BuildingCommunityTWIf there is a number one question that is asked by new businesses that are trying to get their social media plans off the ground it is, “How do I build a following?” There is also the how do I get people to follow me?

Believe it or not, this is an age old question. New business owners ask, how do they get people to come to their shop? Kids and adults alike ask how do I make friends? There is even the famous book How to Win Friends and influence people*.Which opens all the secrets to the universe on how you can influence people. So how did that book become so famous if there weren’t all these people asking the very same question

So we are not alone. Everybody asks that question. Everybody struggles with finding people who want their wares and pieces of art. It is almost a herculean task when you start to dwell upon the thought. Yet, it isn’t tough to find people. It does take a little sleuthing and a lot of effort.

Who are you trying to attract?

Getting the attention of your customers is a practice of patients. But you can build your following naturally.
via giphy.com

Let me cut your answer short because it isn’t everybody. If you aim for everybody you will most likely hit the wrong person. The wrong person is the person who comes in and asks a lot of questions and eventually walks away without buying anything. The wrong person is not your idea customer.

I am sure you have heard people talk about your ideal customer. Also called your avatar. This is who will buy your products. If you are just starting out and trying to think of who your customer is. Then start with “Who would buy my widget?” The answer the more than likely will come to your mind is I would buy that product or service. So, use yourself your likes and interests.

Your knowledge of your ideal customer will change as time goes on. Let us use an artist for this example.So Picasso, Our artist,  is starting to describe himself and his likes. He is an artist and artists often like other artists works. They often appreciate all the work and effort that goes into creating a beautiful painting or sculpture. Therefore Picasso goes and starts going to where artists hang out. He is seen at art shows visiting galleries often. But the artists themselves are not actually his customer.

This is because he finds out that there is a reason artist are called starving artists., They have no money. Well, Picasso is close to his ideal customer, but the artist themselves are not his target audience. So who is? With a little looking and thinking Picasso realizes that the patron he wants like his type of art. Therefore Picasso should be able to find them at the art shows. Art shows of people who make art similar to him.

So you sort of following the like of thinking now? you start at one place but eventually, your avatar adjusts as you learn more about who your target audience actually is. So our friend Picasso is able to visit the shows and talk to potential clients. These folks are then able to learn about his work.

In summary, If you are wanting to catch a whale don’t go fishing in a tailwater pit. This applies to your social media strategy too. If Picasso was trying to get people to his page. Start by looking at where his audience and potential customers go.

Talk to them

Talking with your follows will help grow that following and increase the trust in the relationship. In Social media, you have to be sociable. Odd to say that but you would be surprised how people don’t want to be sociable. They would rather lurk in the background and see what everybody else talks about. Maybe throwing in the random single word comment and be done with it.

That isn’t being sociable. That is being a wallflower. When it comes to conversations there is something special only you can contribute to the conversation. That is your point of view. Your particular way of addressing an issue may just be what helps you connect to your idea customer. If you get to know your target customer you are able to talk directly to them. Which helps build an even stronger connection.

Though, Reaching out does open up the chance that your hand will get slapped., and it will happen. You just may have the occasional person who scoffs at your view but remembers they are not your target audience so you don’t need to waste your time worrying about them., remember if you reach for the stars you will never wind up with handfuls of mud.

Help People

HelpingHandsThis goes along with being sociable. But people remember those who help them. This effect is part of the law of reciprocity You have given a person the attention and assistance they are needing. So, in return, they feel this driving need and desire to return the favor in whatever way they can. So, How would someone like our artist friend Picasso be able to help? He couldn’t just paint a picture to help a person out. But there are other avenues he could take.

Assisting a fledgling painter on your thoughts and musing of how to apply color or how you come up with a particular color for a young woman’s hair. Or you may be able to assist a person who is having problems deciding on a piece and if you are able to bestow your knowledge to a person who is buying their first piece of art. That experience will always be with them and they will be more likely to remember you. Again relationships are key here. the more relationships you build the more connections to your actual customers are also generated. There is always a way to help a person out and when you do you add another brick to your bridge to success.

