Learning how to connect with your online audience is a crucial part of running your business. The internet can be a wonderful place to find leads and attract new customers, but it is full of competition.
So how do you stand out among this ever-growing crowd? Engagement and use of social media positively is the answer. When attracting people to your brand through social media engagement, you should use psychology to your advantage.
You can do this by creating emotion and personal connections to your brand. Think about the brands you love and your experience with them. If you have only positive experiences, you will go back time and time again. If they care about your needs and expectations and respond to them, you will return and tell other people.
You can create brand enthusiasm by connecting with people and potential customers on a personal level. Use social media to show your company has a soul. Show humor, compassion, and empathy in your posts. Your fans will relate and become loyal customers.
Learning how to connect with your online audience is essential. But, it is just as crucial to understanding the importance of connecting with your online audience. Your online audience is not just causal browsers of social media. Each one of these individuals represents a possible customer. If you want to turn leads into customers or casual customers into loyal customers, connecting to them is vital.
A study called Social Network Sites and Well Being: The Role of Social Connection has shown that social media users are benefitted from meaningful social connections. This means that the more connected a possible customer feels towards your brand, the happier and more receptive they will be.
Connecting to your audience allows you to understand them better. For instance, the more connected you are to your social media base, the easier it will be to understand their wants and needs. You will also be able to gauge their reactions to your business, products, and changes. This will allow you to adjust what you are doing to improve your business and customer relations.
So the question this leads you to is, how do you positively connect to people on social media through your brand? There are many different things you can do online to accomplish this. Here are a few examples:
- Ask For Opinions: People like to be involved or feel their voice matters. Give them what they want. Ask what they think of your new product, a funny ad, or what direction they like your brand to go.
- Use Their Feedback: Asking for someone’s opinion and ignoring their input can backfire. Make sure you utilize some of the feedback you get. Then post about it. Let the customers know their input is valuable.
- Give Unique and Valuable Insights or Information: Give valuable info that customers can only get from you, not your competitors.
- Use Images: People like HD photos, infographics, and other interactive media. Use this as part of your social media campaign.
Benefits of Improved Audience Relationship
Now that you understand how to connect to your online audience and know it can be beneficial, you might want examples of how this can benefit you. Creating personal connections will help you understand your customer’s changing wants and needs. You will be able to adapt to shifting markets, allowing you to stay ahead of your competitors by creating a genuine connection with your customers. Understanding your customer is one of the most significant advantages any business can have.
There are a variety of benefits to connecting to your customers. Here are a few to consider:
- Gaining Trust: Everyone wants to shop or spend their money with a business they can trust. The most crucial factor in running a successful business is credibility. Customers often check a business’s online presence before going to their store. This is why you need to be credible, have a large online footprint, and stay on brand.
- Improved Advertising: Being as trustworthy is the first step to successful advertising. Branding is an essential concept in today’s business world. Without a brand that people recognize, advertising falls flat. This is why advertising and branding go hand-in-hand. If your marketing efforts are successful, you must be trustworthy and true to your brand.
- Going Global: Using social media can expand your customer base. You can move from a local or national market to a global market. Some benefits of going global include increasing your revenue and market share and building a relationship with more customers.
- Networking and Partnership Possibilities: Besides attracting new customers and possible leads, creating an excellent social media footprint can lead to additional business opportunities. These benefits can include networking with people in your business or adjacent fields, finding local and global partners for future projects, and even finding future workers and thought leaders in your industry.
Using social media is essential when trying to figure out how to connect with your online audience. But, it is essential to realize that not all social media interactions will benefit you and your business.
Bad social media can fall into two categories – harmful content and not enough traction. Although social media is essential, most companies will not start various social media channels on day one and have thousands of followers the next day. Building up social media accounts can take time.
Although this is expected, it can negatively impact your business. When potential customers see a low number of social shares and engagement to a post, they view this negatively. This can remove any credibility that they already have assigned to the business. The company Taloon used A/B testing to show that by eliminating the ability to share on social media, click-through rates actually rose by 11.92%.
This does mean that you should not engage on social media. Yet, it should be understood that not all interactions will be positive for your business.
Things can still go wrong even if you have a huge following and outstanding engagement levels. With a large platform, you will likely receive negative feedback. Not all people will like your brand, your personality, your products, or the values you represent. Other issues can also arise. Some examples include dealing with trolls (people trying to create discord) and allowing competitors to easily study your business model.
