When it comes to blogging and using social media for your business, it’s easy to forget that it’s not all about you. After all, you are the one who is creating the content. Shouldn’t you be writing whatever you want?
The answer to that question is an emphatic NO!
Although you should have some passion for the topics you are writing about — after all, you wouldn’t be in business if you weren’t passionate about what you’re doing — the most important consideration here is not what you want, it’s what your audience wants.
Over time, you will make changes in your business. I’m going through that right now, heading in a direction that is completely different from where I originally started out. As such, it’s hard to keep the same audience reading and interacting because the people who have been here since the early days may not be interested in continuing on this journey with me.
For you, the process may be much more gradual. You may refine your message, but not change it drastically. At the same time, you need to find a way to keep your existing followers engaged while you are growing and innovating in an attempt to expand your audience.
This is where paying attention to your audience becomes critical. No one likes feeling like they are being left behind. And when it comes to social media, it’s even more important that people feel like they are being listened to. Nothing can decimate an audience quicker than preaching to them without listening to their feedback on what they want and need from you.
So how do you go about paying attention to your audience? Here are five things you can do to get a handle on what your followers are thinking:
1. Ask them what they want.
Pay attention to the answers and take action on what your audience is telling you. If you do a survey, and they tell you that Facebook marketing is more important to them than Twitter marketing, for example, then make sure you start creating content about Facebook marketing and put your next Twitter book on hold!
If you’re not an expert on Facebook marketing, find someone who is and interview them. Take whatever action you have to in order to get your audience the information that is important to them.
2. Provide products and services of value.
This is really an extension of the first point. You want to make sure you are always providing value with whatever content or products or services you create. Creating a new product “just because” is not the right thing to do. Any new product you create, should come about because it meets the needs and wants of your audience, not because it feeds your ego.
There is enough competition out there that you will find yourself losing audience members rather quickly if you are unable to answer the question when they ask “What’s in it for me?”
3. Use social media to stay connected.
When I first started working online, it was challenging to build a relationship with your audience through any other medium than email. While I will always and forever love email for what it has given me, I really love the ease with which I can connect with followers, audience members, and customers through social media.
In fact, this new direction my business is going in has come about as a direct result of conversations with people I would never have met except through social media. I paid attention, made the change even though it wasn’t something I was comfortable with at the time, and as a result new opportunities are opening up every day.
The same thing can happen for you if you pay attention to what the people around you are saying.
4. Website stats are important too.
In addition to what the people around you are saying, you should also be paying attention to the statistics generated by your website. You can learn a lot about your audience from the numbers.
Installing an analytics program like Google Analytics on your website can open up some interesting insights for you. I spent a couple of hours yesterday checking out the analytics on this website and found out some really interesting things that I will be taking action on this week.
Here’s a sampling of what I learned:
- almost all of my traffic came on two days out of seven
- my bounce rate was very high (over 80%)
- the majority of my traffic came from Facebook
- I am ranking for 4 keywords that I would never have thought to use for myself.
That’s a lot of valuable information that I would never have known without the analytics program.
5. Pay attention to what’s happening in your niche.
Your audience will more than likely include members of that elusive group known as “the competition”. If you’re not paying attention to the latest news in your niche they will know, and you will undermine your authority within the market.
This means you will need to spend a little time each day on tasks such as checking out industry news, reading your competitors blogs, and paying attention to industry influencers on social media. Knowing what is important to your audience before they need it is a big part of creating a successful business.
Paying attention to your audience may sound like a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t have to be. If you love what you do and are inclined to be even a little bit social, then interacting with your fans and customers, and even your competition will be one of the best parts of your day. Using these tips will help ensure you are listening and taking action to provide your audience with what they want and need from you.
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