Faced with an ever-changing digital landscape, investing time in building an online audience is important for any small business owner. But building the right audience is key. With this in mind, many small business owners often ask us, “How can I grow my social media audience?” Our survey also reflected this question at the beginning of the year.
We talk a lot about building your marketing strategy, knowing what you wish to achieve and defining your audience, so for the purpose of this blog, I am going to assume you know the answers to these questions. If you don’t or need some help getting started, check out our definitive guide here. Assuming we have put the time in with our marketing planning, we wanted to share some ideas on how we can start to create or grow our social media audience:
1. Choose the right social media platforms
The first place to start is to select the right social media platform. Chose the platform where your audience would typically hang out. As an example and making some broad assumptions:
- If you wish to speak with a corporate HR team – LinkedIn would probably be your best bet.
- If you wish to speak to new mums (30-40’s) – Instagram would probably be a good shout.
- If you wish to speak with those about to retire – Facebook would be a good place to start.
- If you wish to speak with a young audience (18-25) – Tik Tok would be a good place to start.
I have spoken with many clients trying to engage in four or five networks and not doing any well, as they each have their quirky ways about them. Not only this, it is a huge undertaking, and unless you have a team to implement your social media marketing for you, this could take up a lot of your time. I always suggest that you start by engaging in one channel well and then building from there. At the time of writing (June 23), here are the user figures for each of the key networks: Facebook (2.989 bn daily users), Instagram (1.21 bn daily users), LinkedIn (930m members in 200 countries), Twitter (372.9m users) and Tik Tok (over 1 bn active monthly users). As you can see, there are huge opportunities to connect with your ideal client, regardless of your business focus.
2. Optimise your profile
Once you have selected the right platform, the best place to start to grow your social media audience is to ensure your profile is up-to-date, accurate and reflects your small business. If you already have a profile, start by updating your profile pictures and reviewing the copy, as things often move an change quickly. Each platform works differently, so ensure you make the most of each platform.
3. Share regular content
Social media is social, it should be the place to start a conversation. Don’t be mistaken in thinking that it is a platform you can push content out to and expect lots in return. The content has to be interesting, relevant and timely to your audience, for them to engage with it.
Consider what questions you can help your audience with and the optimum time to share your content. Thinking about our earlier observations, if you wish to target new mums, there is probably no point in posting between 5-7 pm when they are probably wrapped in tea and bedtime; therefore, 7.30 pm/ 8 pm might be a better time to share posts so they are ready and open to engaging with this media.
Depending upon your network, use hashtags (as appropriate), share content with groups to widen your reach, tag others where relevant, ensure you include a call to action and visual.
It can be time-consuming to keep generating new content; check out one of our articles where we share some ideas on how you could repurpose your blog content. Click here to read the full article.
4. Engage with your audience
As we noted above, this is a social media. Whilst the start point is to share content regularly, we also need to engage with others, liking, commenting and sharing their posts. Whilst engaging in social media can be a bit of a time draw, it is important to allocate time each day to build these relationships.
5. Share Video Content
At the beginning of the year, in our 2023 Small Business Marketing Trends blog we identified some key trends to watch out for this year and the use of short-form video was definitely a key one to watch. It is cited that a staggering 90% of marketers will use this form of media this year. As a small business owner, it is easier to create and less time intensive. With phones becoming more sophisticated this is something which is accessible to all.
6. Give people a reason to engage
This can be one of the hardest elements to implement. If it aligns with your brand using humour or being entertaining can help you stand out. A note of caution, though, humour can be quite personal so it can be a fine line to tread, for other brands by focusing on answering key questions for your audience or running a competition will be equally as effective.
7. Track your analytics
One of the most amazing things about social media from a marketer’s perspective is the amount of data you can discover, not only about your campaign results (likes, comments and shares) but your audiences too. With the platforms proactively tracking what you engage with, it creates an interesting profile of you. For example, from the ads that Facebook shares with me, they know I have a dog (Tilly), a family and love to travel.
Creating an integrated marketing approach is important, with your social media activity supporting the other activity you implement. Not only can this help in saving time, but it will also increase the likelihood of resonating with your audience.
If you are investing time in social media but not seeing the results or would like some help in growing your social media channels, please get in touch to see how we can help.