Getting the Word Out

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
Whether you are new to social media or a seasoned pro, growing your online audience is a job that is never done. The goal is to build a base that is truly interested in your brand and will therefore, engage with you. So how can you build such an audience?
First of all, you need to create awareness so people know you are out there. Things like adding your social media accounts your company website and email signature are simple and easy to do. Make sure company employees know about these accounts and encourage them to follow and share with others. Include your social media accounts in boiler plates of news releases and company newsletters as well.
Another component of creating an audience is making sure you are engaging in conversation. Your audience won’t grow if you don’t talk to the one you currently have. If your community is posting and asking questions, but you fail to respond, they will find what they need somewhere else – and fast.
You can also purchase advertising on Facebook and Twitter accounts to help boost your fans and followers, but budgets don’t always allow for that. Not to mention that you will still need to have a content plan in place so you can keep those new people once they ‘like’ you.
Even if you put all of the above in place, there is still one element that is important to social media growth: time. You can’t expect huge growth overnight. Even major brands like Coke and Best Buy, who have huge audiences, saw their online community grow over time. And they are still growing every day.   
It takes time and patience to build an online community that is actively interested in your brand. Ideally, if you are developing and posting the right kind of content over time, you will see an increase. After all, the audience numbers don’t really matter… it’s how engaged and invested your audience is in your brand that really makes the difference.
What have you done to help grow your online audience? Any tips to share?