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This afternoon I am speaking at the On The Edge Manchester conference. The subject I am addressing is how to put yourself in front of the right audience.This post contains the slide deck and a summary of the presentation.
My presentation is based on a challenge I set to one of my team members. I presented them with the challenge of defending their name. The task was the fend off any pages, profiles or any ranking element that I had created – using their name.
If after just one month I hadn’t managed to break into the top three (for their name) then they would have won and I would be buying them lunch.
This challenge became an eye opener into how putting yourself in front of the right audience can actually lead you to results that you may not have even felt possible.
By using the same techniques used during this challenge in a working online business environment, you can help put your products and services in front of the set of eyes that are the most relevant. In turn this will help with brand awareness and incoming revenue.
In the past I had always created a web page on a personal domain I own; it is now 14 years old and as a result holds a lot of authority.
However, this time I wanted to do something different. I wanted to create a brand of some kind to see how Google would react.
In order to take on my victim head on they would of course need to be called by the same name.
The Graeme Benge Band was created.
Before I could start, I needed to know who the band were. So I created the following basic overview:
By knowing who you are and who you would appeal to you can start to work on finding your audience. It may sound basic but unless you know the identity of your company – how can you sell it to those who would potentially be your customers?
With the band’s identity in place I decided that I would tackle the challenge by going social.
No webpages or websites, simply social profiles.
Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube were initially set up. The main focus would be on Twitter and Facebook. I still had a few questions though; could I create an audience? By creating an audience could I create enough social signals and authority to start ranking for the challenged term? Would Google see me as a brand?
It’s very easy to set up a Twitter account or a Facebook account, but unless you set these up correctly you could just end up talking in an empty room.
Any online profile you set up for your company needs to be done correctly. Anyone viewing any profile needs to know straight away that it is officially yours, that it’s branded and welcoming.
Trust is big selling point with online audiences. At the very least you should be ensuring you carry out the following:
My band profiles were created to convey the impression that this was a genuine band. Had I simply set up the profiles and not “branded” it in any way, or given it an identity then I would have been beaten before I had started. This had to be convincing and that meant making sure these profiles were set up correctly.
Everything was set up and in place. However in order to gain any kind of rankings or traction I needed that audience.
This is where “knowing your company identity” starts to come into play. The basic description I was using on my social profiles was as follows:
“Indie band likened to Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets with a 2013 hardcore reboot”
So this was how I was marketing them. Complete with the background I had given them I was now in a position to be able to go hunting for my audience.
Twitter is the perfect place to start.
I had marketed the band as being like the Stone Roses. So I went looking for Stone Roses fans on Twitter – and following them.
The background image I had used on Twitter was that of the MOD target symbol commonly used in the MOD scene. Again this means I may appeal to fellow MOD’s.
This also opened me up to possibly appealing to the kind of people who liked MOD style music or even those from the 90’s generation and the BritPop culture.
So I went looking for them and following them.
Facebook is a slightly different platform. People tend to go to this page once they know about you. But how do you get that initial uptake? After all no one tends to “like” a page that only has a couple of likes.
This isn’t cheating or going against the rules. This is perfectly normal.
The more followers you gain on Facebook the more authority you build and the more statistics and insight you get into your account.
If you are able to build up that initial following AND have your profile set up to look professional with all the required information then any “fans” that do come looking for you are more likely to “like” your page.
So I had found people who potentially would be interested in my band. But now I had found them how did I make sure they followed back or engaged with me to create the type of signals I was looking for?
The tactic I used was to make sure I was tweeting about an interest common to the people I was following at the time. This gave us an instant common interest. A majority of people will look at the profile of the person who has just started following them to see if they wish to follow back.
For example, if I followed Paul Weller fans I made sure I had tweeted beforehand about how I was listening to one of his albums.
The chances were that my band would appeal to them moving forward when I wanted to engage with them. So this tactic worked in bringing in the audience but now I had to keep them. How do you do that?
Having updated my Twitter account daily and tweeted information that gave the impression this was a real band, I started to gain interest from people who wanted to know more about them.
Would we do an interview for example?
The obvious issue here was that there was no band, so an interview wasn’t possible. However, the lesson here is that interest was gained by engaging with people, mixing with the people who would be interested in my band.
It also started me thinking; this had started as a ranking challenge – however, I was now starting to wonder just how far I could go with this.
To date I had picked up a lot of interest from social, not from Google. I just needed an actual product to promote me further.
I went to Fiverr.com.
As a business you will already have your product or service.
I hired the services of a singer who recorded a cover version of a track requested. Coming from Fiverr.com I wasn’t expecting anything worthwhile. You get what you pay for right? At best I just wanted a recorded track that I could play with to just take this a little further in the bid to win this challenge.
What came back was actually a quality track. A Hundred times better than I expected.
I now had a real product.
The next step was to promote it on all my profiles. A single was on the way. I was now giving my audience something they expected from me and were so excited to hear after all the engagement I had carried out.
Having this product also allowed me to create further profiles on platforms such as SoundCloud and Reverbnation.
This instantly put me in front of a far more niche audience. The single was set live and it received as very positive reaction. The quality of the product added authority to the band’s existence.
Re-Tweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook helped further promote the track.
By making sure I had put myself in front of the right audience right at the start, come promotion time, my audience engaged and reacted how I wanted.
With all the activity I even gained a Number One hit for the band region on Reverbnation. This ended up escalating to a number 18 spot on their national chart. SoundCloud brought new fans to my Facebook page.
And the single ended up gaining airtime on a couple of Internet Radio stations.
None of this would have been possible without an audience to whom I could offer a product.
Imagine what you could do with a GENUINE product. Your audience is out there and they are ready to engage with you. You just need to find them. And remember none of this was done on Google. This was all social.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.