the application.
On Facebook, several options are available for ad optimization through Ads Manager. If your goal is brand awareness or follower acquisition, you can select an option that allows Facebook’s algorithm to serve your ad to people who are most likely to take those actions. If your goal is traffic to your website or engagement with your ad, you can select those as well. If you’re not ready to run a full-fledged ad campaign yet, try experimenting by boosting your posts on Facebook or sponsoring your content on LinkedIn. These options allow you to test targeting by adding a budget to an already published post.
How to Use Influencer Marketing in Social Media
A final way to set your brand up for success when building an online audience is by engaging with industry influencers. Maybe you already know the names of top experts in your specific vertical, and if so, use this opportunity to share their content while mentioning them, reaching out to them to start conversations about their work, or offering partnership opportunities. An influencer should already have a large following that you’re able to tap into, but micro-influencers who have niche followings make for valuable partnerships as well.
Just remember, it’s important to view this as an opportunity to build relationships, not simply reach out to celebrities to ask for favors. Approach your influencer marketing efforts with a conversational, community-driven mindset.
Play the Long Game
Growing an engaged social media audience is about playing the long game. Although it may be tempting to buy followers, resort to clickbait content or message influencers with direct asks immediately, building an audience that is truly interested in what you have to offer, finds value in the content you produce, and wants to engage in meaningful conversation with your team should be your end goal.
By focusing from the beginning on quality over quantity, your business will gain an audience that is loyal and excited to participate in your online community, which will ultimately result in a new followers who are eager to authentically advocate for your brand.