A lot of social media advice sounds something like this: start using social media, schedule your social posts ahead of time, have a consistent presence, and then you’ll find new customers! Simple enough, right?
If you’ve given this technique a try, you might have realized it’s not always quite that easy. And as a new entrepreneur or small business owner, you have plenty of other projects competing for your attention.
The best way to build an active and engaged audience on social media is to focus on the people who already know you best. By sharing content that’s relevant to them, and taking the time to interact and respond to any feedback you receive, you’ll be able to grow the size of your audience and build stronger relationships in the process.
But when it comes to seeking out new customers on social media, there are also a few simple steps you can take to help reach the right audience for your business.
Here are a few important steps to consider:
Step 1: Identify a target audience
Knowing the personality of your customer is half the battle. You also need to think about the problem(s) your product or service solves. What language would a customer use to identify the problem? What is the best way to engage with this customer?
BeUtiful helps new entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed with a cohesive brand on social media, by using Real-time searches to find conversations on social media that include keywords like social media brand help, small business brand help, and SMB branding tips.
When I find people using these keywords, I can easily learn which social networks my customers are using. I can also determine the type of content they want and the best time and frequency to post. This makes me much more effective at reaching my audience on social media.
Step 2: Search for relevant #hashtags and keywords
The next step is to find and track conversations. Hashtags do some of the work for you by helping you find a number of people talking about the same topic.
Once you’ve determined your relevant hashtags, monitor them to find the conversations you should be a part of. The hashtags I follow include #smallbusiness (my target audience), #BeUtiful and #BeUtifulyesu (our company name and website for monitoring), #brandcohesion #visualcohesion #brandidentity and #socialmediahelp (conversations where I can add my expertise).
Here’s an extra tip: You can also find the influencers you should be liking and following using hashtags. Influencers are experts in topics related to your business and often have a large following. Engaging with them can help you gain exposure to a bigger, equally targeted audience.
Step 3: Engage with relevant audiences
Once you’ve found social conversations that are relevant to your business, you can start to engage potential customers and share your expertise.
Make sure to add to the conversation without disrupting it. If people are sharing and commenting on articles related to your business, look for opportunities to share your viewpoint. If people ask questions you can answer, offer your help.
Step 4: Use the right calls to action
Hopefully, all your hard work of finding and connecting with potential customers on social media will pay off in the forms of new fans and followers. As you start engaging with your new audience, it’s important to provide a strong call to action to help move interactions beyond social media.
Posts that provide a call to action are more likely to get engagement (i.e. likes, follows, shares, retweets, favorites) from your audience.
Make sure your call to action isn’t always directly related to your product or service. People often use social media to be entertained, to find valuable information, and to interact with friends and businesses.
You can make your content engaging by asking your audience a fill-in-the-blank or true or false question.
As a rule, about half your content should be solely focused on engagement, with only about 20% of your content focused on the promotion of your business.
You can use this chart as a reference.
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