This is the fourth part of a series of posts about developing your social media strategy. Here, we will discuss finding your audience online.
WHERE is Your Audience Hanging Out?
Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or somewhere else? How many platforms you can actively participate in depends on your budget. By actively participating, I mean pushing out useful content, soliciting feedback, and engaging in a dialogue.
However, you can still maintain a presence on other platforms, even if you are only able to update it once every two weeks. Of course, if you can, it would be best to monitor it every day just for any questions that need an immediate response, but that should not take too much time.
It’s important to have that presence to reserve the url for your business or nonprofit, but you also want to let people know that you’re out there. It can take a long time to build up a following, so if you decide you’re not going to be that active on Google+ yet, you can set up an account for that time when things may change. Then you will have the customized url you need, plus some followers.
It is likely that your target audience is on Facebook, but it is not a given. There may be far better places online to communicate with your audience. For instance, in working with a wilderness guiding business in Tanzania, we’ve found many clients by using TripAdvisor.
Now the business has a profile there, monitors questions from potential clients and is happy just being helpful to anyone who wants to visit Tanzania. The business also encourages its clients to post reviews there, which has helped some clients decide to book with them.
However, this doesn’t mean that, say, for instance, you’re in the painting business and you get most of your customers by word-of-mouth, so you shouldn’t bother with Facebook. It’s possible you could reach many customers on Facebook. You could share painting tips or photos of jobs you have done. You could ask customers to review your business or offer discounts. But again, this is only if it makes sense for your business. (By the way, the business in Tanzania is also on Facebook as well).
Even if you think you’ve found your audience, you may want to re-evaluate that every six months or more. Jon Thomas points out (under the section, “Don’t Believe the Hype”) that your audience is not necessarily on Facebook first. What about Instagram and Snapchat or YouTube? And, how often does this change, especially for teens? He also notes the importance of mobile, something I mentioned in “Mr. Penumbra, His 24-Hour Bookstore, and the Future.”
Don’t fret if you’re having trouble figuring out where to find your audience online. It’s covered in more detail in the next post, which will discuss how to implement your strategy.
What did I miss? If you’re out there reading, let me know I’m reaching you in the comments below.