Social Tip: Find Your Audience

So you're looking at this image and are going "Woah. What the hell is that?" That, my friends, is the Conversation Prism. It was brought to life by one of the thought leaders in the social media industry, Brian Solis. I recommend following him on Twitter. Basically, this image gives you a high-level view of all the different areas you could be participating in the social scene. A "conversation" if you will. Get used to that term, by the way, cause people love it. "Join the conversation" they say. But really, what they're saying is "Follow me cause I took the time to @reply you on Twitter. Cause I'm trustworthy and fun. Cause I interact with you online. Also, buy my stuff." See, marketers realized that if they "started a conversation" with their key demographic, that their company would seem hip, cool, and totally on the level, which would equal dollars when consumers bought from them. And guess what? It works! In fact, 60 percent of Twitter users say they are more likely to recommend a brand if they follow it. You can't beat those odds. So, what if you're not a marketer for a big biz, and you simply want to grow your small business? Same difference. You want a bigger audience. You want more customers. But where to begin?

Find out after the break.

First, you have to go where your customers are. This is where the hard work of research comes in. You gotta find them. Let's say you're running a youth soccer training camp, and want to appeal to both the students and parents. The fact is that moms prefer Facebook while YouTube is a hit among teens looking for cool videos. If I were the owner of this particular (hypothetical) soccer training camp, I'd build a highly interactive Facebook page — one that posts news, photos, updates, and information about the camps, safety, and training methods — while also populating a YouTube page filled with videos teaching kids some cool soccer tricks, enticing them to want to learn more. All the while, maintaining a up-to-date Twitter page where you live tweet soccer matches, weigh in on news, and make friends in the industry. This would be a great start. This is also called building your social media strategy. It's hard work, but in the end you'll reap the benefits when parents start recommending you to friends, and kids want to learn from you.

So — take a look at this chart, and start thinking about where and what kinds of social networks you should be involved in, and how you can participate without spamming its users. Let me repeat that: social media is not about signing up for a Twitter account and posting spammy links. It's about building relationships. I mean, if you're selling something you love, you're going to want to talk about with others instead of talking at them, right? It's about joining the . . . conversation! Yes, see? I told you you'd hear that a lot.