Find your Target Audience to Excel in Social Media.
– An interview with Dustin Stout – Part 1.
Today, Dustin Stout is speaking on leveraging Social Media for business. Dustin is a Digital Media designer, consultant, and speaker. He is an expert on content marketing and social media strategies. He helps businesses to establish brands and effectively promote their messages through social media. He is speaking on the importance of knowing who your audience is to fully expand your reach.
In this Interview Learn:
- How to expand your reach online.
- Leveraging Social Media and Social Listening.
- Defining your target audience to focus your niche.
- How to gather and grow an audience on a platform.
- The critical mistake most businesses make with Social Media Marketing.
- How to truly scale your business through Social Media.
Can you tell us a little background about yourself and how you came to do what you do now?
My background is in the entertainment industry: film, television, and theater. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania you’ve never heard of. Ever since childhood, I’ve always wanted to become a big actor. So once I turned 18 and graduated high school, that’s what I did. Went to a prestigious acting school and got my degree in acting.
But I realized very quickly it’s difficult to make a living when you’re an actor and not a celebrity. Didn’t like waiting tables very much. So I ended up getting a job with my local church teaching youth and teens.
I’ve always had a knack for technology and graphic design, as it was my passion. At the time social media was coming into maturity phase, Facebook was peaking in popularity just as Twitter started emerging.
I became interested in social media because my students were into it. Being sociable and liking people made it fun to start discovering social networks. I was already on Facebook and Twitter. As I grew my social network and followers, I started digging into it from the perspective of “how do I reach my audience”, or “more students” through social media. This lead to learning about what marketers were doing with social media. I quickly picked up and discovered how to implement social media marketing tactics and began writing about it.
Long story short, I learned how to build websites, got good at it. Learned how to use and excel in social media. Before long, people were contacting me to help build and design their websites. This started an offshoot for consulting others on social media strategies.
For the general population, Social media is mainly used to connect with friends and family. Now the trend is to use it for business. How can it be used to promote and market your business?
When you think about the essence of what it means to own and grow a business. The primary factor for growing a business, any business, is getting in front of people.
If people don’t know anything about your business or what you have to offer, you can’t grow. How are people supposed to buy your product or service?
At its core, social media is merely a channel. A channel or platform to get in front of people which matter to you, to let them know about your business.
Social media is becoming increasingly popular and addictive. Numbers keep growing as vast amounts of people continue pouring their attention on social media. It just serves to say, that if you want to get in front of people, you need to get in front of where they’re at, and they’re attention is on social media.
Would using Google+, Twitter, blogging, and other social media platforms be good to reach your target audience?
Yes, that’s where people are on. If you’re creating content for people, you need to go to where they are and deliver it to them. Social networks are a great way to do that.
They are what marketers call, the top of the funnel. If you think of a Marketing or Sales Funnel, where you’re pulling a bunch of people in from the top, hopefully at the bottom where it gets real small, people will end up buying your product or service.
Social Media is where you find the numbers, the masses of people. Where you can expose yourself, introduce your brand or message to the masses. A place to find followers and advocates. A place to link your business website for others to learn about your product and services and subscribe to your newsletter.
If you’ve done the job right, then people will come to know, love, and trust you. Because they found you on social media and trust you, they’ll start buying things from you.
That’s basically the hopes and dreams of all content media and social marketing.
Along those lines, would it make sense to cast a large net to spread your content over various platforms. Do you believe this to be an effective strategy?
I prefer the methodology of being laser focused.
The old saying goes,
“You can be a mile wide, but only an inch deep.”
This applies to small businesses and large enterprises. I’ve worked with enterprises that have 30 subsidiaries under their belt in every possible industry. Even with companies that are making billions a year, they still have limited resources.
When consulting with small businesses or large enterprises, I always tell them to start with either 2 or 3 different channels max. You don’t need to be everywhere because your efforts are going to be diluted.
You want the most effective channels for your marketing.
There are tools out there such as Mention which allows you to do what’s known as Social Listening. Which is where you enter search terms or keywords to find out which social networks your target audience are most active on.
