How do you build up an audience online? That’s a question millions of people ask themselves everyday. And although each situation is different, there are several key components that ring true for everyone. So, what can you do to build an audience?
That depends on several factors, including your own approach to engaging potential consumers.
Today, I’ll dive into how to build an audience for your brand. By putting in a bit of effort, you have potential to vastly improve an online presence.
What Will Affect an Audience
Before I jump into the best ways to build an audience, you need to consider a few important elements. After all, each online persona is different. What works for one may not work the same for another.
Here are a few things that will directly affect the type of audience you engage.
The industry of your brand or business will have an impact in the type of consumer you engage. Some are more profound than others, and a heavily populated industry is often difficult to break into.
Never underestimate the power of trends. Things and events that are popular today may not be so tomorrow. This means strategies need to constantly evolve to accommodate the audience.
Like trends, technology also evolves rather quickly. The newest social app or smart-enabled device is just around the corner. Those who don’t capitalize on these things are often left behind by the competition.
The efforts you put into engaging the audience is perhaps the most important aspect of success. Without a strong strategy, engagement or marketing plan, your competition will surely benefit.
Of course there is more that will affect your ability to engage an audience. However, these are several things that will play the biggest role.
12 Tips to Build an Audience
Now, let’s get into some of the best ways regarding how to build an online audience. While I cannot guarantee your success, I can attest to how these methods will greatly improve your chances.
1. You Can’t Please Everyone
One of my favorite sayings is, “You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” Your target audience is not the same as trying to drive general traffic to your website. Not everyone is going to want to absorb your content.
Too many people often fail by trying to be too diverse. They often strive to engage everyone and will bend over backwards to try to make everyone happy.
This is a false ideal. Not everyone is going to be your customer regardless of how hard you try.
You want to focus more on those who already have potential to be a consumer. It’ll help drive creating viral content that will increase your exposure.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
You need to have some idea of what your target consumer is looking for. This often depends on age ranges, personality traits and more. Who you want to be your customer will drive every strategy you build.
For instance, you don’t see AARP marketing to millennials…yet.
Using tools such as Google Analytics can help narrow your audience. Not only are some of the demographics recorded of your visitors, but the most important content on your site is also metric to consider.
Apps like Google Trends and using prominent keywords in your industry can clue you in to what people want and how they are engaging online.
Watch social media and what your audience is searching, interacting and mentioning. Join groups, discussions and forums to observe concerns of the market.
It’s all about knowing what your audience wants and giving it to them.
3. Create a Story
One of the best ways to engage an audience is through storytelling. It goes along the lines with being entertaining. I’m not saying you need to hire a comedian to connect with the audience. But you do need to engage them through a specific plot.
For example, create a story for your product or brand with a:
Address a problem your product or service can solve.
Detail how you can help solve the problem by showing your goods in action.
Show the end result and how your brand can make someone’s life better.
This is a common practice that’s been around for ages. In fact as I write this, I am reminded of the countless infomercials I saw prior to the days of the Internet. Although many were corny, most were exceptionally effective.
4. Create a Content Schedule
Most audiences love the idea of having content on a timely and routine schedule. It’s why television and radio stations have time slots. And this sense of reliability is apparent online.
Part of developing a good content schedule is having a strategy behind your drive. In reality, you are 429% more likely to be successful if you set and meet goals for your content.
The hardest part is discovering when your target audience is the most active. However, there are plenty of tools to help you gauge this. Some platforms even come with their own form of analytic software.
This is about structure and being viewed as a reliable brand. And straying from a schedule can cause upheaval within the community you’re trying to create.
5. Be True to Your Trade
The content you create to build an audience for your website should always revolve around your primary industry. If you sell computer parts, don’t dive into political discussions. If you sell gardening supplies, don’t blog about boating.
Your audience is focused on a specific niche category, and you don’t want to stray from it. Otherwise, you could lose some of the audience you’ve already collected.
The target audience are those individuals who are most likely to buy products or services. Don’t try to over-reach by engaging other types of consumers.
You may inadvertently reduce your capacity to meet the demands of those you want to follow the brand.
Here’s an extreme example: when’s the last time you saw a liquor store sell toddler toys? Outside of a general store such as Target, the odds are slim that you will.
6. Incorporate More Video Content
People love video content on the Internet. In fact, about 70% of marketers state how video generates more conversions than any other type of material.
