How to build a social media audience is one of the top 10 social media marketing questions resulting from a poll I have been conducting on a continuing basis.
Having a social media audience is essential in generating brand awareness. By correctly targeting your audience, you will connect with solid leads and potential customers.
In this post, I will go over how to build a targeted social media audience using both organic and paid methods. Most of these tactics will apply across the board to all social media channels, some only to specific platforms.
Ask Family, friends, and Colleagues to Join Your Social Media Audience
Asking family and friends to like or follow your social media profiles is still a tried and true method to start the ball rolling in building an audience.
When you first publish a page or profile, it may look a bit forlorn with no followers and fans. That is what family and friends are for—to boost your self-esteem and make you look good form the get-go!
A downside to inviting family to like your social media profiles is if you tailor ads targeting your fan base, mom or dad might not match your target audience profile.
Try broadening your fan base in the beginning by also inviting any work or professional colleagues to follow your pages. These people might be more in line with the audience you want to reach.
Follow to be Followed
This one is a no-brainer — follow to be followed.
To connect with your social media audience, you need to follow them. It is standard etiquette, especially on Twitter and Instagram, to follow back those who follow you.
Of course, there are those who follow many people to grow their fan base, only to mass-unfollow them later. While the concept of building a fan base is centered on the follow/follow-back courtesy, many social media platforms ban high churn rate, which is mass following and unfollowing in rapid succession.
To be authentic, follow only those who you want to connect with and whose content you are interested in reading, and follow back those who follow you for the same reasons.
Follow Users according to Username, Title and Hashtag use
Here is how to find your target audience on individual social media platforms. The step will go over how to use hashtags, usernames, and titles to search for them.
Use Hashtags to find the Right Social Media Audience
A quick and easy way to find those in your target social media audience is to use hashtags to find people who are posting and talking about topics related to your industry.
The hashtag #realestate will bring up a list of results on most social media platforms showing posts about that topic. It will also display messages from those who work in the real estate business.
If real estate agents are in your target audience, you will have hit a goldmine, as real estate agents and brokers are very active on most social media platforms.
How to Search and Follow on Instagram
A search on Instagram brought up more than 15 million results for #realestate. As you can see in the image below, it also resulted in other hashtags related to real estate.
To follow people on Instagram, click on the hashtag, which will bring up images. Now click on each image to follow the person who posted it.
How to Search and Follow on Twitter
Twitter makes it easier by showing a follow button on the mobile app. On a desktop you can quickly follow by hovering over the user’s name, which will bring up a profile window with a follow button:
How to Search on Facebook
On Facebook, a hashtag search will bring up results for many categories, from Groups, Posts, People and Apps to Events and Links.
Facebook forbids using personal accounts for marketing purposes, so I will not recommend that you add people you do not know as friends.
But you can join Groups, Like Business Pages and view public Posts about a specific search.
Follow your competitors’ fans
A great way to build a targeted audience is by searching your competitors’ fan base. Look through who follows them and who they follow. This method is easily done on Instagram and Twitter using the mobile or desktop apps.
You may have to skip many followers, as spam accounts and non-related users are often part of the fan base mix of popular profiles.
Follow Industry and Association Fans
Twitter I searched for the National Association of Realtors. This association is a bonanza for anyone targeting the real estate industry.
The association has 296K followers and follows more than 8K. Just start scrolling and clicking. But don’t go too fast! You don’t want Twitter to think a bot is doing your work for you and stop your ability to follow people.
Like, Share/retweet content
Growing a fan base is not just about following others. Generating goodwill and interest in your brand or business also goes a long way in building an audience.
By liking and sharing other people’s content, you will generate brand awareness and new fans.
Set up a hashtag monitoring stream from a social media management platform like HootSuite or Zoho Social using industry keywords. Or search directly on your social media apps and start liking, sharing, and retweeting. You will quickly see a return on your efforts.
I like to concentrate on sharing and liking content from my current audience — people who I want as clients — in addition to sharing from industry stalwarts.
Tag Users in All Shares
In addition to sharing content from others, make sure you tag the usernames of the profiles and authors of articles in the posts you share. They will appreciate that you are sharing their content and you will also get greater reach with your efforts.
Comment and Compliment
Don’t stop at sharing and liking. Take it a step further and comment on people’s posts. Add additional insight or leave a compliment. This effort will triple your results in generating brand awareness and help build your social media audience. In my experience, the more I share and comment on other people’s posts, the more my content is shared. And I gain new fans.
Install a Follow button on your Website
Install Like or Follow buttons at the beginning or end of each blog post, in your Website’s sidebar, top menu or footer bar to help build your fan base.
Add a call to action at the end of blog posts or a thank you page asking visitors to Like your Facebook page or follow you on one of your other social profiles.
Add Follow Links in Email Signatures
Email signatures are vast unused spaces for a variety of marketing and networking purposes.
A phone number and Website is excellent, but how about adding a few social media links to your signature to make it easy for email connections to follow you?
Create Brand Awareness Ads
Facebook recently added auto-Like campaigns to complement boosted posts and other advertising efforts.
If a person engages with a post you boosted by liking, sharing or commenting on it, Facebook will send you a notification to invite the person to Like your page too.
Start by boosting a few posts for $10 or $20 over a 7-day period. You can also launch a page promotion from your home feed. Facebook usually puts a prominent button on the left sidebar, making it easy to launch an awareness campaign.
Create Ads with Like/Follow campaigns
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have advertising options devoted to growing your fan base and audience.
Make sure you target your audience correctly when running ads, so you don’t waste your precious ad dollars. If you have a location-specific business, getting Likes from people in another state or country is rather useless unless you count on tourist traffic.
These are just a few easy ways to start building your social media audience. Try devoting 20 minutes a day to your audience-building efforts, and in no time you’ll have a thriving active social media fan base.
Over to You
What do you think? Did you find these tips helpful? If you have other ideas to add, please do so below in the comments section.