Social media and small business marketing go hand in hand. It’s the small businesses who have the upper hand over brands when it comes to engaging fans and audiences on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. While not many people actually engage in dialogue with their favorite national brands they do engage with local businesses who are able to maintain more of a humanistic approach. Not surprisingly then, “What are the best ways to engage my audience?” is one of the top three questions marketers have according to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner.
Here, from around the Web, a few of the basics of engaging audiences on social media.
#1. Know your audience
While a basic of marketing, its still worth mentioning. Still people go about their social media activity without taking the time to consider their audiences — who they are speaking to, and what they would like to read or hear. When considering your audience, consider demographic information (how old they are, what gender they are and where they live) as well as psychographic information – what really makes them tick.
#2. Know where your audience is
Where are you most likely to find your audience online? If your audience is other businesses then Twitter or LinkedIn may be the place to start. If you’re speaking to consumers, then good chance they’re hanging out on Facebook. Don’t rush to use all of the tools, rather focus on the platforms that your audience is using most frequently.
#3 Be authentic
There is a philosophy out there that says if you are yourself, you will naturally find your tribe. Try to know your authentic story and then always share from that place. Once you know your authentic story, the need to influence, persuade and convince goes away according to Michael Margolis, founder and president of Get Storied, and the author of Believe Me: A Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators,
#4 Content is King
Now that you know who you are, who your audience is, what their information needs are and where they’re hanging out, you can develop content that answers their questions. You can do this in the form of status updates, blog posts, pictures or videos. Make sure your content is varied, readable and focused. See here, what content drives the most engagement on Facebook.
#5 Remember to Converse
Social Media is more than pushing content out through channels, it’s also about conversations and reciprocity. Remember a conversation is two-way. Listen to other people you are connected with. Like and share their content. Build a rapport with the people you follow.
Social Media Today: Using Social Media to Engage and Audience
SimplifyThis: Social Media for Business Owners
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