Tim Priebe

7 best practices to build your audience online

Online audienceSocial media management can be a challenge. You have to worry about setting up sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn the correct way. You have to share updates on a consistent basis. And you need to build your audience.

While all of those are important, ultimately marketing online is pointless without an audience. If you have no audience, you’re really just wasting your time on your website, social media and email newsletter. And it can be embarrassing on the platforms where people can see that you don’t have much of an audience.

Here are seven best practices for building your organization’s audience online.

1. Ask.

Pretty simple. Just ask. Send a simple, personalized message asking people if they would subscribe to your newsletter, like you on Facebook, read your blog, or follow you on Pinterest. It’s amazing what a response simply asking can generate.

2. Give before you get.

Before you ask, supply something of perceived value. People are then much more likely to take the effort to click “Like” or “Follow.” And it can be something small, such as liking someone else’s business page first, endorsing them on LinkedIn, or subscribing to their email newsletter.

3. Give people an out.

When you send your short message, make sure you give people permission to say “no.” By simply giving them an out, they’re automatically more likely to say yes.

4. Make it easy.

Include links directly to what you want them to do. If the link is long or weird (and if often is), use a website like bit.ly to shorten the link before you send it to them.

5. Build your audience before you need your audience.

If you have an event or product you’re ready to market online, and you haven’t already been building up your audience, it’s already too late. You need to make sure you work on building up your audience long before you need your audience.

6. Demonstrate value early.

Don’t wait until your audience is in place until you start demonstrating value. Start ahead of time, so the early members of your audience will see the value, an stick around.

7. Look good.

Looking different than the no-effort crowd takes some time, effort and money. But it’s well worth it to make sure you stand out from the crowd. And your branding on all your various online marketing platforms should be consistent with each other. Not doing so may confuse people and make them wonder if they clicked on the wrong link or not. And people who are confused tend not to become customers.

If you take the effort to build up your audience, social media marketing can be one of the most effective ways to market to a lot of people at once. So take the time and invest any money needed to make sure you’re building up that audience.

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