Increase your social media following and grow your audience!

by Paul Friend, Friendly Consultancy of Derby, find me on google+

Why do you use social media? Do you use social media to build an audience for your business? Are you wondering how you can convert your audience into customers?

When we talk to businesses about their social media audiences, which included Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers and email subscribers, many didn’t seem to have a strategy. In most cases, a social media strategy was an afterthought or the outcome of a momentary campaign.

Marketing was traditionally organized around a campaign. You’ll discover why audience development is a responsibility, primary to marketing. Originally marketers delivered the promise via email, but now you have to take that style of thinking into the social and mobile channels. Proprietary audiences will only be there if you build them. If not, you’ll have to pay in the form of advertising.

With social media you need to take a look at everything you do in marketing and try to optimize it to build a proprietary audience, because it gives you a huge competitive advantage. Before the Internet, creative thinkers only had to worry about great creative. They didn’t have to assemble an audience because mass media did that for them.

The difference today is not only coming up with the creative, but also thinking about distribution and building an audience that belongs to you—one that nobody else has access to. So when you have that great piece of content, you are able to push the button and reach your audience.

It’s important for businesses to have people in charge of audience development across all channels.

What type of customers does your database consist of?

1. Seekers                                                                                 

Seekers are people who look for information or for entertainment. For example, you’re a seeker when you turn on your TV and flip through the channels to find something to entertain you.

Seekers include people who flip through TV channels looking for something to entertain them. You’re also a seeker when you use Google or Google Maps. Search engine optimization is all about the process of delivering seekers to your website. Seekers are momentary. Once they have their fill of entertainment or find the information they need, they go away without a trace.

2. Amplifiers

Amplifiers are what social media is built upon. It’s where your customers turn into your best form of marketing. Amplifiers promote you to further with audiences. With fundamental communication models, there is usually a sender, a receiver and a message. The sender sends the message and the receiver receives it. However, the communication theory didn’t anticipate that the receivers themselves can then send their own message.

The receiver today can now become the person who sends out his or her own message. Social media has changed this and has added another layer to it in terms of distribution and reach of these messages. Amplifiers are the ones you don’t have a direct relationship with. You have no means to reach them directly, unless you convert them into the third group, the joiners. They look for access to information and want to bring their first-to-know experience to their own audience.

3. Joiners

A joiner is somebody who gives you permission to communicate with him or her directly through a specific channel. The ultimate joiner audience is the customers, because they purchase from you. Product-related messages open up channels for you to have communication with the customer. When you look at it from a marketing perspective, joiners are email database, subscribers, fans and followers. These are audiences with whom you have a pushbutton relationship. They give you permission to send them an email, as long as you meet their expectations. You are able to communicate through this channel.

How to convert seekers to joiners

Look at it as a desired outcome and measure against that goal and objective. Companies that implicitly expect to grow their subscriber base, fans or followers, but they don’t have an explicit plan to get there.

One of the first things you will want to do to convert seekers is turn them into email subscribers. The inbox is critically important.

The first thing you need to do is audit your website for the places that seekers come and look at what your capture mechanisms are. You also need to understand how you ask people to join your audience.

How many of us get caught up in creating content that will be popular rather than how it will convert.

Although Facebook fans aren’t revenue producers for every brand, they are potential amplifiers. The way you market your product, how the market perceives you, your brand and your product all translate into different channels that work in different ways for you. Companies that focus on proprietary audience development in the years to come will be at a huge competitive advantage. As seen with some of the bigger brands.

With social media you must make sure that your audience gets a lot more attention because it’s taken for granted that it just exists, and it comes at a cost. You’ll discover what you need to focus on so you don’t have to pay for expensive advertising.

How to prove what we do matters

A social media strategy takes time and over time you will start to see better results for less effort. It doesn’t mean you put in less effort, it means you are able to redirect some of the effort it took to get to the first 100 audience members and make it a lot easier to get to that first 100, plus the next 900.

With social media you will build your subscriber base, you touch more people, so when you hit Send on that email, it will impact your sales directly and faster. You’ll learn how to calculate the value of your audience.

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