Growing an audience can often be one of the biggest challenges for a small business. We know how hard it can be. All the while, trying to navigate all the BS and hyperbolic claims you see on the socials from dancing Americans. So, we’ve put together a no-frills (no dancing) guide on how to firstly find your audience, and then how to build relationships with them.
Hello, if you’re your reading this then you’re an engaged audience type person. That means you’ve probably found us from Google (our SEO is pretty top-notch), from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Linked In, or because you came directly to us by typing in our web address.
Taking people from A (social) to B (website) and then on to C (email) is part of your customer journey (or at least it should be). This is what us marketing nerds call your marketing funnel. It’s just a way to firstly get noticed by people, then build a little something with them.
Let’s clear up a couple of things first. There are a whole load of marketing myths floating around, and the biggest one is that you need a huge following. It’s poppycock. It’s not the size that counts, it’s what you do with it. (*snigger, sorry couldn’t stop myself).
Your number of followers is what we call a Vanity Metric. Meaning, it might look good, but doesn’t impact your overall business really all that much.
The importance of an engaged audience
Building and growing an engaged audience is what’s important. So people who read your content, take action and then look out for more content. It add value to them. Every time you connect, it’s joining the tiny dots between you, your business, and your audience.
A quick one here – when we talk about audience, that’s different from your Customer. Some people who follow you will only ever be interested in freebie, and that’s fine. They are your audience. Imagine them watching the telly outside Curry’s.
Some of these people will then go on to buy from you (and then become your customer). Give your best value to your customers, I mean everything you’ve got. Give great value to your audience (and they will grow, and some of those will become customers too.
So in the Curry’s example, they might just step into the shop – aka your website).
What this means is that an engaged audience essentially become your biggest fans. Spreading the word about your small business, and generating referrals (for FREE!). Offer them excellent value in return, and treat them well. They are your J-Los, Beyonce’s, your Lizzo’s (hopefully they drop a few less f-bombs).
Fostering a strong relationship with your customer also shifts your focus to delivering excellent value to your customers, understand exactly what they need (right now) and to find more people just like them.
Ok, smart ass, so how do I grow an engaged audience?
Firstly, know who they are. I mean really know who they are. Identify your ideal audience. Be absolutely clear who you’re talking (and not talking) to.
1.Finding your ideal audience
Market research should include the demographic most likely to buy your product/service. Who are they? Where are they? Why do they engage in this industry? Try to understand as much as you can about them. Really get into the detail here.
Next – work out who your ideal customer is, and create a made-up avatar that encompasses everything about them. Building the avatar will help you have this customer front and centre of your mind, which will do wonders when you’re planning new campaigns.
Analysing your current customers will show you how well you’re advertising to your ideal audience. So, look at any insights available to you that will help you understand who you’re attracting and why. How many of you ideal Customers are reflected in your actual customer base? (if the answer is not many, then you need to take a good hard look at why. And work out how to change this.)
2.Post consistently not frequently
Consistently does not equal frequently. Consistency includes your post schedule and so much more. If your branding consistent on each post? If your brand voice the same? Are you delivering top quality content every time you publish something?
Post at peak times for YOUR audience
Take a look at your insights and see what times your audience is most active. Make sure you post according to their schedule, and not yours. (So panic posting on a Friday night after a few gins is a no-no – for so many reasons). Get yourself a content scheduling app. If it’s not in your budget, many platforms (we use Publer) have a free plan.
3. Create content from your audience’s perspective
Create content based on what you know people want from you. Not sure what they want? Ask questions, listen and create content to meet their needs and wants.
Get feedback for your customers about the issues they face, how they feel, what keeps them awake at night, what makes them happy. By asking them, you take the guesswork out of your content planning, plus you make content people actually want to read. Everyone’s a winner.
4. Be Social on Social
People forget that it’s why social media exists. It’s just a way to connect digitally with other people who sure the same interests, needs and problems. NEVER ever leave a comment hanging, always reply to every comment (good, or bad), and make sure you regularly check your inboxes, too. Social media can also be a great place for customer service too.
And, my friend – stay away from Icky DMs please. No connecting and then sliding right in with an attempt at a sale. NEVER. EVER. EVER. NEVER do this.
Need help with your planning?
You’re in luck, my friend. Our free marketing health check will help you to work out where to focus your marketing, and how to increase your brand awareness, engagement and conversion.
For more small business advice, check out our other blogs: