If you’re hoping to expand your business or visibility, you’ll need to build an online audience. With a clear plan and a slick brand, you can grow your digital audience. You’ll need to be consistent and memorable as you present yourself online.
Curious to learn more? Read on to discover 12 tricks for capturing a digital audience!
1. Understand What You Have to Offer
What is the particular niche that you can offer an online audience? Even if you’re an established business, it’s worth stepping back and outlining your goals. And if you’re a newcomer trying to carve out an online presence, don’t overextend yourself.
Keep your niche tight, and figure out how you can express it through the right visuals and text. If you’re selling leather handbags, for example, you’ll need a bold visual style that suits the product. If you’re offering consulting services, you may want something sleeker and more modern.
Write down the colors, words, and ideas that you associate with your service or product. To go a step further, start to craft a mission statement. A succinct paragraph that outlines your goals will inspire your work each day!
2. Determine a Target Audience
You’ll need to consider the demographic most likely to use your product or service. Skipping this step could mean that you invest a lot of time into courting the wrong people.
Make sure you figure out the age range and gender most likely to be interested in your product. Consider the geographic location, as well.
With a website, you can track data about your visitors. Google Analytics can be a helpful tool to see what kind of people are interacting with your content. If you’re missing the mark, adjust your content or branding to attract the right people.
If you run ads on Facebook or Pinterest, you can target them to a specific group. For services that have regional appeal, make sure that you’re limiting the geographic reach of your ad campaign.
3. Develop a Memorable Brand for Your Online Presence
When you’re trying to capture a digital audience, you need a distinctive visual style. This is your personal brand identity. It needs to be original, easy to read, and professional. If you’re not a graphic designer, look into hiring someone with design experience.
Plan on integrating your logo, slogan, and color scheme into all that you produce. Don’t change your tone from one platform to another. If you’re going with neutral tones to promote your consulting business, don’t plaster your website with magenta and yellow.
Consistency from one platform to the next will help your online audience connect the dots more easily. Use your logo as a profile picture on Instagram. Turn keywords from your slogan into a hashtag that you use on Twitter.
You should carry your brand into the workplace, too. Look here to find out how you can integrate digital signage into your entryway or conference rooms at work. You’ll reinforce your digital presence in the real world!
4. Maintain a Consistent Presence
When it comes to building an online presence, consistency is key. Posting once a week or neglecting social media platforms won’t get the job done. You need to create a regular schedule of posting across all social media platforms and websites.
You can set up a shared online calendar to ensure that you and your team members are posting most days of the week. With nearly all platforms, you can set up and schedule posts in advance, too. Aim to post in the middle of the afternoon since traffic will be higher then.
Delegate responsibilities. Choose an employee who’s good at writing snappy comments with well-placed hashtags. Ask them to manage the social media platforms.
Having bland copy will be a turn-off. But copy littered with emoticons and hashtags can be just as problematic. You want the tone of your posts to be appropriate to your service.
Keep the text playful if you’re targeting a younger crowd, and more formal for a legal service. Work with your social media team to strike the right balance across all platforms.
5. Use Strong Photos and Videos
Big blocks of text won’t help you reach your audience. Instead, you’re better off going with a heavier dose of photos and videos.
You can use your smartphone if you’re on a tight budget. Then turn to a free editing site to do color corrections or embed text. You’ll keep costs down without sacrificing quality.
But if food, decor, or other visual services are your focus, it may be worth opting for a better DSLR camera. You’ll get high-resolution images that will look stunning on your blog posts. Take in-progress images or document previews of new products to entice your audience to learn more!
For the amateur photographer, it’s worth setting aside the time to learn a few photography tricks. Practice cropping your images, taking steady shots, and finding the best lighting scenario. And try your hand at shooting videos, too.
Create behind-the-scenes videos to give a sneak peek of new products. Hosting an in-person seminar or gala? Ask a team member to document the event and upload clips to your YouTube channel.
6. Link to Your Website
When you’re posting on social media, make sure you’re intentional about providing links to your website. Your website should be the home base for your target audience. This is where people can go to browse products or learn more about your mission.
And be sure to maximize the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Sprinkle relevant keywords into blog posts, descriptions, and captions. You’ll help to direct traffic to your website. Use Google Trends to see what people are searching for online, and include these target words in your SEO.
