Social media is an important part of any marketing plan these days. In fact, according to hostingfacts.com, 66% of companies use online advertising and 86% of that is through social media ads. Additionally, approximately 11% of all mobile website traffic comes from various social media platforms. These numbers showcase just how critical building a dedicated social media following is but doing so is not always the simplest of tasks. Keeping your followers interested is a job unto itself and will require diligence, consistency and know-how on your part. Here are 10 simple ways to keep strengthening your connections and nurturing your audience.
1. Choose the Right Platform(s)
The first key to being successful as you nurture your audience on social media is to build one that understands your brand. In order to do that, you will need to know where your ideal client spends their time. By far, the most popular social media channel is Facebook, with approximately 2.5 million users, followed by YouTube with 2 million and WhatsApp with 1.6 million. That does not necessarily mean these will be the best platforms for you and your business. If, for example, you are selling a product, it might be helpful to know that over 60% of Instagram users have discovered and purchased new products through the app. However, according to research compiled by SproutSocial.com, the majority of Instagram users range in age from 13-29.
If you have a product aimed at customers in the 30-50 age demographic, Instagram might not be the best platform for you to showcase your product. To put it bluntly, you will need to do a good amount of research into your social media. This is to accurately assess the best social media platforms to invest your time and energy into. It can be tempting to try to do them all, but you will quickly find that this can be very time-consuming and possibly not the best investment of your time.
2. Post Relatable Content
Once you have determined which social media platforms will best serve your audience, you will need to make sure the content you are posting will keep them engaged. This is the time to focus on speaking your ideal client’s language. If your product or service has a brand personality that elicits excitement, you will use totally different imaging and language than a business that aims to emit the feeling of sophistication.
You will also need to know what type of challenges your ideal client has and how your product or service can help them to solve them. Your content should offer solutions to your audience and clearly demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field, which brings us to the next point.
3. Educate Your Audience
Posting a lot of pretty pictures is great, but it won’t necessarily help you to create a devoted audience. Your audience wants to trust that you have the knowledge and skills deserving of their continued attention. This is why attempting to nurture your audience through education is so essential. Stay up to date on the latest happenings within your industry and share your findings with your followers. Posting new and valuable information will help to build credibility and show your audience that you are committed to continually learning more about whatever it is you do. In other words, educating your audience lets them know you are also educating yourself, and who doesn’t want to work with the best?
4. Raise Brand Awareness
Don’t assume your name, logo or even the content you post tells your audience exactly what you do. Your social media is the perfect place to raise brand awareness by introducing new products and services and to promote any specials or sales you might be running. It’s also the right place to dive deeper into the context of why you do what you do. If, for example, your business was built from a personal struggle, talk about your story so your audience can learn more about your company’s values and morals. Doing so will also help you relate to your audience in a more authentic manner (but we’ll talk more about that later).
5. Engage with Your Followers
This is perhaps the most important step in building and maintaining a great relationship with your social media audience. Don’t just post your content and disappear. Be committed to actively engaging your audience. Reply to comments on your posts with enthusiasm and transparency, answer messages in a timely manner and field questions diligently. If another user mentions you in a comment, respond to that as well! Show your audience you care what they have to say and that you are listening and open to their feedback. Do not, however, engage in negative banter with any users that are trying to push your buttons. Respond to those users privately or not at all (use your own discretion).
On a related note, see how to deal with poor online reviews by reading this blog post: How to Handle Negative Online Reviews
6. Build Community
Small businesses, in particular, need to help support other small businesses. That is where building online community becomes so important. Connecting to other small business owners and sharing their products or promoting their events is a great way to build rapport with your audience and potentially expand your network. Mentioning other brands will hopefully encourage them to do the same back, giving you access to their followers, as well. There really is something to be said for that old adage, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
7. Get Involved
Having a great product or service is not always enough to build a reliable following. Consumers LOVE to endorse businesses that support their local community and give back in general. Get out there and get involved! Support a local or global cause by donating your time or a portion of your proceeds. Or, you can host a fundraiser or rally your community members together for a beach clean-up.
Ideally, the cause you are supporting should make sense with the core values your business is presenting. If, for example, you are a wellness company that advocates holistic health, you might choose to financially support a non-profit aimed at getting meditation into the local school systems. Or, you may volunteer your time teaching alternative healing techniques to an underserved population. Whatever you choose to do, you will most certainly sleep better knowing you are growing your business and doing something amazing for your local or global community at the same time.
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8. Make Your Followers Feel Special
Set yourself apart from other brands in your industry by making your followers feel special. This is perhaps the most effective way to nurture your audience. Create private groups with special perks for your existing customers. You can also offer referral bonuses and post about them frequently. Or, pair up with another business that compliments yours and run a contest with some great goodies and freebies as a grand prize.
9. Be Authentic
Above and beyond anything else, be yourself! Don’t try to build your audience by posting a bunch of inauthentic fluff. All of your content should directly reflect the experience your customers can expect to have when working with you or purchasing your products. If they see one thing on your social media and get something entirely different when they meet you or try your product for themselves, the likelihood of them building trust in your brand is slim to none.
10. Consistency is Key
Lastly, create a posting schedule so your audience is constantly getting fresh, new material from you. If you go strong for months at a time and then drop off the face of your social media platform, it will be akin to starting from scratch once you get back up and running. In other words, all your hard work will potentially have been for nothing.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you should have no problem building a social media audience that understands and appreciates you. Continually committing to nurture your audience will ensure they grow with you and your business for a long time to come.