From the beginning of your journey to develop your digital product, there is one thing you will consistently hear from other entrepreneurs: build your audience and start NOW! The bigger your audience throughout the development phase, the better your launch and sales will be. While the act of building your audience is important and can be done in several ways, start by asking the question, “where is my audience already at?”
Throughout this article, we will present you with several digital platforms that are easily available to find your select audience and grow your online presence. Each platform is unique and navigating them should be done with its own specialized approach.
The first platform and the one with the highest audience impact opportunity is Facebook. One of the longest social media platforms still around today, Facebook has over 2.7 billion active users. It is the biggest social network worldwide and with that comes the opportunity to reach the most people.
In the business world, many people dismiss Facebook as being a credible place to build an audience. They see it as a place to share photos of your family or to let the world know where you are going. Even though some people may have this preconceived notion of Facebook, it actually does the best job connecting you with people who fit a certain demographic and have specific interests.
Targeting interests on Facebook similar to your product
Facebook is able to connect you with people who match your audience parameter. The likes and interests users voluntarily put into the system can help you target the right people.
For example, if you were developing a DIY project app you could use Facebook to target users who like HGTV shows, stores like Lowe’s, and celebrities like Joanna Gaines. They may have not have heard of your DIY app, but they do follow their favorite HGTV show on Facebook. With Facebook you can find all the people that like those pages and target them, letting them know about your product and how it could benefit them in their DIY projects.
How to use Facebook groups for audience building
Another way to find your audience on Facebook is through Facebook groups. Find groups whose members have similar interests/hobbies that correspond with your product. Interact with the members through comments and posts. Engage in their discussions and when you build their trust introduce them to your product. They have a problem and you have a solution to offer.
Be sure to follow the rules of the group so you don’t get kicked out for soliciting when it’s not welcome. Trust is your most important asset and you don’t want to lose it early on when finding your audience!
If you are targeting a professional audience, LinkedIn can be a great resource. This platform tends to cater to more professionally focused people. While you can’t target interests like on Facebook, you can connect with fellow entrepreneurs and businesses that could find value in your product.
Participate in LinkedIn groups
On LinkedIn, you can engage with potential audience members in online groups. Similar to Facebook, you can post articles and participate in discussions. The groups can have thousands of members and they could all be struggling with a problem you are uniquely equipped to solve.
Because LinkedIn is a networking site, it is easier to promote your product and is a great place to ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to document your entire development journey on LinkedIn from the very beginning because this is how you will gain followers and potential customers.
While Instagram is a heavily picture-based platform, it does present a big opportunity to reach potential audience members. Instagram has over 1 billion users which allows for a huge marketing opportunity, especially for new entrepreneurs.
How to go beyond just creating an account for your product.
On Instagram users connect with one another on a personal level. Users are constantly sharing photos of their daily life and products that they like, know, and trust. To build your audience you need to create a page that reflects your brand through the images and copy you post.
Follow and engage with users who follow similar products and be consistent with your messaging. While you don’t have the opportunity to connect through groups, a lot of trust can be earned through brands that are open and honest through Instagram. Once you have earned the trust of your Instagram followers, you can invite them to other outlets to receive feedback like your Facebook page or your product website.
Instagram ads are a great way to reach new potential customers
Unlike most advertisements, Instagram presents their ads in a way that doesn’t necessarily differentiate them from other posts. You could promote a certain post or story to a new group of users and encourage them to engage with your account.
A good way to find audience members in the early stages of development is through Google Ads. People with the problem your product solves are spending time doing research and most tend to turn to Google for their initial search. They want to find your solution and a Google Ad can make that process easier for them.
Target specific users through Google
Google has a complex system for targeting users from around the world. As the largest and most used search engine, Google also allows you to find people who might not be on social media. Your ad could link to your website and to a lead generator (an easy way to obtain a user’s email address). Through the emails you collect, you can form a group of people who are specifically interested in your product and in how it can help them. Invite those users to visit your social media platforms through targeted emails and your audience will grow.
Other Online Platforms
While the platforms we listed in detail are the ones we believe will allow you to grow your biggest audience, several other platforms can help you target and connect with users.
TikTok: A short-form video-based platform. If your product is targeted toward young adults or teenagers, TikTok is a great place to find your audience. Film videos about your product and engage with the users who comment and follow you.
Twitter: A platform with a big user base where you can share photos and text in small segments. Twitter allows you to engage with users who follow, like, and retweet your content, but it does not allow for user groups,
Snapchat: Similar to TikTok and Instagram, Snapchat is a photo and video-based social platform. You can create a public story on Snapchat to target users in close proximity to you. While it is not the easiest platform to build your audience on, it can be worth it to create and share on Snapchat early on.
Build Your Own: When your target audience isn’t on traditional social media platforms you might consider building your own for users to interact. Sites like Mighty Networks and Ning allow you to do that easily. You can customize the platform to meet your product and audience needs, and link from your website to the new social platform.
Many Platforms With One Goal
While we have presented many different digital platforms that are available to build your audience on, the most important step to take is to start early and be consistent. When you create your product’s account on each platform, keep up with posting on a consistent schedule, and make sure that your messaging stays true to your brand.
Remember that you are are not only trying to gain followers but fans. Your fans will help you throughout your development process by providing feedback, participating in testing, and engaging with your brand on social media.