“the audience is the key” – Michael, O. J.
Table of Contents
- The Business Community
- How to Set Up an Audience
- Using Facebook Groups and Pages
- Principles of Engagements in Audience Management
- Growing your Business Audience
- Factors that Determine Audience Growth
- Benefits of Developing a Business Audience
- Other Matters
One thing that may capture your attention as you open up a new business outfit or continue to manage an older enterprise is the drive to sell more. Sometimes, all we focus on are sales, sales and sales again. There is nothing actually bad in sales though but as you focus on sales, those ancillary activities and engagements that actually increase, reinforce and guarantee patronage are often overlooked.
There are several activities you must not overlook as you sell. For the purpose of this publication, we shall focus on building healthy business communities and all that comes with it. Maybe in subsequent publications, we shall look into other dimensions of needs.
The Business Community
The business community will also be referred to in this publication as a business audience. A business community is a platform created and managed to continually inform, teach, sell, get feedback and build relationships with customers and prospects. It is very important you find your likely buyers and get them to be in a community where you can continuously engage with.
In any business you do, you must find your audience. The audience is the key. If you are into primary school business, find those who are going to primary school or parents who have kids going to primary schools. Same thing goes with wears. If you sell female wears, find females before thinking of men who want to buy female wears for their wives/girlfriends. You must understand market targeting.
In any business, the audience is very important. It may sound normal but as at the point you have become an audience expert, you would realize your business life have changed completely.
How to Set Up an Audience
Setting up modern audience will require any medium that can pull in more persons at a time and the internet and social media are a sure bet. Before now, you see salesmen making a hell of noise in public squares just to attract people. Whence people must have gathered, you see them bring out their wares and start selling. That is the audience technique. Just do anything to get the attention of people.
To set up your audience, I will recommend Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. For the purpose of this material, let us focus on Facebook because many of us are more on Facebook than the rest platforms. It is expected that you will apply the knowledge gained here in the rest platforms.
Facebook has evolved over time. The same platform you post happy birthday everyday is fetching users millions of naira daily and sure you want to be part of them. Create your own Facebook account from where you can create a Facebook group/page and do your regular business. But the deviation is this, do not focus mainly on selling. Sell as if you are not selling. If you are selling panties, posting samples of pants everyday and asking customers to call you for purchase will soon bore your audience.
Instead of posting only sales material, why not add value and comics to your posts? For instance, teach your readers that men are attracted to colour and once you are able to identify the colour your man loves the most, you can use the clothes/wears with such colour to attract your man. Then you must have convince someone and given them a reason to buy. You have succeeded in adding value to your product. Always find a way to teach and add value.
Another way to grow the audience is using business jokes. Business jokes, otherwise known as comics have a way of penetrating souls and minds and attracting customers to a product. Be versatile, find a way to tell jokes, add stories to your products. You must try to understand the psychology behind this point. It will make you sell like crazy.
Using Facebook Groups and Pages
I always recommend using Facebook groups if your business can accommodate me-to-you transactions; that is, informal selling where you can interact directly as a person with a buyer. Facebook groups give your customers the privilege of knowing you in person and transacting with you personally. This builds trust and togetherliness.
Facebook groups are very easy to create. To create a Facebook group, login to your Facebook account and find ‘create’. Under ‘create’, check for ‘create group’. If you are using a smartphone, the display may be different from a desktop view but you can still find your way around the group creation procedure.
Principles of Engagements in Audience Management
If your ultimate aim is to sell, then you must endeavour to act, speak, post and chat in the language or level of understanding of the people you are communicating with. If the audience are lawyers, then you will need a little grammar. If they are market women, you will need a lot of local dialect and local parlance in your communication.
Additionally, small things matters in audience engagements. Small chit-chats, gossips, jokes, fun posts, emojis, little Christian stuff, a bit of political contents, etc. While your audience is for a particular purpose, you should endeavour allow a bit of almost anything necessary. Then you can chip in business at intervals. The business must not be the main agenda of the day but coming together to laugh and engage as a community of people. Let people see your community as a place to be not just a business place.
Growing your Business Audience
Sometimes, when you create a new group, you may find it hard reaching 100 likes and getting to 1,000 likes may be a huge milestone for you. Why you may experience this is that your group is new and only few persons knows what it is all about.
