One is the Loneliest Number: Audience Building Woes
You’ve got your amazing idea, and now you’re ready to create a next-level social media presence that will lift your brand into the stratosphere. The problem is you’ve only got one follower, and it’s your mom. No offense to Nancy, but you need to work on audience building. That’s why Storyblaster created this definitive guide on how to grow your social media audience.
Owning it Cross-Platform
Did you know that you can use a few of the same social media growth tricks for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? When it comes to social media engagement, here are some general tips to keep in mind:
#1 If You Want More Follows, Read the Room
Who are you trying to appeal to? If you’re not sure who you’re talking to, it’s like shouting into an abyss and hoping someone hears you. The “throw spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks” approach isn’t super effective. You’ve got to know precisely who your audience is and then build content around that demographic.
Let’s say your business is selling hand drawn graphic tees with ironic phrases on them. The demographic might be Millennials and Gen Y’ers who live in major cities and are into aesthetics and appreciate snarky humor.
What blogs do they read, what shows do they stream, who do they follow on social media? Asking these questions can lead to some major microtargeting, which is clutch when you’re focused on audience building.
#2 Set Yourself Up For Audience Growth with Smart Goals
First, think about why you want to grow your audience. Is it for general brand awareness, is it to turn your loyal followers into loyal customers, is to slowly take over the world? When you know your intention, use it to guide the creation of SMART goals. SMART goals, long touted by therapists and self-help gurus alike, are a great way to measure success.
S — Specific. Define your goal and make it as specific as possible.
M — Measurable. Choose the metrics by which you’ll measure success.
A — Achievable. Make sure it’s a doable goal!
R — Realistic. Check your resources and confirm this is a realistic goal.
T — Time Sensitive. Create a time frame and hold yourself accountable
So be a SMARTy and plan out your social media party.
#3 Post Relevant Content
Let’s go back to the graphic tees example. You figured out that your audience reads the A.V. Club and Vulture, and loves the humor of the Onion, Jon Oliver, and John Mulaney. Are you going to aggregate a post from Larry the Cable Guy or a listicle rating the best pickup trucks? Probably not.
You want to post content that your audience actually cares about and is relevant to their interests. In this example, it might be creating an Onion-esque headline or caption, or Photoshopping Bill Murray wearing one of your sweet tees.
Bottom line: give the people what they want.
#4 Help Your Future Followers Find You
Are there buttons linking to your social media on your website? In your newsletter easily accessible by your social media followers? Does each platform link to the other platforms you’re on? If not, you’re missing out on a really easy opportunity to grow your social media audience.
How To Grow Your Audience on Different Platforms
Facebook’s Rules of Social Engagement
#5 Grow Your Social Media Audience with Facebook Ads
Facebook Ad campaigns just work. All that important homework you did when you researched your demographic comes in handy here, as does your creation of SMART goals. With Facebook Ads, you can target your demographic very specifically, choose objectives for the ads (page likes, clicks to website, etc), set a budget, and set a timeline. While social media growth is a slow burn, this is a proven way to grow your audience relatively quickly.
#6 Make Mine Organic
Of course, we can’t all “pay to play” with Facebook Ads, and that’s when organic growth takes on an important role. There are some really rad ways to grow your audience without spending a dime.
Community building is one effective means. Try posting questions and encouraging your followers to post questions, or comments and reviews of your product. Everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere, and the beauty of social media is that it’s not hard to find your tribe. So be a tribe leader.
Generate content that is unique to Facebook. What can people get from your Facebook page that they can’t get anywhere else? Leverage the platform, whether it’s using Facebook Live or any other element that makes the platform unique.
Insightful Instagram Growth Tips
#7 Have A Hashtag Strategy
Not all hashtags are created equal. Another homework assignment: find out which hashtags are actually useful. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it fits your needs, and putting a thousand hashtags at the end of your post isn’t the best idea either. Which ones are your competitors or like-minded accounts using? You can use a site like DisplayPurposes to help determine what’s useful and what isn’t. This is one way to find the communities where your demographic is engaging, and when you find that out, your posts will feel more personal and in touch. And that’s pretty #awesome
#8 Fill Out Your Bio, Followers will Follow
Your Instagram bio is super important. For one thing, it’s the only place Instagram let’s you put a link. So if you’re not linking to your website in your IG bio… You. Are making. A huge. Mistake. This is also the space where you get to tell people who you are and what you’re about.
Your profile pic puts a face (or logo) to the name, and if you didn’t put any thought into that, it’s going to show. Think of your bio as a dating profile: be yourself, be on brand, and be cute.
#9 DIY Content, Give It A Try
User Generated Content is everything. Encourage your audience to @ you in posts on their accounts, and watch the magic unfold. In the t-shirt example from earlier, this could be asking your followers to take pics of themselves in your awesome threads and tagging your business in the post.
User Generated Content is a really easy way to grow your audience. It’s a very grassroots, modern word-of-mouth approach, and it works.
# 10 Should You Work With Influencers?
Influencers abound aplenty on IG, and their sponsored posts generate a lot of money. People are more likely to trust a person they follow than a company that has an obvious vested interest. Partnering with an influencer can lead to near-effortless social media growth gold, if you pick the right Influencer for the job.
Be very choosy about who you approach— in most cases, a microinfluencer is going to be more affordable and more useful than a macroinfluencer.
Twitter Growth Tips & Tricks
#11 Sir Tweetsalot
Twitter is perhaps the only platform where it behooves you to post as often as possible. Building a social media presence on Twitter means posting consistently. The conversation moves super fast, so staying relevant requires talking loud and fast and frequently. It’s especially useful to tweet at optimum hours, which a solid analytics tool should be able to tell you.
#12 Get Engaged
Engaging on Twitter is everything when it comes to audience building. Retweet. Mention. Retweet again. @ someone. Do whatever it takes to be a part of the conversation. People will wonder who this intelligent, always on point poster is, and before you know it you have a ton of new friends and followers. It takes time to build an audience on Twitter, but stay consistent and it will happen.
#13 Target #Trending Twitter Tags
One of the most beautiful aspects of Twitter is the presence of trending hashtags. They tell you what people are talking about, and this is a great way to jump into a larger conversation and generate interest in your brand.Then you’ll be on point like a decimalist.
#14 Make Your Media Posts Matter By Lookin’ Good
Visual content does well on every platform, but especially on Twitter. A photo or video breaks up the constant barrage of 280 character posts filling your feed, providing an aesthetically pleasing break for the eyes. Even better, mix a cool photo/video with a trending hashtag! Boom!
After you bounce back from having your mind blown, watch those followers trickle in, one after the other.
Social Media Growth Is About Experimentation, So Make Like Madam Curie and Experiment
There’s no one way to hone-in on audience building for social media, but try as many of these as seem relevant to your brand and tell us how it goes.
And if you happen to run a new business that sells hand drawn ironic t-shirts, you’re welcome for the free and very specific advice.