There is a lot to be said about being where your audience is. And I stand behind that theory 100%.
But if you are only where your audience is when you first started out, and have just kept yourself there, you will have no idea if they are in other locations as well, as their interests and skillsets broaden or something in their life changes.
For example, if you started out using facebook as your main social media platform to connect with your audience because that is where they already were, then hop on to Linkedin 2x a week to see if you are seeing more of your target audience migrating there as well.
If you don’t see them on there, try a different one. Search for some of their names and see how active they are on there. Many people have accounts with all the big ones, but that doesn’t mean they are really active on them all. Or, just do a survey and ask your existing prospects and customers which platform they spend their time on in terms of social media or forums if it’s not on Facebook.
If your target audience is like the majority of people online, where their attention span is short and boredom comes quick, then I suggest you do what I call ‘social media hop’.
Most individuals participate on various mediums to connect with others and learn. No one is only on one platform these days, simply because of the many great ones available and the different feel to each place.
It’s rare to find someone only on Facebook or only in one forum. They are usually on at least 2 -3 other places consistently, even if one is still their primary one.
There are 3 reasons you want to engage with your target audience in multiple places
1st: You might find they act or respond differently depending on each medium. The tone of each place sort of does this automatically with people in a way. Like you are just a tad more professional on Linkedin than you are on Facebook – have you ever noticed that? 🙂 That allows you to get to know another side of them. And the more you know about your target audience, the better.
For example: John is very active on your Facebook fanpage, but his comments are short and vague. But get him talking about sales and he is very specific and shares a lot/writes long posts as you discover by realizing he is in 3 groups on Linkedin around that sales topic. See, how much that tells you about John in just one moment that you would never have known by his participation on your Facebook page?
Social media has many advantages. Utilize these platforms for what they can provide for you, besides a way to connect with people.
2nd: To expand your outreach. By participating on a different platform, you will expose yourself to new people. As your message and ideas are displayed to others and you begin to grow a large audience on that new platform, you will pick up stray followers.
Even if these ‘stray’s wouldn’t be the people you would consider your ideal target audience, they might be friends or colleagues or peers with those that would be, so they might end up referring you. So it’s worth your time.
3rd: Another reason you want to social media hop is to expose your existing audience to that other platform. Some people’s target market are comfortable being where they are. If you are interested in really serving your prospects and customers, it’s your job to help expand their minds and open them to new opportunities.
Some people will only go to a new platform if they have a reason, especially if they don’t have any connections yet on that other platform. So help break them out of their comfort zone and get them to enjoy participating on a new one. One way to do that is to bring them over from your primary to the secondary platform.
For example, if your primary is Facebook and you want to expand yourself on Linkedin more, participate in a group discussion on Linkedin. Then in your Facebook status update, briefly mention your discussion and include a link directly to it. But don’t just stop at including a link. Give them a strong reason to click that link. Entice them, intrigue them, challenge them.
Ex: Ask them if they agree with your comment or point of view and encourage then to share their thoughts on the discussion topic as well. This way, you are bringing them over there to jump in and engage instantly in the conversation with you. Challenge them to answer one question on Quora like you did. You get the idea.
Tip: It’s better to quickly immerse someone into the platform, rather than to say: “Go visit me on Linkedin – I am more active on there now” or what have you.
I used Facebook and Linkedin as just simple examples. But this could be any social media or Web 2.0 platform. It could be a forum based on your topic or industry, Twitter, Youtube, Quora, Pininterest, etc.
Again, keep your primary still your primary. You don’t want to force people to be on a different platform if that is not where they are naturally at, most of their time.
Just occassionally (my suggestion is 2x a week) get them over to that other platform in a creative way.
This allows you to engage with them, while also taking advantage of each different platforms features that will help you expand your name/brand, knowledge and message to others. So this doesn’t really have to include extra time, this can be part of the time you allocate for social media.
Social media hop to serve yourself better, and serve your audience more dynamically.