At this stage of your audience building, you will require a lot of dedication and commitment. This is where you see your mentors talking of passion. If you do not have passion for what you do; if you do not have a target; a dream, you may lose it. If you entered the practice in imitation of others without a direction and dream, it may be hard for you. You will need to work hard. Post every day. Share almost every fun stuff. Some persons will share annoying religious stuff, approve all of them. Let people start using your group when you newly start.
As your membership grows, you set up policies that guides your group, then you can go professional in your contents by declining certain posts that go against your community standards.
Did You Know? A group with more naughty posts is more likely to grow faster than a formal group.
Factors that Determine Audience Growth
There are several factors that can determine the growth rate of your audience. They are:
- Purpose: If your group is a parent group, the growth rate will be slower than when it is a university or religious group. Audience niche matters a lot in the growth count process.
- Contents: If you post comic and naughty posts your group will grow faster than when you make mainly formal posts with grammars.
- Commitment: Audience scarcely grow automatically unless it has gotten to that maturity stage where members now use it. To get there, your commitment will be needed.
- Benefit/Value of Services Rendered: If you are selling and your products gives predictable value, you will soon start getting referrals and more members will want to come and join.
- Regularity: If you have a group and you are posting once a day, it is clear that you are not ready to grow. Develop volumes of memes related to your niche, loads of post that hits your audience all day.
- Persistence: Persist in making post. Do not be regular in one year and in the next year, you have seen another lucrative venture and you leap. You must persist in one thing. Perceive the future prospects of your endeavour and seek to attain it through persistence.
- Most of the people I teach about social media audience that failed half-way are those who believe that once they make a post on Facebook about their products, a million customers will rush buying from them. You see? Social media selling does not work like that. It is a long process to get to that stage where customers will rush at you to buy.
Benefits of Developing a Business Audience
Having an already-made audience for your business is as valuable as gold. Since the audience trust in your services, any new product you introduce is bound to sell. In specific terms, the benefits of developing healthy audience include:
- breeding business trust.
- bringing a business entity closer to the audience which comprise of old buyers and prospectives.
- giving a business owner the ample opportunity to popularize and build his/her personality which in turn favourably influence business growth.
- giving business owners an already-made market to sell any day, anytime
- Since it is a long-term standing community, it helps to erode fear of fraud from the minds of the community members. Hence, fostering quicker sales.
- Community members are often classified as hot audience members.
- It is a free avenue for business adverts.
- It is very easy to get feedback on a product which in turn, helps business owners to modulate their performance or product dimensions.
- Products published in already-made business audience are likely to do well more than those published in Google, Facebook Ads, etc.
- A well managed already-made audience elongates and guarantees a business lifespan since patronage are assured.
- To ensure your audience grow, endeavour to use it to build your personality/brand. You must put your audience at heart and support them when the opportunity arrives. Do not be 100% focused on sales.
- Be comical and playful. Do not be too formal and rigid. It is the comics that keep an audience lively and together the more. However, where seriousness is very important, try to embed light comics into less formal posts.
- Grant promotions as often as business allows. Free stuff brings community together and also attracts more persons. Since scammers seldom do giveaways, giving free stuff to your community members regularly seal their perception that you/your brand is a trusted one.
In the marketing terrain, every marketer have their unique recommendations as to how to grow businesses. This paper is just one aspect which is focused on audience building. The information in this paper is never the totality of what can be obtained but a bit of reality. Hence, more research is needed to further improve on this document.
Audience building in not actually a new thing in the business world. However, online audience building is relatively new as it was only possible with the advent of the internet and social media. Building audience takes time and hardwork. Although the time to be spent in building the audience will depend on the niche, personality, hardwork put in the process and the level of skill set of the builder.
Nevertheless, it is a guarantee that a well thought out audience will increase the sales and business brand of an entity.
About the Author
Julius Michael Oghenenyoreme, popularly known as Michael Jules, is a scholar, educator, vocational tutor, writer, publisher, marketer, customer acquisition expert, audience expert, academic critic to the core and believes so much in best practices and standard performance in the unfolding of academic processes. He studied Accounting Education (B.Ed.) in the Niger Delta University (2009-2014) and Marketing/Management Education (M.Ed. In.V), Niger Delta University (2018 till date). His penchant for academics and learning in totality has made him engaged in various endeavours in the bid to improve practice.