For example, if you’re a photographer looking for the best social network to share photography, Google + would be the place to go as they have the biggest community of photographers. They have the most beautiful presentation of photography. So that’s where you would want to focus your efforts. You don’t want to spend your time on reddit, which is nonconformitive to visuals and photography.
Focus and laser in. Find where your target audience is to have the best chance of success. Then pour everything into those two or three channels, otherwise you’ll be:
How do you gather and grow an audience on a platform? Can you walk us through step by step.
To grow large, you actually need to shrink first. Step back and concentrate on just one person. Then you can effectively grow your audience and readership.
Start growing readership by building relationships with your audience. To build it, you must have a voice that people can relate to. If people can’t relate to what you’re saying or how you’re saying it, why would they return?
Communicate effectively to readers by focusing in on exactly who you’re speaking to. Don’t go after a broad demographic target audience. You have to be specific in who your target audience is. Then to be effective, write from an authentic, relatable voice. Write as if you’re talking to just one person.
But you can only do this by knowing your audience. You need to know exactly who your audience is: their interests, personality types, etc. Put a name and a face on exactly who you’re going after.
Businesses commonly make this mistake. They just go out there and hope anyone and everyone will see their content and follow them, when you really don’t want that.You don’t want thousands of followers if none of them care about you or what you’re doingClick To Tweet
I wrote a blog post entitled, “Forget Follower Count” because it really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. I would rather have a 100 followers that actually care about what I do rather than a million followers who don’t give two cents about what I’m trying to do.
How can you apply this to Social Marketing?
Again, you need to start by understanding who you’re going after. Is your business a babysitting service for moms? What are you creating and who is it for? These are the two essential pieces of any branding puzzle.
Once you know your brand and target, you can determine how to go after them.
A single mother, struggling to maintain two jobs and feed her kids, will not be receptive to a blatant, in your face marketing message.
If you out of the blue, you contact her and say, “Hey there mom, buy our product!” That’s not going to work.
Whereas for other demographics, it may work. But you need to start by introducing yourself. Interact with these people.
It really depends on your audience and their personality types that will determine how you will engage them.
There are certain basic principles, such as not being SPAMMY and not asking for a sale out of the blue. You have to approach it from a different perspective. Don’t look at it from a traditional marketing angle. Become real and personable with your target audience.You really need to think of digital interactions and social media as you would interact with people in real lifeClick To Tweet
Most approach Social Media Marketing with traditional advertising and marketing strategies. Is that the best way to approach it?
This is counter intuitive for a lot of people because they usually approach social media for massive gains. They want to attract thousands of followers by tomorrow. So they use all these spammy tactics and automation to try to maximize their gain, rather than to try and be an authentic human being. Being personable and interacting with others in a real way is the best way to gather legitimate followers.
So be human, start by saying hello. Start by reading somebody’s social update and post a comment towards them. A simple, “I really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing,” will go a long way in building relationships and followers.
It sounds oversimplified and may not sound like the thing that scales, but I guarantee you, being a real person on social media and growing one relationship at a time, will exponentially grow your online presence.Be a real person on social media, growing one relationship at a time to exponentially grow your online presenceClick To Tweet
Because the followers that you gain, the solid relationships that you build. They will become your advocates. They will be the ones to spread your content and messages for you.
That’s the ultimate point where you want to be. You don’t want to be on social media doing everything yourself. You want to create advocacy. People who will share your message and spread it out on your behalf.
That’s how you really scale.
This concludes Part 1 of our interview. Continue to Part 2 on “Content Marketing Strategies“
Dustin W. Stout Bio
Dustin Stout is a Digital Media designer, consultant, and speaker who helps others to optimize their websites. He is co founder of Warfare Plugins, One of the top social sharing plugin in its class.
He helps others excel online through social media and design. He is an expert on content marketing and social media strategies. He currently runs a social media blog and his site has been named one of the best Social Media blogs in the world, 2014. He cuts through digital clutter and optimize website design. He helps business establish brands and effectively promote themselves and their messages through social media.