Commanding Influence: Build A Strong Online Presence
It’s no secret that people love Facebook. Some are practically addicted to the thing. So how do you convince a stubborn audience to focus on your content instead of Farmville?
If you guessed, “Maintain a Facebook fan page”, you’re wrong. Here’s why. You may have noticed that the fans on your fan page are either friends and family, random people who don’t interact, or those crazy, obsessed fans that already follow you on every social media source available.
Why is this the Case?
Facebook is its own world. Those who choose to leave Facebook and venture out onto the Internet, to either educate or entertain themselves, don’t want to mix the two worlds. The last thing your readers want is their friends finding out they’re fans of “Personality Development Blog” or “Daily Menopause Tips.”
Before I dissect this issue, there are four questions you need to answer before making a plan to market to this new audience:
- Does this audience know they need my help?
- Does this audience want help?
- What are the biggest problems this audience encounters that I can help them with?
- Has this audience evolved with the economy and/or technology?
Once you have a good idea of what this new audience wants, all you have to do is tailor your marketing platform to their interests without letting them know you’re actually marketing to them. I’ll explain how near the end.
College Students: The Classic Example
About a year ago I decided to start a blog for college students. Being a senior in college, I thought this would be easy. I decided to go after a niche market of students interested in using new technology to aid them in their studies – but there was a problem.
The college students of today have grown up on Facebook since its inception just over 6 years ago, and to many, it’s their home online. It’s how they keep up with all the facets of their social life, which we all know besides going to class, studying and taking exams, takes top priority.
You’d be surprised how many students keep Facebook as their browser homepage; so naturally, my target audience was stuck on the world’s largest social networking site leaving me with an arduous task.
Do Your Research
Since college students spend the majority of their free time on Facebook, you have to work extra hard to market to them. When they do venture off Facebook they don’t go very far. They tend to go to sites such as YouTube or CollegeHumor, but they don’t particularly use Google to search for things they need.
Instead, this generation is much more likely to search for things they want. For example, students are much more interested in college parties than “college help,” “college websites” or “college blogs.”
Knowing Your Audience
The college student example can be applied to any audience that:
- Grew up with technology.
- Is desensitized to advertising.
- Shows more focus on wants than needs.
If you don’t know your target audience well, their bandwidth for dealing with marketing is extremely narrow. Once they feel they are being marketed to, they unequivocally tend to shut down. So how do you market to this difficult segment?
Relevancy. In order to reach this audience, you have to be as targeted as possible with your message. Since your audience is busy commenting on photos, looking for new games and just busy having fun, it will take time and effort in order to get noticed.
Tips and Strategies
- Understand how your site is better and different than other sites. Can you think of specific problems that you solve well and better than others? Finding a niche may help gain some initial traffic. I’m sure you recognize that word travels fast once you generate some initial success.
- Turn your audiences wants into needs. When I started CampusByte, I knew my audience was largely made up of iPhone users. I wrote several articles targeting students with iPhones. It was only a matter of time until Google picked one up. I now rank on the first page for “Must Have iPhone Apps.” Your audience will take the bait and stick around for the other content because you were able to satisfy their initial search.
- Encourage interaction. Facebook allows users to fully interact with their friends by commenting, “liking”, sharing and subscribing. If your site allows for similar actions, your new reader is much more likely to stick around. Encourage new readers to sign up for updates and make it clear that you want them commenting on your blog.
- Don’t let online tools be the only means of gaining customers. Get published – magazine, newspaper, newsletter, whatever. Let people know who you are and more importantly, listen to them! Put up posters. Sponsor an event. Beg. You should be working now to be part of your new readers lives – all of these are great opportunities to reach out.
Organic SEO, good design and relevant authoritative content go hand in hand in attracting visitors to your site.