The impact of online video is fairly obvious. It’s what drives Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube to continue developing those aspects. And because many of these offer embedding abilities, you can easily add video to websites as well as email.
Creating videos for various platforms engages users, it’s as simple as that. In some ways it’s better as you’re connecting with people who may be interested in the brand but don’t often read text or prefer online video content.
The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot of money to get started. With a good production strategy, the investment is often easily worth the outcome.
7. Use the Power of Subscriptions
Subscriptions keep the target audience connected with the brand. Things like newsletters and push notifications keep people apprised of new content as well as messages relevant to the brand.
Since a lot of these are automated, you don’t have to do much aside from adding them to your website. For example, you can get started right away for free if you use something like WordPress and OneSignal.
Using some of the best email services around can easily help cultivate and keep an audience engaged.
What I’m getting at here is subscriptions like these work to keep your target audience engaged and coming back for more. This is especially true if you offer something like coupons or discount codes specifically through these subscription systems.
It’s much easier to keep selling to someone who is an ardent fan of the brand than to find new customers.
8. Don’t Forget About Social Media
Social media plays a prolific part in everyday life for millions of consumers. Bear in mind that 3.196 million people use social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. That’s nearly half of the population of the planet.
It only makes sense that you want to engage those users.
It’s to the point where many companies use social sites as part of their customer service strategy. This means complaining about a broken device is about as effective on Twitter as it is through a phone call to the company.
Interacting with fans and followers on a regular basis will keep them engaged with the brand. They often feel as though their opinions matter and are part of the experience rather than “just a fan.”
9. Develop the Brand’s Identity
A brand needs to have a form of identity that is accommodating to the target audience. If you want to engage a younger audience, it takes more energy and a playful quality to the business.
Let’s take AARP again. You don’t see this brand marketing to the older audience with teen heart-throbs. The purpose of AARP’s content is to make older audiences feel comfortable.
The tone of the business needs to match the tone of the audience. It’s the like-mindedness that draws in consumers.
In a way, the brand needs to feel more like a good friend than just some faceless corporation.
Just remember to stay true to your brand’s niche, as I stated earlier.
10. Make Use of All Content Channels
Video isn’t the only type of content to build an audience. You need to exploit as many channels as possible if you want to reach more of a consumer-base. This often includes starting a blog of your own, if you haven’t already.
While it’s true that more people would rather watch content over reading it, don’t alienate the readers.
One effective strategy for many is to convert blog posts or website articles into video content. This way, you engage both types of audience with the same engaging content.
Then, promote that content on social media through posts using systems like SproutSocial or Hootsuite. This way, you can engage as many of your target audience as possible while spending less time updating social profiles.
11. Analyze the Competition
There’s nothing wrong with keeping your eye on the competition. In fact, you can safely assume they are watching you as well.
You don’t want to directly copy what someone else is producing. However, you do want to emulate and improve upon their successful ideas.
Unfortunately, the competition isn’t going to be forthcoming with their plans. So it will take a bit of reconnaissance to uncover successful campaigns. Luckily, the Internet is full of tools for this specific purpose.
Some people will say, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” I don’t think this statement is accurate, though.
You’re not reinventing the wheel; you’re improving it. After all, people have been improving products for years.
And quite successfully, I might add.
Ask yourself, “What can I do to improve this?” Answer that question, and you can build up an audience rather quickly.
12. Create Stellar Content
Perhaps one of the best ways to build an audience is to make sure you’re creating amazing content. Whether you’re writing blog posts or creating YouTube videos, your audience needs to absorb some kind of quality material.
It’s all about creating content relevant to the brand and giving the audience information they want and need. The material should leave the viewer or reader fulfilled in some fashion.
This is one of the reasons why how-to and tutorial articles perform so well on the Internet. Many people inherently want to learn. Usually it’s the do-it-yourself people who simply want to save money.
If you create an easy-to-follow guide, the audience will flock to it and may even share it on social media.
In reality, you have a number of ways to create viral content among your target audience. It often just takes a bit of imagination and fulfilling a need of your fans.
Whether it’s to empower mentally or financially, your content needs to drive the audience to become fans.
It Takes Effort to Engage Them
Don’t assume you can produce one or two pages of content per month and expect consumers to come in droves. With the sheer amount of competition on the Internet, it takes a lot of effort to really become a success.
Find the best audience-building methods for your situation and run with them. You won’t come across a winning strategy unless you try.