How To Find Your Followers Online

In my last episode, I shared a few questions you could ask to help you figure out who your target audience is. Somewhere out there in this crazy world is a person (or group of people) who are going to be the perfect fit for your product or service. It's your job as a marketer to find them and serve them with your very best and most strategic content. Here are 6 more tips to help you locate them in the wild.

Look at Your Existing Traffic Sources

If you already have a blog, website, and content traffic, look at your analytics to find out where they're coming from. You may discover a treasure trove of information that leads you to where your ideal target audience hangs out. You might find that the majority of your referrals come from Facebook, Instagram, or even a podcast interview you did last year that you completely forgot about.

I know I get more traffic from my very first appearance on the periodic edibles podcast than I do from my Forbes article. It's crazy how that works. And I never would have suspected this if I wasn't paying close attention to my analytics. So pay close attention. Hop over on Udemy or Skillshare and take a google analytics course if you can. Bake this into your routine once you start to create content. Your current traffic is probably more important than any other tip here. It will tell you what's working, what's not, and where your followers and readers actually hang out.

Search for Them Using Google Search

Once you've examined your own traffic the next step is to start scoping out traffic from other similar sources. You can use a simple Google search strategy to accomplish this. For example, if you plan to be a cannabis-positive women's health coach, look up “cannabis and PMS”, "Cannabis and PCOS" "Cannabis and Menopause" and so on.

The goal here is to see who else is writing about these topics. When you start to see the same websites pop up over and over again this will start to give you an idea of who else is already cornering this niche of the market. From here, you'll want to read their blogs and pay close attention to the comments section. Gather as much information as you can about who they appear to be targeting vs. who their content seems to be attracting.

Identify Your Competition

Once you've tracked down your competition, you're going to want to subscribe to their newsletters, like their social media pages, and join their Facebook groups if they have one.

Of course, when you do join be as respectful as possible. The goal here is not to steal their audience or promote yourself, instead, you want to get a feel for the types of people that engage with them online. What other groups are they in? What other blogs do they read? What podcasts do they listen to? What Youtube videos do they watch? What events do they attend? Their audience is your audience and these are all great places to start doing some research.

You will also want to be looking out for little hints they may be dropping. This is especially helpful if you know your niche but you don't know what product you want to make yet. Be looking for recurring questions, complaints, and suggestions they're leaving on your competitor's forums. This will give you an excellent idea of the gaps you can be filling without stepping on any toes by creating a competing product.

I may have a controversial opinion here. I think there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition in business. It keeps everyone on their toes. But it's always best to create a product or service that works with your competition rather than against them if possible. This is a topic for another episode. A whole series actually, so be on the lookout for that.

Use Social Media

Now that you've taken stock of your traffic as well as the traffic of your competition you can turn your attention to social media. First, hop on Facebook and start searching for groups related to your niche topic. As a pro tip here search for "I'm high and ....", "We're high and..." or "We're stoned and...." there are hundreds of groups with this prefix on Facebook for everything you can think of. I personally follow "I'm High And This Is Charcootery" and "I'm High and This Is Advice" and like a dozen others.

These are awesome places to find your niche audience BUT they also offer an idea of popular niches you may not have thought of. Once you join these groups hop over and use the search bar tool. Start filing in keywords associated with your brand or product to see what kinds of questions people are asking. this will give you a great idea of content or products you can create to solve the problems most common to this niche demographic. If it's allowed in the groups that you join, you can even ask questions, post surveys, and get a lot of help when you find the right people.

Once you've studied related groups, it's time to hop over to Instagram and Twitter and start exploring hashtags. Type in whatever hashtags you can think of related to your niche topic and check out trending posts or profiles that seem to talk about this topic often. And when you do see really popular posts, you'll want to look at what other hashtags they're using to get a feel for other keywords or accounts you can check out.

When You Find One, Ask Them

Finally, if you find someone who fits the profile you’ve made for your ideal targeted audience member, take advantage of the opportunity. Don't be creepy about it, obviously. But, find out what other groups they are in and what other content creators they follow. And if you get a chance, be sure to ask them a few pointed questions. You would be surprised how happy strangers are to help you.

So, once you discover where your ideal target audience hangs out, join in and participate. It's going to help you understand your competitors and your people at the same time. And, of course, the more you know about your ideal target audience, the better you'll be able to serve them.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to tune into tomorrow's episode all about how to strategically analyze your competition and audience to identify irresistible content topics.

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