Part 2: Building an audience on social media20 Mar 2014Last month, we posted our first part of building an audience on social media and mentioned some handy information on how to get started in selecting the right platforms to be part of your social media campaign. This month, our post will focus on engaging an audience and looking to develop a strong community that will have your business front-of-mind when your product or service is required. Find out what your community is wantingOne of the biggest challenges of a social media campaign is precisely knowing your audience. At times, your audience may be predominantly your group of friends or long time clients. This is often the case when a business starts out on a social media campaign. As a company grows, an audience will likely expand to a broader community of past and existing customers or if you have become a popular name in your industry, followers who see you as a thought or industry leader, and want to keep a finger on the pulse of what you are saying.It is important to know the needs and interests of the community you are serving. Many businesses put up posts on social media that they think would be useful, however, they often do this with themselves in mind, ultimately putting up posts and information that they like and would consider good. To put up great posts that serve your audience however, you must know your audience. This means a need to engage with them to determine who they are and what they want.Audiences are often dynamic with a range of varying interests. Constant dialogue and asking good questions can elicit information that allows you to understand your audience effectively. It’s also important to listen to your audience when it comes to taking on board feedback for your products and services. Understanding an audience, allows you then to effectively serve their specific needs and interests, both online and also offline in improving your products and services. Make your community feel specialEvery person wants to feel part of something that is privileged and special. One effective way to ensure that you develop a community of followers that love to be part of your online social community and who will inevitably check out the posts you put up, is to make them feel part of something special. This can be achieved in many ways.Some of the most commonly effective methods of doing this is to offer special offers or discounts. Alternatively, it may be by releasing the latest information on products and services first on social media. Some campaigns have even been known to effectively offer a behind-the-scenes look and personal touch to a business on social media. This creates a very human element and allows a community to access something unique and personal, which makes the community special. Focusing on relationships - not salesA community on social media is not a place to be over-promotional. Like any community, there is first and foremost, a social element to online social communities and a need to focus on relationship building and developing rapport as opposed to taking a hard-sell approach. Just mentioning the business’ achievements or why customers should buy its products or engage with its services usually makes for a very bland, disengaging and egocentric community environment. We all know what it’s like to sit at the dinner table with someone who just can’t stop talking about their accomplishments, and a social media campaign that is all about your business’ accolades can be just as annoying.Instead, it is much more advisable to create content that is valuable for users, to serve them effectively once understanding their needs. Great content is either useful or emotionally provocative, but ultimately, the key for great content remains – it must be want audience members want and value. Business achievements can certainly be part of a social media campaign, though it needs to be done sparingly, in a suitable and well-balanced way that works for the audience.If you prefer to have a professional agency look after your social media campaign and have it run effectively, then check out Alyka’s social media page, or don’t hesitate to give us a call on 08 9200 4429.