Building a large – and high-quality — social media presence is an important marketing tool for both well-established and startup businesses. But you don’t have to hire an experienced social media manager to build and grow a loyal following on social media. In this blog and upcoming entries we’ll examine the basics of building an effective social media presence that can help businesses grow their primary audience and create new channels of revenue and web traffic.

Speak directly to your target audience

Relevance is the key to good response rates. We are all on content overload, and it’s crucial that you provide good, targeted content — social media marketing strategies that lack content focused on a targeted audience fall on deaf ears.

Being an expert in your area is one of the most important things you can offer social followers. Focus on a niche, and stay in that lane. You’ll position your messaging to be heard amongst all the noise and clutter in social media.

Consider these key points prior to and when crafting social content:

  • Sketch out target audience personas. Put faces, names and identities to your target audiences to determine psychographics (how they think and feel) and establish the type of voice/language you should use.
  • Analyze your current audience. Use Facebook/social media page insights to determine WHO your audience is and make sure you craft appropriate messaging.
  • Use paid targeting to reach your target audience. The goal is to craft page content that speaks to current audiences so you become a relevant and trusted resource. You can engage and grow your target audiences by paying Facebook to display targeted content.
  • Consider voice and aesthetic. Content should include words and language that resonates with your target and current audiences. Make sure all visual elements align and resonate as well.

All content and posts should speak directly to audiences interested in your products or services. Start with your brand and your consumer and ask:

  • What is unique to your offer?
  • What do you talk about in your marketing?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is their biggest pain, and how do you solve it?

Self-promotion of your business or services is only one small piece of a successful social strategy — sharing targeted and relevant content from industry experts and media influencers positions you as a trusted industry resource and thought leader. This includes videos, blogs, podcasts, Tweets and other content that helps boost your online presence and broaden your digital footprint.

Don’t forget to insert your relevant target keywords, such as those bought in paid search. These keywords should be derived from your unique brand promise and target needs and should flow naturally throughout your content – no keyword stuffing. This is the type of content that consistently hits targeted touch points and leads to conversions.

Building a solid, engaged social audience takes time and dedication — it won’t happen with one piece of content. In fact, recent studies show most first-page search results are three years old. However, there is good news: once you achieve first-page status, you are there to stay. Finally, it’s important to create a content development schedule, stick to it, and routinely populate your social platforms with targeted messaging. In time, you’ll realize solid returns on your investment as your social presence expands.