Thanks to social media, small businesses have never had more tools to help build their audience.

Knowing that is the easy part.

Knowing how to use these tools effectively — that’s where things get a bit more complicated.

Using social media to build your audience starts with being active in all the places your audience already hangs out.

For most businesses this means starting with Facebook.

But, based on the people you’re trying to reach, you may also want to get set up on:

Once you get set up, you can build your social media presence by promoting it to the people you already know.

Add links from your website, put up signs in your store or office, and leverage your email list by adding links to your social pages in your regular email newsletter.  You may even consider running a special announcement to call out your social pages directly.

You can also try an exclusive offer, promotion, or sweepstakes to encourage people to connect with you.

In just a short time, you can build an active audience of people who already know your business, are familiar with the products and service you provide, and are eager to show their support.

Next, you need to engage them.

Post updates from your business, share photos, ask questions, and make sure to monitor these engagements so you never miss a chance to answer a question or respond to feedback.

Come up with a posting schedule that works for you. If you’re having difficulty sticking to your schedule, look for tools to improve social media productivity.

Here’s the most important part: each time your audience engages with you on social media, it creates an opportunity to increase your social visibility.

The more people like your status updates, comment on your photos, or share a link that you’ve posted, the more opportunities you’ll have to expand your audience.

This is why the content you share is so important.

When starting out, the content you share may just be status updates or photos you snap at your store or office.

But you should also look to create more in-depth pieces of content as well.

Content is the currency of the internet.

It’s what attracts attention, it’s what people search for, it’s what people consume, it’s what people share, and it’s what can lead people to your business.

As you continue to create fresh shareable content, you’ll soon find that there’s an audience of people waiting for the next piece of content you put out. The likes, comments, and shares that may have been difficult to find before will become more common.

Now, you can take things a step further and identify the most active members of your growing audience.

Keep in mind that the people who are constantly reading and sharing your content, are not always going to be your most frequent customers.

And that’s okay!

These are still people who are learning about your business, love what you have to say, and are helping you reach your next great customer every time they comment, like, or share.

By continuing to create content that’s relevant and interesting to them, you’ll keep your biggest advocates engaged. When you do have something to promote, they’ll be there to help spread the word.

Sounds pretty simple, right?

Social media gets complicated when you’re trying to turn every new fan or follower into a paying customer. It gets a lot simpler, when you shift your focus toward building an engaged audience.

When it comes to your audience, quality will always trump quantity.

By following a strategy like this one — that’s dependent on engaging and informing your fans, rather than overwhelming them with promotions — you’ll build an audience of people who are loyal, vocal, and highly engaged with your business. It’s these people who help you most when you do have something to promote.

That’s the type of audience every small business should hope for!


Ready to get started? Try our 30 Day Social Media Content Challenge for ideas on what to post.