Social Media Audience Building: Fish Where The Fish Are

How To Attract Your Audience On Social Media

Social Media Audience BuildingIs your social media building your prospect and customer base?

Let me first tell you a story that may seem unrelated before we dive into what you need to do for successful social media audience building.

During my first trip to Patagonia in Chile, one of our activities was fishing since it’s known for its outstanding fish.

The small Chilean rowboat style fishing boats were colorfully painted and moored in a lake adjacent to our hotel. The guide told us to return at 7:00 pm to fish.

Not understanding the first thing about fishing, we insisted on leaving earlier so we could shower and change before happy hour and dinner. He tried hard to convince us our timing was suboptimal, but we wouldn’t be persuaded.

So we showed up at the dock at 4:00 pm to fish. Wearing bright orange life vests while throwing baited fishing rods, the guide trolled the entire lake. After an hour of our fruitless pursuit where we didn’t even see a fish we decided to go back.

Lesson learned: To catch fish, you must fish where and when the fish are around; not when it’s convenient for your schedule!!!

The same holds true for social media audience building. Businesses tend to be active on social media when they’re at work, not when their target audience, both B2C and B2B, is active on social media. Your customers are people with personal lives; many of whom consider social media to be a personal activity.

Social media audience building: What you need to know

With social media, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Don’t just make assumptions about your target audience. Instead see the world through their eyes based on their experiences and colored by their needs.

1. Know your customer.

Go beyond the basic demographics and psychographics. Create a fully fleshed out marketing persona.

2. Understand your audience’s behavior patterns.

Get to know how they use social media and gather information, especially purchase-related content. Take the time to appreciate who they turn to for advice and input for buying decisions. To this end, craft a social media persona.

3. Be aware of the devices and channels your prospects and their influencers use.

Social media and content marketing aren’t a one-size fits all proposition. Know what type of device your audience favors for different types of content consumption and their timing.

Social media audience building: Where to find schools of fish

Here are 10 actionable tips to help your social media audience building efforts.

1. Find the social media channels where your key audiences spend their time.

Don’t just run to be an early settler on the latest social media platform. Explore all of the social media options. Check out where your competitors and close substitutes have built their outposts.

2. Participate on the social media platforms your customers use when they’re active.

Just posting when you’re at work doesn’t maximize your social media presence. You’re using social media only as a one-way publishing channel. This goes against social media’s multi-dimensional approach.

Instead, spend some time to determine when your target market is active and engage with them then!!!

Hint: People check in on social media all day long as a filler activity. BUT they’re most active during me-time, after school or work, in the evening, and on the weekends.

3. Establish your social media bonafides.

Be real. Share and share alike.

Understand that social media is about the community not about your business.

Integrate your website and contact information into each social media profile. Also cross link your presence.

4. Lure prospects in with good content bait.

Offer your audience high quality content. Subtext: provide them with high protein content they actively seek to answer their needs.

Don’t overlook the power of entertaining them. Everyone needs some levity and gossip. (When I was at The Economist, the obituary was consistently one of the most read articles since it was their version of gossip.)

The objective is to pay-it-forward. Don’t think “WIIFM” (aka: What’s in it for me). That’s the wrong mentality for social media.

5. Integrate your branding into everything you do on social media.

Even if you’re a small company, be consistent with your 360° brand across social media platforms. Your firm will appear larger and more professional.

This is a great way to add personality without being too personal. Peg Fitzpatrick does a great job of this by creating a eye-catching visual when she shares a piece of content. Social Media Audience Building example

6. Share other people’s stuff.

Remember social media isn’t about you! Shouting ME, ME, ME doesn’t cut it on social media.

Back to the point above, pay it forward. Don’t expect immediate direct results.

The objective is to get the attention of the people whose content you’re sharing and to be helpful. You want to be viewed as the go-to source of information. This positions you as a thought leader, growing your audience.

7. Ride the news and latest trends.

Take advantage of trending topics. The objective is to add to and enhance the multi-directional conversation.

This doesn’t mean me-too articles and posts. Nor do you want to be viewed as pushing fake or empty information.

Only 20% of Twitter content was true information based on Twitter research related to the Boston Marathon bombing.

  • 29% of the content was rumors and fake content.
  • 51% of the content was generic opinions and comments.

8. Catch the seasonal migration.

Tap into seasonal topics and accepted hashtags to broaden your reach.

Also, participate in memes that apply to your business and entertain. This doesn’t mean posting cat videos just because they attract a lot of shares.

9. Join social media gatherings.

Whether it’s a Google Hangout or a Twitter Chat, socialize. This is a great way to broaden your reach and meet new people.

Even if you’re an introvert, realize that no one can see you on the other side of your computer screen if you don’t want them to.

Act like you’re somebody important. But as your mother taught you, mind your manners. (Unless of course, you’re Jason Falls or Erika Napoletano!)

10. Maintain baseline activity.

Keep your presence active on a continuous basis. Don’t build up your audience and then go on vacation. Use scheduling tools to keep your presence alive.

Also, don’t be afraid to show that you’re human. Show that you’re personal with an occasional photo of a non-work event or activity.  This subtly explains to your followers what’s happening.

Understand that whatever you post on social media will be public regardless of what your privacy settings are. So count to 10 and consider the implications of your personal posts on your professional standing and brand.


Social media audience building is a lot like fishing. You have to be where the fish are, when they’re active.

Take the time to build your social media following and related audience by using a mix of methods to reap the long term results.

What is your favorite social media audience building tip and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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