Building an audience

Once you’ve got your Facebook page established, it’s time to build an audience and connect with your existing customers (and potential new customers). Building an audience on any social media platform takes time and a consistent approach. Initially, you’ll feel like you’re talking to yourself, but over time, if you follow the basic principles in this guide, you’ll find that you establish an audience and start to drive engagement with your brand and product.

Focus on Your Target Audience

The first step to building an audience is figuring out who your target audience is and how best to reach them. When building an audience on social media, you want to be as specific as possible. It’s notoriously difficult to be everything to everybody, so it’s a much more effective strategy to try and be something to somebody.

If teenage girls are you core market, then you’ll want to use your Facebook page to try and capture the interest of that demographic. If your target market is parents and families, then you’ll want to take a different approach again. Ideally, you should have a specific audience in mind for your Facebook page and you should tailor your content to that audience.

Be Consistent

It’s important for your voice to be consistent, both within a platform and across the platforms you use. You should aim for quality over quantity on your Facebook page and your posts should consistently provide some value to your audience. Your posts should be beautiful, or interesting, or amusing.

Your posts should also be on-brand. This doesn’t mean that every post needs to be about a product or sale (in fact, only 20% of your posts should be direct sales messages), but it does mean that your posts should have some connection to your business. If your business runs kayaking tours, then your posts should have something to do with adventure, wilderness or water. If you sell clothes, then your posts should have something to do with fashion and style.

Post Regularly

Building an audience takes time and the most important thing to do when you are first getting started is ensuring that you post to your Facebook account regularly. Ideally, you should be sharing something to Facebook every day. For small businesses that are just getting started, this can seem daunting, but over time you’ll find that you develop an eye for interesting things to share on your Facebook page.

If posting once a day seems too difficult, you should still aim to have a consistent schedule and to stick to it. Once a week is a good place to start, but remember social media is a fast moving channel, and with 9 million Australians checking their accounts daily, one post a week gets old fast. Recent studies have shown that regular users spend 8.5 hours a week on social media, so a small investment of your time will pay of in audience engagement. By posting regularly, you will build an expectation among your audience that you will be posting frequently and your biggest fans will start to watch out for your latest posts. Each post is also an opportunity to gain likes, shares and comments, which can help to spread your brand to friends of friends of your core audience.

Encourage Engagement

Every time someone likes, shares or comments on one of your post, that post gains visibility with that follower’s friends on Facebook. By encouraging likes, shares and comments, you can increase the visibility of your posts with an audience beyond just those people who already follow your page. This visibility can, in turn, lead to new likes, shares and comments and new followers coming through to your main Facebook presence.

There are a number of ways that you can encourage engagement with your posts.

The first is to make sure that you’re creating compelling content. The more compelling and interesting your posts are, the more likely it is that people will click the like button or share the post with their friends.

You can also encourage engagement by asking questions of your followers. If you’re rolling out a new product line, you can post photos of two different coloured products and ask followers which one they prefer. Posts that encourage people to make choices and express individuality can generate a lot of likes and comments and can spread quickly beyond your initial audience and into wider social circles.

Encouraging discussions between your followers can also be effective. If a conversation is taking place between different fans of your business on your business page, then that raises the visibility of your page with a large number of people, without necessarily requiring a lot of time from the business owners.

Be Responsive

You should aim to respond to all customer questions and comments and to do so relatively quickly. If your followers see that you’re paying attention to your Facebook page and responding quickly to customers when they reach out to you via your Facebook presence, then that encourages customers to be more active on your page themselves. People are much less likely to ask you a question on Facebook if they can see a whole heap of unanswered questions sitting on your page when they log on.

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