So what are some ways you can help actively build a community on the different social networks?

Facebook

Let’s start with the biggest Social network, Facebook. There are several different avenues that can help you build a community of people who are wanting your expertise. They are hungry for your products. They thirst for your witty insights. How do you draw their attention to you?

Your profile is a good place to start If you want to be known as an artist you want to post artist topics. People have a difficult time of taking you as an artist if you only post images and videos of semi trucks all the time. People will think of you as a trucker instead of the cutting edge artist.

Then I would progress into your Page. if you do not have a Facebook page, get one. You are limited to profiles to 5000 friends. Yeah that is a lot and most of us will never reach that amount but you don’t want to put a roadblock in your fans way. A Facebook page also allows for people to find yours by topic. While profiles are primarily name based. Opening up the opportunities to a larger world is always better.

Once you have these two items together you are ready to start growing. The biggest key to growing your audience is consistency. So find a schedule for posting to your page. Mix that schedule with relevant live posts. The Live posts are posts that you craft and then press post. Make these posts as relevant to what your fans need and want as you can.  Facebook will show these posts to a higher audience. While you the scheduled posts will go to random fans.

Then don’t forget about Facebook Groups either. This is a great place to be sociable and help those that are needing your help. Since most groups are centered around a topic this will help you find where your customers are gathering.

Now with all of this together you have all the forms the speed of this growth is dependent on Facebook’s algorithm. If you want 10,000 new likes in 6 months from now. Then you will have to use Facebook ads. If you have the patience you can grow a very active community through organic growth. It will just take a lot longer.

Twitter

Creating a new profile on twitter is the easy part compared to building a community on the platform. It isn’t all that different than Facebook, except that you are able to jump into so many different conversations. Yeah, there is a lot of information flowing across your screen when you are following several people, but growing an audience is possible.

You now have to be sociable. Join in a conversation about your topic of interest. It will not be viewed as being rude if you join a conversation. just don’t jump in with, “buy my stuff!”. Add value to the topic at hand. People will follow you and your values and core beliefs.

Using Lists is a way to segment your conversations on topics. So if our Friend Picasso was to have a twitter account he may have a list of popular artists. and a list of Up and coming artists and maybe a list of art suppliers. This keeps the stream of information from overwhelming you and you can keep up on the different conversations.

You also want consistency in your posts. They don’t have to be at the same time but get on Twitter at least once a day. Say hello to a few folks become a “Regular” Thank folks for sharing. Give people shutouts for different reasons and in short socialize.

Instagram

Instagram is pretty much the same as Facebook and Twitter with one huge difference. Hashtags are huge on Instagram. When you post an image add a caption and use hashtags. use several hashtags. Use in the avenue of 10 relevant hashtags. Look at the size of the following for at least 3-5 of the hashtags you are using. This is because people do hashtag tours. they will click those hashtags and look to see what other pictures are listed in that particular tag.

Using Instagram is a perfect fit for people who are visual products like out artist friend Picasso. This way you can show off your work, or your Studio. Give people a view into the other side of the canvas. Let them know that you are human.

All of the tips that are available here apply to the different social media networks out there. the big problem, in reality, is not how to build a following. If everybody applied these strategies they could have a huge following of raving fans. Yet, People still ask and what they want to know is how do I build a following fast!.This you can’t do. If you want any quality and authenticity in your following it takes time. Building a good community is similar a business, it is built one person at a time. So if you keep pressing on you will build the best thriving community of raving fans you could dream of. If you rush it you will only have the wrong people, and that none of us want.

I am here!

Bryan Goodwin

Social Media Manager at Goodwin Social Media
Bryan has been in the social media field in one form or another. whether it is blogging, podcasting, or trying out the latest social network . There is a good chance that you will find him talking somewhere.
I am here!

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