One of the best pieces of advice that I have gotten so far is ‘not to build my audience on social media’. This statement is not meant to discredit the power that social media has on your blog or business, instead it means that your traffic and income should not be dependent on your social media followers.
One look at your Google Analytics account and you will see the low percentage of traffic that results from social media sources.
Furthermore, SEO and ranking are a dangerous foundation for building your blog or business, as a simple Google Algorithm change can move you from page 1 to page 10 in just a day. Now that I have scared you a bit, let me give you the best way of growing your blog or business- BUILD RELATIONSHIPS!!
If you have a loyal audience base that is constantly visiting your blog and sharing your content, you are heading in the right direction. This is because a loyal audience is not put off by algorithm changes or the frequency of your Twitter updates. Their loyalty is dependent on the quality of content that you provide, and the relationship that you share.
Think of it like this; if I create a great piece of content and share it on social media, I will probably get 100 people to visit my site, 40 will read my entire my post, 5 will subscribe, and the rest will disappear never to be seen again.
Alternatively, once I share this same piece of content with my loyal audience (e.g. via a subscription letter), I can guarantee that 70-80% will read it, share it, comment on it, and even buy the products on offer. Building relationships is therefore the best way to create a strong blog, business, and brand.
To build relationships you will need to connect with your audience through two-way interaction, and that is what we will be talking about below.
The 12 Steps of Building A Relationship with your Audience
1. Identify your audience
Before you build a relationship with your audience, you need to know who they are. After all, if you do not know who you are speaking to, how can know what to say or how to say it? If you already have an established blog, you can use your Google Analytics account to determine who your audience is.
What gender are they? How old are they? Where do they live? What career do they have? What income bracket do they fit into?
Once you identify who your audience is, you will know how to interact with them. On the other hand, if you are just starting out, you have the freedom to define your target audience. You can decide who you want to talk to, and who you want to provide content, products, and services for.
2. Understand your audience
Once you know who your audience is, it is time to try and understand them. What makes them happy? What makes them annoyed or angry? What questions do they need answered? What information are they searching for? Which products and services do they prefer? What problems are they having trouble with?
Once you understand your audience, you can cater to them more efficiently. For example, I have a blog geared towards small business, start-ups, entrepreneurs and bloggers.
Once I realized that many bloggers kept on asking about plug-in’s for their WordPress accounts, I created a whole post with the plug-in’s that they require. Now they have a quick and easy guide which they can use when setting up WordPress.
When you are trying to understand your audience, look at other sites similar to yours to identify what they are providing in terms of help. And then provide twice as much value as your competitors.
3. Learn the topics
Have you ever been on the line with customer service and the person on the other end of the line is of no help? If you have, then you know that there is nothing worse than listening to someone who has no idea what they are talking about.
Your audience will feel the same way if you are providing help on topics that you know little about. So if you are a car salesman who sees that your audience is asking a lot of questions about the new Ford, do thorough research so that you can answer all their questions accurately.
And if you can’t explain it to your grandma, try again.
4. Find out where your audience resides online
The easiest way to interact with your audience is using the internet. But where exactly is your audience active? Are they on Twitter, Warrior Forum, Facebook, Yahoo, or all of the above? You need to find out.
You can achieve this using forum search engines like Omigli and Boardreader, social media search engines like Twitter Search, and notification services like Google Alerts.
These tools above allow you to input certain keywords that are relevant to your industry, and once you input the keywords you will be directed to the forum, social media platform, or blog where this keyword is being discussed.
Once you know where you audience resides, you can take part in step 5.
5. Engage with your audience
Now that you know where your target audience is, you need to engage them so that you can draw them back to your site. You can do this by providing help to questions posed on forums, commenting on related blogs, and replying to comments on your social media account.
Remember to provide genuine value while you are engaging with your audience, as no one wants to interact with someone who is just half-assing their way through a conversation. As you keep on engaging with your audience on forums, blogs, and social media platforms, people will notice you and then follow your link back to your own blog.
Engaging with your audience also allows you to understand their needs better.
6. Create content for your audience
Once you have learned the behavior and demands of your audience, creating content should be a breeze. You can now tailor content to your audience, and customize it to their skill level. You do not want to be creating jargon that requires them to use a thesaurus, and on the other hand you do not want to talk down to them.
You can also deliver the products and services that your audience wants, in the way that they want.
7. Pay attention to feedback
One thing that people forget is to monitor their content and sales effectively. What is the purpose of all your hard work if you do not know whether you have achieved the results that you were hoping for?
That is why you should monitor your traffic and revenue; to see if your content and products are being received well. In the process you can learn how to improve your message, delivery, and product selection, for maximum results.
Also remember to respond to both positive and negative feedback, as that is how you grow.
P.S. If your audience knows that you are listening to them, they will be more likely to remain loyal.
8. Let your audience see the real you
Let me prefix this by saying that your audience does not want to learn about the more intimate details of your life. However, they are interested in talking to a person and not a robot. That is why I encourage you to share personal details about yourself or your business, in relation to the topic at hand.
Talk about your successes, challenges and failures, in order to become relatable to your audience. Show transparency so that you can bond with your audience, but only include essential elements; a long winded story will not benefit either side.
9. User generated content
User generated content is a fantastic way to go. For example, if you have just published a book, ask your audience to send in pictures of them reading it. Simply put, find a central theme that involves your business or blog, and then ask your audience to send pictures, videos, or comments around this theme. You can use this content to create social media and blog posts.
In this way, your audience is no longer passive, instead they are actively engaging with you and what you have to offer. And because people enjoy following trends, you should see an increase in traffic and income.
10. Host a Q&A
When you are in a relationship with someone, you learn more about the other person by asking them questions. It therefore goes that you will learn more about your audience by talking to them directly. Host a Q&A session on your social media account or via a webinar, and then allow your audience to ask questions.
In this way you can provide them with great insight while showing your expertise in a certain area. You can also establish yourself as the go-to person for a particular topic/subject. Q&A’s also allow you to build one on one relationships with your audience, which is what you need to do.
11. Ask for audience input
If I was a kitchen appliance manufacturer who was looking to create a product to sell to you, how would I know which design features you prefer? Simple; I would ask for your input. This way I can learn directly from my target audience what they want, meaning no more wasting time and money trying to figure it out.
When you ask your audience for their input when you are creating content, products, and services, you get direct access to smart ideas and feedback which will be beneficial to you. Asking for input also allows you to generate marketing information which can be used at a later date.
12. Say thank you
Common courtesy is lacking in our world today, and people forget that a simple thank you goes a long way. This is especially true if you are a small business with a small following. It is not too much work to recognize the people who are engaging with your posts, and helping to promote your business and brand.
So if you see that a few people are always liking, commenting and sharing your content, how about you give them a simple thank you. In this way your audience knows that their efforts are being recognized, and they will be more likely to respond positively to your content, products, and services.
Strong relationships are not built overnight, they require consistency, commitment, and honesty. Using the steps above you can cultivate lasting relationships with your audience, in which you provide quality content and products to them while receiving constant traffic and income in return.
So if you are looking to invest your time and effort in your blog or business, this post will show you where your time and effort are best spent.
Remember to drop me a comment and let me know if this helped you, and share this with your friends because sharing is caring. Also subscribe to the newsletter above to receive weekly newsletters from Business Broken Down.
Have a great week, and I hope to see you again in a few days.