3 ways to build a profitable social media audience

Oct 5, 2016

Clamoring to get the most followers on social media doesn’t always translate to a profitable social media audience. It actually can create a lot of noise instead of driving profitable traffic.

Social media platforms are a way to connect with people without the restraints of proximity. A profitable social media audience is composed of specific followers not just anyone and everyone. Imagine your company’s social media account as a storefront. You want potential buyers looking through your windows not loiterers, right?

No matter what social media platform you are using it will work best when your foundation is solid, meaning your audience cares about what you are doing. Your social media audience needs to be built of 3 main groups: influencers and experts relevant to your brand, decision makers in your target market, and the field agents of those decision makers.

The beauty of the social platform is the sheer amount of people you can reach which happens to be the same obstacle in getting these influencers and decision makers to listen to you. So how do you build a social media audience that will give you a return on your investment? Give them a reason to follow you, tailor to how or where they are listening to you, and listen and engage with the right people.

Give them a reason to listen: Post Relevant Content

I see far too many companies posting about irrelevant content just to keep up with random trends. I worked with a car dealership that posted an “I hate Mondays” meme every week on Facebook. The social media manager thought it was funny but it sent the message that the company is lazy.

Ask yourself if the trend is just random or can it add value to your social media strategy? Sometimes that answer is yes, it can add value. On National Dog Day there were many companies posting about their employee’s dogs or dogs that were brought into the office. It gave the reader some insight into the company and engaged employees.

Jumping on a trend will get you visibility to a wide audience which may happen catch the eye of your target market. Get creative and route the trend back to your topic of influence. Don’t avoid trends, but do consider if it is worth posting, or better yet worth reading from your target’s perspective.

Tailor your content to where they are listening: Understand the Platform

There are dozens of social media platforms available, but you don’t need to be on all of them. In my opinion there are 3 core platforms that are beneficial for healthcare IT companies: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Other notable platforms are Instagram (if you have the right content), Pintrest, and Google+.

When choosing which platforms you want to use for your company’s social strategy make sure you understand each. If you are not using the platform yourself I recommend starting your own account.

Using the platform daily helps you understand what type of content is being posted and what content is working. Then it is easy to see what type of content you and others like to see on each different platform.

Each platform is unique and while one person might be on multiple platforms it doesn’t mean they go to each to look for the same thing. LinkedIn is used for professionals and companies looking to connect in a professional way. Typically LinkedIn is where you want to have a formal voice where Instagram is where people look for visual content. Think about what type of content you want to see and interact with on each platform to help tailor the company’s account content.

Engage with the right people: Find the Industry Influencers and Connectors

Finding the right people can be difficult. Start by growing which accounts your company will follow. Vendors, publications that run positives stories about your company, and other industry leaders of interest are a great place to start. Don’t forget to check out what accounts your competitors are following!

Always thinking from the viewer’s perspective, build up your accounts to be perceived as prestigious to others when they come to view. Follow only legitimate accounts that are leaders, active influencers, and clients or users. You will find accounts will begin to follow yours back as long as you are posting good, relevant content.

Starting a following is where the nerve-wracking guesswork beings. No reason to get nervous yet; in fact you probably already have a following. Email lists, followers on other platforms, and employees are all potential followers that are already engaging with your company in a different way. If you are nervous about asking your email followers to follow yet another place to get your content, remember that they already said they like you. Prove them right by continuing to feed them content that is relevant and beneficial for them.

Growing your company’s profitable social media audience is important but typically a little slower. Since you are already posting good, relevant content and using trends wisely you will see some followers trickle in. Gain more visibility by posting or sharing others content. Tag them in your posts along with using hash tags. Try using search terms to find people talking about problems your company can fix and join in on relevant conversations.

Social media is not a monologue or the old school marketing tactic of talking at your audience. Now we have the chance to engage through dialogue with our audience in real time. Capitalize on this opportunity to drive profit through a profitable social media audience rather than attracting loiterers.

Ken Krause

An award-winning writer for his work in advertising, marketing and public relations, Ken Krause has a diverse background that includes more than 30 years of combined agency- and client-side experience. Ken has in-depth experience in technology products and services, healthcare, supply chain, consumer electronics and other vertical markets. He previously served as Vice President of Content Services at Tech Image, where he spent 14 years. Ken also served as Marketing Communications Manager at ASAP Software (now a part of Dell). His earlier career includes stints as an Account Manager at Marketing Support, Inc. and McKee Advertising and as a Senior Copywriter for Meyer/Fredericks.