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From #SXSW: 4 ways to find your fans

This guest post is by Daley Epstein, a contributing writer for SmartBrief.

“I know you’ve heard this a million times, but you need to know who your audience is,” Alane Boyd, vice president of business operations at Chief Ingredient Inc told listeners at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival. Boyd, along with Pat Lynch, the editor-in-chief of Women’s Radio, held a discussion rife with tips about how to grow your fan base. The following are four core components of the conversation that any company can learn from.

  • Do your research: Professional research firms such as quantcast.com can be a good starting point, Lynch says. You also should be looking at your competitors, to see who they’re targeting. Check out which of their practices are working out, and which fall short. Then adapt the best practices and avoid the troublemakers. Or, even better, find a way to improve upon those strategies that aren’t doing so well. Compete.com can help you with that, by providing detailed information about sites your competitors are searching.
  • Everyone loves good, old-fashioned competition: Contests are an effective and efficient way to get your company’s name on people’s radar. Winning and free giveaways are two things nobody can resist, even with prizes as small as $25 gift cards. Among the benefits of contests are that you instantly go viral, getting your company’s name out there, and that the customers feel appreciated, as if you are thanking them. To reap additional benefits, include an optional survey that comes with the incentive of extra contests entries. Use the personal preference/demographic information provided by those who fill it out to appeal to customers through different marketing techniques, such as letting the shopper with a particular affinity for shoes know when you get a new delivery in stores.
  • Partners make perfect: “The Web isn’t about ‘compete, compete, compete,’ it’s about ‘cooperate, cooperate, cooperate,’” according to Lynch. Partnering gives you lots of new opportunities, and it is often in your best interest to collaborate. “When you partner with people they have a vested interest in keeping their end up,” Lynch explains. Additionally, a little mutual aid garners much in return. Simply promoting each others’ contests on your sites can double your traffic
  • Get sponsors: “What is a sponsorship? Is it the same as advertising? Absolutely not,” Lynch says, “It’s an exchange of value.” When it comes to sponsorships, think about the types of people whose services you can benefit from, whatever it may be. Focus on the relationships that would help promote your company or event, and look toward those companies for sponsors. However, when choosing your sponsors always keep in mind, “Is my audience going to be impressed when they see this company’s name alongside mine?” Like it or not, when a company sponsors yours, the two names are going to be thought of together, so make sure you choose carefully. They may be a great company, but they may not be the relationship you need to portray to get the best results.

What tools are you using to grow you company’s fanbase?

Image Credit: adventtr, via iStock Photo