Be aware that keywords can change over time. As a result, you’ll need to monitor and update your SEO practices from time to time. Likewise, you’ll want your website to look modern.
Hire a web designer to ensure that your website is clear and easy to navigate. Avoid loud colors or confusing menu bars. And make sure that your website looks good on mobile devices!
7. Engage with Your Digital Audience
When you make a connection with your audience, you gain the ability to win them over. When you’re posting on social media platforms, it’s critical to toss out questions that will engage your readers. And most importantly, you’ll want to respond to any questions promptly.
Assign a team member to manage your social media posts and news feed. Check comments for each post and offer clear and upbeat responses to any questions. Don’t be afraid to toss in a link to your website or products, either.
If someone retweets your post, thank them for it. Or when someone provides a positive review of your service, thank them for that. Your audience wants to know that you care about what they have to say.
Engagement isn’t just limited to social media or blog posts. Sending email blasts remains an effective way to keep in touch, too. Compose a monthly newsletter that highlights your successes, new products, or upgrades.
8. Update Your Profile
An easy way to attract attention — and stay current — is to update your profile on social media platforms. Do this a few times each year. Whenever you swap out a headshot or banner image, people will notice.
If you just hosted a successful conference, for instance, show it off. Swap out your current banner image for one that showcases the event. And if you can use video in place of a static image, do it!
If you’re offering a special promotion, change out your bio with a graphic that details what’s included. Add a link to your website, too. By doing this, you’ll show that you have an active online presence.
9. Provide Incentives to Build an Audience
When people know that they can get free stuff, they’ll show up. Take advantage of this by providing an incentive to visit your social media pages or website.
Offer free products or consultations as a reward for winning an activity. You could partner with another local organization, too, and offer a free resource or product through their business. In return, they could feature your business on their website or social media platforms.
What kind of activities should you offer your online audience? While you can do random drawings, try to choose activities or contests that build engagement. In other words, find ways to pull some participation out of your visitors.
One surefire way to get responses is to host a caption contest. Post a funny picture on Facebook and see what people come up with. Offer a freebie or discount on a product to the author of the winning caption!
Photo contests also are a popular choice. You’ll empower your online audience by allowing them to post their own creations. Create a theme, solicit photos, and then award one with a token of your appreciation.
10. Offer Subscriptions to Content
Once you start to amass an online audience, you can start to build loyalty through subscriptions. Have a weekly blog post? Set up your website so that people can be notified whenever the next one is ready.
Allow people to subscribe to your YouTube channel. Just be sure that you’re following through on the promise and posting new content. People may unsubscribe quickly if they see a dead channel.
You can build suspense, too. Consider offering exclusive content for a fee. This could take the form of an extra set of tips, a preview of a new product, or an opportunity to get insider advice.
When you have established yourself as a strong brand, these are great strategies to grow your digital audience. You’ll show that you value loyalty and want to reward those who stick with you.
11. Know Your Content
Knowing your content means that you’re posting content within your niche. When you start to move beyond your expertise, your audience may lose interest.
One strategy is to build up inventory so you always have something to post. For instance, you could create one folder on your laptop with product photos. Then you could create another folder for news topics related to your brand.
Designate different folders and stock them with relevant images. While you don’t have to post images of your products every day, you do need content that supports your brand.
Turn to infographics as a clear and visual way to explain topics related to your brand. If you’re a therapist, use an infographic that explains the benefits of seeking help for depression. Or if you’re a personal trainer, create an infographic that shows the value of hydration to weight loss.
12. Network with Others
If you’re using a blog to engage with your audience, seek out similar blogs. You want to find blogs that will appeal to a similar type of audience — but not completely overlap with what you offer.
Ask these similar bloggers what strategies work for them — and which ones don’t. Work to nurture relationships by sharing information and suggesting a mutual show of support. You could offer to write a guest post on their blog, for instance, and embed a link to your site or social media pages.
While you’re at it, investigate the competition. If you close yourself off from what your competitors are doing, you may be missing out on critical trends. It’s always better to be aware than to be shocked!
Reach Your Audience
Cultivating and maintaining a digital audience requires persistence and originality. Fortunately, if you develop a good brand identity and learn how to schedule your social media posts, you can be successful. You’ll be able to show off your latest products and services to an interested audience!
For more tips to help you create the business and lifestyle you deserve, check back for new and informative articles.