“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Mister Rogers, the quintessential TV host, captivated audiences with his wisdom and signature cardigan sweaters. A recent documentary about his life and legacy also earned rave reviews. So, I got a little nostalgic thinking about now and then…

In a digital world, we’ve got virtual “neighbors” taking up space on a mobile hotspot. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube – for instance – let us convey just about anything. From tying our shoelaces to sending a friendly “wave,” we can communicate with targeted precision.

But unlike Rogers, your trolley ride might have hit a bump or two. Businesses and online personalities seem like a dime a dozen these days. And trumpeting your message to anyone and everyone doesn’t make the cut.

The Sweater IS the Brand but Who are the Followers?

Here’s how to wrap yourself in research and get to know your most faithful fans… intimately and effectively.

Start with a profile.

Before you can seek out your audience, you must identify them. Scribble down an avatar by answering these key questions: What age groups do you reach (or want to reach)? What’s their ideal income bracket? Where do they live (the city, suburbs, country-side)? What are their values? What are their supposed pain points or struggles (finances, health, relationships, etc.)? What gender, ethnicity, or subculture do they represent? Any foreseen hobbies or lifestyle choices? What’s the solution to their troubles (ahem, your services or product)?

Notice where they hang out.

Now that you’ve got a foothold on your target, where are they socializing? According to a Pew Research survey, 79 percent of U.S. adults are on Facebook. YouTube trails closely boasting a 73 percent retention rate, followed by a cascading funnel: Instagram (35 percent); LinkedIn (25 percent); and Twitter (24 percent). But, less than half of YouTube users visit the site daily as opposed to Facebook which garners the lion’s share of multi-visit traffic. Aside from actual platforms and usage, there’s a gender gap too. More females can be found on Pinterest and Instagram than men.

For an entire breakdown, this document is your shiny beacon: Social Media Use in 2018.

Go directly to the source.

Up until now, you’ve garnered third party statistics. Yet, it’s time to extend your reach with a direct salutation of your own. “Howdy, neighbor”… “Hello, world”… whatever strikes your fancy. The point is to turn over the rock by surveying your existing subscribers on both social media and email.

Here’s a handy tutorial on setting up a poll via your Facebook Business Page. Google Forms is another great tool that lets you customize questions and collect answers on the back-end.

Join Online Groups… ASAP.

Back in 2016, 1 billion people used Facebook’s Groups feature in a single month. Either open or closed to members, these niche groups explore shared interests and spur interactive discussions. Simply use Facebook’s search bar to find groups that match your ideal audience’s pursuits. (Bonus: The answers to your survey or poll should help guide you toward inputting some keywords or phrases.)

Once you join groups, look for patterns. What are people complaining about? What are they celebrating? What questions seem to get the most engagement? How could you offer advice without being salesy?

When your intention is to help –  you might just score a client or raving fan in the process.

Revel in neighborly competition.

Okay, when in doubt give your competitors a shout (sort of)! Check out what others in your industry are talking about on social. Note the posts that are getting a lot of engagement in the form of comments, and shares.

Take inventory of what resonates regarding the types of content such as posing questions, inspirational quotes, an up-sell or freebie giveaway, and educational round-ups. You should also consider monitoring social accounts that cater to a similar or almost identical audience.

The right people – your tribe – are literally at your fingertips. Of course, when it comes to dazzling them with content, the One Part Social team is your local resource.

What can we do for you, neighbor?

If you found this post valuable, please pass it on. We love helping small businesses grow.