The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Small Business Owners: Top 4 Ways to Engage (and Make Friends) with Your Target Audience

Small Business Owners:  Engage & Make Friends with Your Target Audience!

The Situation: Marketing Campaign is Launched

You’ve got your niche and you got a great product/service! You’ve also created some crafty taglines, imagery, and video to attract your target audience.  You post your blog and excitedly wait to see what happens next. You have taken all of the right steps to engage with your audience, so why aren’t there more retweets and shares? Is anybody out there?

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© Stuart Miles | Dreamstime Stock Photos


The Problem: Lack of Audience Response

First, don’t despair! You’re doing great.  In order to get the best response, make sure to take the time to take it one step further and engage your target audience. This isn’t just about posting great content for people to find. It’s about getting their attention, and getting the! Show them that they matter to you and earn their loyalty!

The Solution: Get the Conversation Going

Ann Handley and CC Chapman (2010) said it best in their podcast.  Social media is all about building relationships.  As a writer, consider your social media sites as the virtual golf courses of business. I have heard a few times that top executives make most of their business deals while shooting the breeze on the golf course. Shouldn’t you be doing the equivalent with your social media campaign?

The golden goose of sales and marketing is the referral. When you build relationships with your target audience, who are now your loyal followers, they will eagerly refer you to their business associates, friends, and family. According to Forbes, there is no better way to generate new, loyal business (Lewis, 2012). So, think about it for a minute. In the world of social media, a retweet or share is a form of referral! You can accomplish this by building relationships with your target audience and followers. Once these relationships are built, make them feel valued.  But also make them feel like their opinion matters and engage with them!

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© Dmitry Ersler | Dreamstime Stock Photos


Top 4 Ways to Engage and Make Friends with Your Audience

  1. Talk to all of your past and present customers on a regular basis

    (Lewis, 2012). Make sure to respond to their comments immediately.  Also ask them questions and provide answers to the questions they ask. By commenting on the things they post, you can make them feel special!

    Starbucks is great at this technique.  As a brand, Starbucks regularly encourage customers to tweet themselves drinking Starbucks coffee, sharing their favorite beverages, or asking them random questions about their day. Starbucks customers are also able to ask engage and receive near-immediate, friendly responses from Starbucks employees.

    According to Travis Huff (2014) of SocialMediaToday, this has resulted in:

37.32 million Facebook likes

6.56 million Twitter followers

2.98 million Instagram fans

2.86 million Google+ followers

160K Pinterest followers

32K YouTube subscribers


  1. Get to know your followers

    By posting content that matters to your target audience, you can get a better understanding of who they are. This content should entice a response from your followers. Walmart, a worldwide business giant, has developed this technique into an art form by posting all content that doesn’t have an immediate relevance to Walmart products. “On any given day, Walmart posts on Facebook between two and five updates, including weekends, and most achieve an impressive number of responses from its fans” says Rob Petersen of com in his article that shares some top Walmart social media strategies that have resulted in the following stats:

34,000,0000+ Facebook Likes

210,000+ Twitter Followers on @Walmarthub (one of 7 Twitter handles)

33,000+ Followers on Pinterest

20 bloggers called “Walmart Moms.”

  1. Create “reimagined content”

    It is important to keep your audience interested!  You can do this by reminding them to check you out (Chapman, 2012).  The content you post, should vary slightly between your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. You can also spice up any follow-up posts by adding new information and capturing audience attention in different ways. Some examples of this include:

  • Discussions based on previous posts
  • Polls and Surveys
  • Quotes and Images or Videos
  • Updates or changes since original post
  • Responses to other users that reference content relevant to your campaign
  1. “Cravenly” ask for referrals (including retweets and shares)

    Once you’ve made your customers raving fans ask them whom else they that might need your help (Lewis, 2012). Remind them to share and retweet. Make it easy for them to talk about you! Make them happy and they will return the favor.

In conclusion: Practice these strategies and see your audience engagement, followers, likes, shares, and retweets (and ultimately your business) sky-rocket!

Did this help you? If so, make sure to share it with someone you think would find this helpful too!



Chapman, CC (2011). Reimagined Content explained by CC Chapman for MKT 666: Social

Media Marketing Campaigns. In [Video]. Retrieved from

Handley, A. & Chapman, CC (2010). FIR Interview: Content Rules co-authors CC Chapman and

Ann Handley. In [Podcast]. Retrieved from


Huff, T. (2014). How Starbucks Crushes It on Social Media. In

Retrieved from


Lewis, K. (2012). 5 Steps to Generating Better Business Referrals. In Retrieved



Petersen, R. (2014). 10 lessons on Walmart’s social media strategy. In Retrieved


#smallbusinessmarketing #audienceengagement #socialmediamarketingtips #snhusmm

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Category: Integrating with Traditional Marketing