It’s pointless to market online without having an audience. Whether it’s Likes on Facebook, Followers on Twitter or LinkedIn, or people who have you in their Circles on Google+, you need to build an audience before you need an audience.
So what can you do to build your audience online?
Do someone else a favor. This is what I refer to as building your audience at a micro level. It’s not huge masses of people, but it’s one person at a time.
If you give someone something that has a perceived value, they’re that much more likely to take the effort to click “Like” or “Follow.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Law of Compensation states (somewhat simplified), “If you want to get more, you first have to give more.”
So what kind of favor can you do for someone? Here are a few examples.
Endorse or Recommend on LinkedIn
If you know enough about someone that you would endorse or recommend them in real life, then visit their profile page and endorse or recommend them on LinkedIn. Endorsing is a one-click process, so it’s easy to do. Recommending takes actually writing something about them.
If you’re endorsing them, make sure that you know for sure that they have those skills, because LinkedIn will automatically suggest skills they may not have entered.
Like or Follow their organization
This one’s pretty straight-forward. Find their organization on various social media platforms, and like or follow it. You may be able to use their website as a starting point, if they’ve linked to their social media platforms from their site. If not, you may have to do a little hunting.
Share their updates
When you see a particularly noteworthy update that one of your contacts has shared, share that in turn with your contacts. If it’s social media, sharing is often a one-click process. If it’s an email newsletter, you can simply forward their email on to others.
If you’re forwarding an email newsletter, look for a link in the email itself to share with a friend. It will probably take you through a web form, but the individual will actually be able to see that you shared their email with others.
Publicly support their cause
Similarly, if you see a person or company you know mentioning a cause, become a champion of that cause for them. A great example of this is nonprofits that have fund-raisers. Not only the nonprofit organizations themselves, but any people you know that support non-profits. If you publicly support their cause, you’ll have a devoted audience member.
What other favors can you think of doing to help build your audience online? Be sure to share anything you think of in the comments below. And then start doing favors!
Next time, we’ll look at what to do after you’ve done a favor.