Social media also takes a lot of work. This can include hiring extra staff and dedicating time and resources to campaigns. Companies that have successful social media platforms do not just randomly post. They create posting calendars for each different platform. They also create elaborate campaigns. Social media can be positive for your brand, but it also takes time and energy.
How Do You Create a Better Online Audience?
Learning how to connect with your online audience is not enough. You need to create a better online audience. This means you must learn how to attract the correct kind of people to your social media channels. Drawing the right type of audience can be accomplished by doing two things well:
- Connect to Your Audience
- Produce Good Content Marketing
If you can successfully master those two things, you will attract a better online audience. Let’s look at each one individually.
You have an audience as soon as you have at least one person reading and engaging with your content. Now you need to learn how to connect with them. Here are some easy ideas to try:
- Ask thought-provoking questions. This will help with engagement.
- Be Yourself. Understand people want relationships with humans, not companies.
- Be Clear in Your Intentions. This can include what’s at stake, why you care, or providing a clear visual reference.
Now that you know how to connect, it is time to create stellar content. Here are a few ideas:
- Questions: You should accept and answer questions and ask your audience questions.
- Use Emotions Positively: Some examples of this include having a positive mindset, empathy, and listening before responding.
- Let Your Audience Know You: In today’s market, customers care just as much about what a company stands for and their personal and professional values as their products. A company’s values and how they enforce them can make or break a company.
- Community: People are not just looking for a post. They want to belong. Start online groups, talk to customers and listen to what they have to say. If appropriate, have live, in real life, events too.
- Be Genuine: Disengenuious behavior is easy to spot, and it can hurt the longevity of your company. Use real, genuine emotions in your posts. If your fake, they will see it.
Every business and company operating today has asked how to connect with your online audience at one point or another. To design their products, some brands have made it their purpose to have real connections and use the customer’s experience, wants, and needs.
Online platforms are essential to businesses. If you are a numbers or statistics person, you might be interested in these stats:
- 64% of consumers want brands to connect to them
- 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands when the CEO of that brand is active on social media
- 91% of people believe in social media’s power to connect people
Some brands have always understood the power lies in their customers’ hands, not theirs. They have used this core belief to create happy, engaged customers and successful companies. Here are some examples you may want to study further:
- Starbucks: They have a combined follower total between Facebook and Instagram of 53.3 million people. They excel at giving their followers a personal experience online. Interaction is key.
- Lay’s: Lay’s has always been a brand of the people. They use a few different tactics for high engagement. One is fun. They have two puppets they use to create video responses to their followers. Second, they crowdsource. A lot. They have competitions for new flavors and promote hashtags and visuals.
- Chipotle: They have been successful by taking a risk with TikTok. They were one of the first brands to start using TikTok, and their innovation proved fruitful. Their trend challenges on this platform have been viewed hundreds of millions of times.
- Disney: Their theme parks are known as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” And where does that happiness come from? Understanding and catering to the customer are every need, focusing on creating an experience people can not get elsewhere. They also refer to customers as guests.
Keeping Brand Identity Genuine
When learning how to connect with your online audience, being genuine is the key. Most consumers know that the brand is trying to sell them something. Businesses can market and advertise; consumers just was them to be genuine and consistent in their branding. If being authentic is the goal, how is this to be accomplished? Here are some easy steps to create an authentic and genuine social media presence for your company.
- Define Your Brand: It is hard to be authentic if you do not know what you are being faithful to. Create a brand guide that includes who your brand is, core values and beliefs, brand messaging, and preferred logos, colors, and fonts. All people working on social media for your company should follow this guidebook.
- Keep It Simple: When your messaging gets too long, creative, or cute, this is a red flag. Some consumers will think you are trying to hide something or portray something you are not. Be straightforward in your messaging.
- Showcase Your Employees: Introduce valued employees (with their permission) on social media. This will show people you are real people that they can identify.
- Be Transparent: If you want to come off as authentic, be authentic. Do not try to hide anything. Share, be unique, be passionate and tell stories.
- Share Your Story: Open up about why you started the company, believe in its products and the passion it gives you.
Connecting with your online audience is an integral part of running a business. It is essential to understand that social media can play a prominent role in the rise or fall of a company in today’s world. Even though social media and having an online audience seem simple, this is not always the case. It takes time to build a following. It is imperative to be careful what you post and how you present your company as a simple misstep could have long-ranging consequences. The most important things you can do are take social media seriously, put your customers first, be authentic, and have a plan. Like every other aspect of running your business, you need to research, plan what you want to do, and execute it. Just because almost everyone uses social media does not mean running a successful campaign is easy! Take your time, be yourself, and always think about your customers.