Turn on the Tweets: How to target your online audience - and why you should bother
- 10 Aug
Samantha Cuff, who is with us for 6 weeks as part of our graduate placement programme, puts her finger on why it is important for businesses to engage in social media - and as importantly how to do it.
Social media has emerged to put a relevant online audience at the fingertips of every business that chooses to access it. Twitter and Facebook are just two examples of social networks that provide the perfect platform for building profile and rapport with a target audience. The questions are ‘what do you have to do to build a relevant and engaged online following and why should you bother?'
Looking for leads?
Let's get one thing clear, we are all engaging in social media to build an audience for our content and marketing messages. Without social media, our only options are to stick our messages on our websites and hope they will be found, or undertake a direct marketing campaign - both are valid, but we won't be using all the options at our disposal.
Matching social media with great content and a ‘sticky' website, which has good landing pages and strong calls to action, creates leads.
...And that is what we all want, so here's how.
Keep your Twitter live and alive
Twitter isn't just for updating strangers about what you had for lunch, although I'm sure there will be someone who'll read it, it's about increasing your online profile and showing your relevance to your target sectors.
According to the social media analytics and monitoring firm, Sysomos, the life of a tweet is now only one hour. Keeping your twitter feed alive is vital when trying to attract your target audience. To keep your company at the forefront of their news feed, it is imperative to tweet at least once every 60 minutes to ensure you are there when your audience is.
Tweeting, re-tweeting and posting up to date news and blog posts is key to maintaining a fresh online presence. Once you go stale your audience is left wondering whether you're out of date, out of touch or out of business!
By tweeting the latest industry news, re-tweeting interesting tweets of others and posting your own news and achievements, your audience will begin to follow you for its news fix. You can attract the right crowd by tapping into their interests and industries. Engaging in conversation with your followers shows, not only that you share a common interest, but that you are keen to develop relationships and build rapport.
Your cyber networking strategy won't work, however, without reaching out and connecting with others. An essential part of promoting your business across the twittersphere is choosing the right people to follow.
To build your own following you must actively connect with a relevant audience - think of a follow as a metaphorical ‘tap on the shoulder' of people you are interested in. Following 50 new people per week can encourage reciprocal following, but it is important to remain aware of those who just aren't interested. Unfollowing those after a period of time (we normally recommend giving it 5-7 days) who don't reciprocate and don't provide interesting tweets of their own gives you more opportunity to reach out to others who might be.
Facebook isn't just for friends
With Facebook revealing earlier this year that it has 901 million users worldwide, and with that figure expected to rise to over 1 billion by the end of the year, this pre-eminent social media platform provides a wealth of opportunity for businesses to be exposed to a global audience.
With its constantly evolving functionality, Facebook has developed to provide a unique mechanism for businesses to engage with their audience on a more personal level. Professionalism is still important; don't get me wrong, but by using Facebook alongside your other marketing, the personality of your business can shine through.
There isn't much evidence yet of B2B companies getting meaningful volumes of new business directly from Facebook, but it is an excellent means of distributing your content and getting traffic back to your website - which is where the action is. As I write, Facebook is the third most important source of traffic to The Marketing Eye website.
As with all social media and online marketing, nothing is more important than being up to date. Posting a new blog post, company news, a recent press release or even photos of your team can promote a better relationship between you and your prospects.
And what about the rest?
LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, Google+ - they're all out there and in need of attention. I'll come on to those in another post, but in the meantime, the excellent infograhic shown above from The Whole Brain Group provides a neat checklist of what you should be doing.
Take to the net to network
At the end of the day, social media is about communicating frequent, relevant and engaging information in a concise and direct way. An online audience is already out there, waiting to hear from your business and ready to listen. All it takes is a little patience and a lot of posting.
Infographic courtesy of The Whole Brain Group
PS. So remind me, why are we doing this again?
You are engaging in social media to build a relevant audience for your content and marketing messages. Matching social media with great content and a ‘sticky' website that has good landing pages and strong calls to action will create leads.