Have you ever dreamt of building an online audience from scratch and having hundreds, or even thousands, of people engage with your content? Growing an online audience can be a daunting task, but with the right strategy and knowledge, it is entirely possible.
In this article, we will walk you through the process to create your own successful online audience – starting at zero! Let’s dive into what it takes to build that dream online audience.
What is an Online Audience?
An Online Audience is a group of people that paying attention to your content. Depending on the platform, they could take the form of social media followers, subscribers, readers, or viewers.
This group of people typically has an interest in your content’s subject matter. Therefore, they will be invested enough to pay attention to your content instead of spending their attention else well.
Reasons You Need to Know How to Build an Online Audience
Building an online audience can make you money. This is because the first step in any successful online business is to get attention from qualified leads.
Note: the 2nd and 3rd steps in a successful business involve sales and fulfillment respectively.
As any marketer will tell you, getting someone from the point that they don’t know anything about your business to the point that they buy something is a tricky business.
Note: If you want to know how to make more sales, check out this article about how to follow up on leads.
After all, if you ask a random stranger if they want to buy your product, 1. It will seem weird because they don’t know anything about your business and 2. There is a low likelihood that they will even need your product.
Instead, you should aim to talk to people that have an interest in your niche and have a higher chance of buying.
An online audience gives you just that – a well of prospects that you can draw from to pitch offers, make sales, and grow your business.
When you have an engaged online audience to communicate with, you can save tons on wasted advertising and selling costs, and pinpoint your messaging for maximum effect.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Build an Online Audience from Scratch
Here’s the step by step process for building an online audience from scratch
Step 1. Research Your Market
The first thing you want to do to build your online audience is research your industry’s online space. When you’re starting from scratch, one of the best ways to do this is look at what’s already working.
Look into other successful content creators in the same niche and learn about what they do.
- where do they publish content?
- what format is their content?
- is their content more promotional, educational, or enterataining?
- how much content do they publish?
- Who is their target demographic?
- How large are their online audiences?
The reality of building an online audience is that you will have to try lots of different content before you find a working formula. Mimicking other successful content creators is a great way to minimize the learning phase and go straight to the performance phase.
Step 2. Design Your Content Strategy
Once you have an idea of what’s working in your space, you want to design your own content strategy. Your content strategy should include the following:
- Which platform you will publish content on
- What kind of content you will publish
- How much content you will produce
- How often you should publish it
- Who is your target demographic
- Who will be responsible for publishing content in your company
A good content strategy should include every aspect from idea conception to publishing. Every single aspect that you can plan out, should be included. The reason being, that if you have a process, you can get into production mode and pump out more content. In order for your content strategy to gather data, you’re going to need as much content as possible.
Step 3. Start Producing Content
This is where the rubber hits the road. You’re going to want to publish as much valuable content as possible in the form of blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, or really any other forms of quality content you can think or. The idea is to try out different pieces of content to see what’s going to resonate with your online audience.
It’s important in this stage not to get stuck in the weeds. Many content creators try to produce the greatest piece of content to ever grace the internet before they even have an audience!
This is the wrong approach.
When you try too hard on your introductory content, you risk wasting time on content that no one will see or care about. Instead, you should aim to produce a minimum viable post (MVP). Your MVP content should aim to achieve its end goal (entertain, educate, or inspire) with the least amount of time and effort possible.
Another reason why you want to focus on volume to start is that your initial content probably isn’t going to be very good. The uncomfortable reality is that most content creators don’t produce good content when they start out. It takes practice, dedication and sub-par projects to get good so you might as well get the bad content out of the way and get to the good.
Step 4. Measure and get Feedback
After you have a good chunk of content out on the internet, you can make some calculations about how people are responding to your content.
If you’re getting lots of followers and enagagement, great! Keep making that kind of content. If not, immediately course correct – to grow an online audience quickly, you have to pivot to a new area of opportunity as soon as you see the winds turn.
There are tons of tools out there to measure your online results. Check out this article for a breakdown on how to analyze online marketing data.
Step 5. Iterate New Content and Promote Existing Content
Once you’ve published your first batch of content, done a little analysis, and dialed in your content strategy, its time to produce more content and promote it on all the right channels.
This is a constant effort, but if you want to build an online audience fast, you’ll want to post your content everywhere your audience might be.
This includes your website, social media channels, email lists and other high traffic websites.
It’s also important to continually iterate on new content. Your audience is always looking for something fresh and exciting – so be sure to mix up the type of content you produce to keep people engaged.
Finally, try to build an email list to which you can send newsletters and promotions.
Email marketing remains one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. In fact, a study by Litmus indicates that you can expect a 3600% return on your investment when selling to your email list.
This is what you call an “owned” audience because you can still send them communications even if all your social and web traffic dries up.
Different Kinds Of Online Audiences
There are many different places and ways to build an online audience. Here are some of the major platforms that you can use:
How to Build an Audience on Youtube
YouTube is the #1 largest video-sharing platform in the world, which makes it a perfect place to build your audience online .
