So you’ve launched your business. You have a product, maybe a small set of customers, some sort of web presence, and you’re ready to sell and scale. Now it’s time to build an audience.

The first question you need to ask yourself is: who is your target customer?

Your instinct might be to give a far-reaching answer. For example, if you’re a baker, your customer could be anyone who eats bread. But it helps to start specific.
Is your bread made with whole grains that are locally milled?

Is your logo youthful?

What’s the demographic of your customers so far?

You’ll need to dig into the defining details of your product in order to determine where and how you should look for potential customers. While your target customer doesn’t have to be your only customer, your definition of such will shape how you acquire fans, talk to your audience, and develop your brand.
The follow-up question becomes: where will you find this demographic?

Establish a social media presence

  1. Choose a platform to launch on. Based on where your demographic is, Instagram might be the right place to start. It could also be Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Post regularly. Before you have a ton of followers is a great time to practice honing your message and visual aesthetic.
  3. Analyze performance. See what types of posts get the most engagement, and focus your energies on producing similar content.

Build an audience

  1. Be consistent. Make sure to register with a handle that’s as close as possible to your business’s name. That way, if a customer wants to tag you in a post, they will be able to find you easily.
  2. Invest in paid advertising. Set up a business account within your social media platform of choice, then create a few simple assets with clear calls-to-action and push them to your target demographic.
  3. Tap influencers. Ask friends with large followings to give you a shout out, or send free goods to influencers in exchange for a mention.
  4. Partner with other companies. Maybe you know someone that sells cheese. Strike a deal where each of you promotes one another wherever your largest audiences are.

Nail your communication strategy

  1. Craft your voice. Once you’ve settled on a target customer, you’ll want to get on their level. Speak to them in a way that feels natural both for you and to them.
  2. Communicate regularly, but not overly. As you begin to acquire followers, you’ll want to keep them up to date on any important information or new items, and also just remind them that you’re there. Post when you have something to share or a fresh angle to talk about your business, but don’t force it.
  3. Launch new marketing channels. Perhaps it’s time to create an email newsletter or take an ad out in the local paper. As you grow, look for ways to increase your effectiveness in both engaging current customers and reaching potential ones.
  4. Ask for feedback. There will always be room for improvement and your growth will be dependent on what your customers are looking for. Encourage them to write in over email or DM you with suggestions.