How to Connect With Your Audience and Make an Impact

As published to Huffington Post

Every brand must continue growing its user base, and sometimes it may seem an extremely daunting task. However, one proven approach includes instrumentally using your existing audience as a sales-driving platform. You may need to give up a bit of direct-to-consumer power, but your influencer-driven marketing message will be authentic.

Security software giant, Symantec, found that 60 to 65 percent of its customers are likely recommenders. Principal researcher at Microsoft Research, Duncan Watts,found the power of small groups of everyday people sharing information, leads to marketing success.

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Keep in mind, the core to building up audiences and groups of influencers, includes having compelling content: content which will be passed on by your advocates, and shared.

What will motivate people to become advocates and share?

You must build up an army of advocates: those individuals are specialists in your field, yet not necessarily inside the usual confines of your business. Nonetheless, they’re at the top of the content pyramid.

You’ll have your general audience at the bottom who have a desire to share easy, quick content. For those individuals, the content must be fresh – in order for them to have the kudos of being the first to share. And why? Because on social, it is all ego-based. How will you share the best content? Who are you connected to? This is what will matter to individuals.

Newsletters: Friends or foes?

Newsletters. Bulletins. Emailer. Call them what you want, yet irrespective of name they must be highly focused. At the core, you must prove and show you understand the audience in the first place and customize the content to the audience’s interests. According to the Nielsen Norman Group’s Email Newsletter Usability report , it’s not uncommon for readers to develop an emotional attachment to their email newsletters.

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A fabulous blog post by Vertical Response, 7 Golden Steps to Creating an Effective Email Newsletter, outlines the essentials.

Get priorities straight

You must ask yourself if you understand your audience. Do you know what their interests include? What are they going to engage with? It is about dialogue, and company’s must talk and engage with their audience, as well as make them feel like they are part of your ‘story’.

Also, you should look at the timing of the newsletter. Thirty minutes too early might make all the difference to the open rates.

Social Impact

Growing your community with quirky, fun content includes one method of getting individuals into your brand. This said, you must make the first social interaction simplistic; next, build the interaction; and finally, reward their efforts.

Occasionally, a personal Twitter feed will work better than a branded feed; tweeting from faceless, anonymous organizations when you are attempting to engage individuals may be challenging. The parent brand that is tweeting about a service or product makes sense… yet the personal includes the experience and insight. “It’s all about the personality, darlin’,” writes Business2Community contributor, Chelsea Varney, who shares examples where having your own voice on Twitter helps brand-to-audience connection.

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But, you must be careful concerning the ‘personal’ tweets that may not be aligned with the company view. Also, you must know how the audience perceives itself: if you aren’t communicating on their wavelength, they will tune out.

Need to be innovative and creative and think outside the box

Discover different methods of engaging different kinds of audiences: there will include a lot of individuals who sit on the outside, and who additionally may be beyond your typical reach. For instance, you might tap into communities which are already self-organized, like meet-up groups and membership organizations. You must additionally bear in mind that lots of community interaction tends to occur on mobile – in a non-work environment and on the way home – so again, consider these times and attempt different things.

Figures/facts may be utilized to develop engaging content. Also, you might tap into the broader zeitgeist by reflecting what is occurring elsewhere. Never cease in experimenting… however! It must come back to evidence and statistics.

Take a “news hub” approach to creating content

First begin with the content concept, then work out where it’ll go before developing it. This “news hub” or “reverse funnel” approach allows you to focus promotion goals in the early stages of content development. It forces you to concentrate your campaign to meet the needs of different audiences and distribution through the right influencers.

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Hold in person events

In San Francisco, we recently hosted an LG event to launch the new LG OLED TV. I can tell you all about it because I saw it in person.

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The in-person experience allows me to share levels of detail I remember because I have a collection of memories around it. Like how the blacks were truly black , the colors were truly vibrant and the 160 degree visibility was amazing. I even remember I liked the LG 65″ OLED TV is 4,000 pixels better than the Samsung equivalent. Details I would only remember through experience.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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