- massive userbase
- video content is highly engaging
- Links in the bio section to link through to your website
- highly competitive
To build an audience for your YouTube channel, you have to show up in people’s feeds. This is because YouTube’s algorithm promotes videos that are getting higher viewership. Here are the main factors that influence your videos to get more viewership from YouTube:
- user search and watch history
YouTube makes video recommendations to users based on these factors. So to get more eyeballs on your content, you have to produce lots of YouTube videos and try to get people to click through and watch for a high duration of time.
When you produce content with consistent effort, you should build up a subscriber base that will become part of your online audience. Don’t forget to encourage people to like and subscribe.
How to Build an Audience on Reddit
Reddit is one of the largest content-sharing platforms in the US. It is actually the 10th largest in the US and has over 50 million daily users in the US alone.
- great for US user base
- multiple content formats
- high user engagement
- astroturfing prevelent
- stringent promotion and advertising policies
Building an audience on Reddit involves posting helpful content on “subreddits” that are relevant to your niche. Subreddits are like siloed topic forums where users can share posts and make comments.
Your post and comment history is saved on the platform so users can go back and read the content you have posted throughout the history of your account. People can upvote or downvote your posts which gives your overall profile “karma”. This karma indicates whether your overall posts were upvoted or downvoted more.
If you want to build a huge online audience on Reddit, you’ll want to post lots of helpful content on subreddits that are relevant to your niche. Focus on being helpful instead of trying to sell. Each prominent subreddit has rules and moderators that will enforce the rules by taking down your posts and comments or eventually banning you.
Most moderators don’t like users selling on their subreddits so ask people to send a personal direct message and sell to them in private.
Over time, with enough useful content, your account can start to build a reputation on Reddit and people will recognize you as an authority on these topics and look forward to your posts- congratulations, you’ve just built an online audience!
How to Build an Audience on Instagram
Instagram is the 4th largest social media platform in the world with over 2 billion active monthly users.
- large user base
- highly visual and engaging content format
- Addictive UX design that keeps people coming back for more
- cannot link out from individual posts
- high competition
- Mobile-first platform – cannot post from desktop
Building an audience on Instagram involves posting images and videos. Like other social channels, you will be interrupting users’ viewing sessions with your content. This means that you should aim to be highly engaging and entertaining or inspirational.
Because people’s attention spans are decreasing on average, you have to capture their attention immediately.
The best way to get a larger audience on Instagram is to get more followers. Followers give the platform permission to show your content in their feeds – so unless you have followers, no one is going to see your posts.
Here are a few tips for effective posting on Instagram:
- vary your post types (reels, stories, posts) – different posts show up in different frequencies and locations within the platform, try to maximize your exposure potential!
- Take out sponsored posts with the goal of “new followers” – this will allow you to get exposure beyond your initial network
- Use hashtags and mentions in your posts – hashtags add your posts in the hashtag feed and mentions notify the user account that you mentioned
PRO TIP: To really supercharge your follower growth, use brand ambassadors to extend your reach. Brand ambassadors can act as advocates for your products, services, or cause and essentially market to their trusting user base – a great way to get the word out on instagram.
How to Build an Audience on Twitter
Twitter is one of the most used social media platforms in the world. With over 450 million active monthly users, and over 500 million tweets sent every day, Twitter touts a massive, highly-engaged user base.
- Large user base
- Highly engaged user base
- Multi-media formats
- limited to 280 characters per post
- takes a long time to build an audience online
Twitter is a great place to build an online audience because it allows you to share information to a highly engaged user base. Because the app is built to be as addictive as possible, it makes it easy to send out tweets that will get people coming back for more.
To build an online audience on Twitter, establish a consistent posting schedule. Ideally, this means sending out tweets multiple times a day. This level of posting frequency is in contrast to other social platforms such as Facebook and Reddit where you only need to post every day.
Same as Instagram, use hashtags, mentions, and share images, links, and videos as much as possible and stay consistent.
Because it can take a long time to build up a user base and connect with more people by offering discount codes and free giveaways in exchange for a follower.
How to Build an Audience for a Blog
Blogging is one of the best ways to build an online audience. The reason why it is a superior place to focus your online audience is because you own the website. With other platforms, you always risk getting banned, losing followers, or having your posts taken down.
With a blog, YOU CAN SAY WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT TO!!!!
(case in point)
Additionally, you can drive traffic to your blog in many different ways such as:
- social posting
- organic search traffic
- word of mouth
- guest posting
You can effectively combine all of your online audience-building efforts into one central hub where you can control the messaging and make it consistent.
One of the best ways to grow a blog is to win organic search traffic by writing high-quality blog posts for people’s search queries.
Overtime, google will recognize your site as an authority in the space and literally send you traffic without you lifting a finger. From there you will have a hyper-engaged, highly relevant online audience on your site consuming your content. The only thing left to do is sell them stuff and get rich.
Wrapping Up and My Experience with Building an Online Audience
Building an online audience is tricky, but with a little practice, you can get really good at it. Try all the different strategies mentioned in this article here – Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, they’re all pretty good ways to do it in their own ways. I started blogging as a base for my audience because of the reasons mentioned above.
Ultimately, you have to decide what’s right for your business or cause. The main thing is to take action, you won’t build a large audience overnight, so the main thing is to focus on building the right audience and a loyal audience, and eventually, the volume will come.