This is a guest blog post by Haydn Symons, who is a blogger, business owner, freelance illustrator over at INFOart Blog which provides business tips and tricks to entrepreneurs, freelancers and bloggers all over the world.

Are you using social media for your business?

Do you want to build an audience that is not only addicted to your content, but engages with you too?

Social media allows you to reach out to a large amount of people, develop a strong brand, and encourage traffic towards your website. But it’s sometimes not easy to achieve. It requires consistency, hard work and the right knowledge to build an engaged audience through social media.

I’ve been able to build an engaged audience on social media, and I’m here to help you do the same.

Within this article I’m going to share what it takes for you to build an engaged audience through the use of the social media, help encourage more shares of your posts, and take your business to new heights.

Connect With Your Audience
One of the most important aspects of social media and building an engaged audience is to connect with your audiences.

Building An Engaged Audience Through Social MediaIt may sound like common sense, but I want you to treat your social media experiences like you would a networking event. At a networking event you wouldn’t shout from the rooftops and only promote yourself, but you would share and connect with others first, before talking about your own.

This is crucial as others can see that you’re not just in it for yourself.

Talk to your audience, share exceptional content (which is not your own), and get to know your audience on a personal and friendly level.

The other positive factor is that these people will see you as a friend, and class you above those who just promote themselves on social media.

This is something, which generates big reward for both you and your connections that you make.

These connections can then visit your website, be engaged with your content by sharing with their friends and family, and most importantly, become an active email subscriber!

Tip 1 – Connect with your audience on social media and focus on building key relationships with others. This will communicate a personal and friendly brand to your customers.

Sharing Useful Content That They Can Learn From
From my experience on social media, I tend to follow those who not only provide great content, but also share other people’s content too.

Building An Engaged Audience Through Social MediaYou want to learn the newest tips, tricks and techniques, and these people can help me gain access to these resources.

Have a think about the people that you tend to follow, do they enhance your business motivation, do they provide high quality content, and do they share things you can learn from? Most probably yes!

This is why it’s crucial that you share useful content to your audience.

These people will witness that you’re consistently sharing content, and be more engaged as a result.

As you start to share useful content, users will pick up on this, and share your material. Not only will they do this, they’ll be encouraged to follow you as a result, which in turn, increases your chance of being shared even more – it’s a complete win-win scenario.

Tip 2 – Share content, which you feel your audience can learn from. Pick high quality material, be seen as a great provider, and become recognised as an influencer. This will encourage others to visit your profile, and engage with you!

Get That Mix Of Promoting And Sharing Just Right!
This is something, which a lot of social media profiles tend to get wrong, and I can honestly say that I’ve done the same.

Let me explain – When I was new to the social media scene, I would often promote my own content, blog posts, illustration work, and not share anyone’s content.

This has two effects – firstly, it didn’t allow me to connect with others (If you share someone else’s content, they usually thank you for it), and it hindered my growth and engagement on social media.

So from this experience, I now make sure that I’m not only promoting my own material, but also promoting other content, which my audience can learn from.

If you get this balance right, you can promote your own material without being seen as a self-promoter all the time.

Tip 3 – A good rule of thumb is to promote your own material around 40%, and use the other 60% to promote other content which is not your own.

Choose 1-2 Social Media Platforms To Start With
With social media being so popular, the number of social media platforms out there can be daunting. From Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instragram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, the list goes on. But instead of picking all of these platforms, and getting lost amongst the crowd, I want you to focus on 1-2 to start with. Why?

Because this allows you to really focus on building an engaged audience on one social media platform, before moving onto the next.

I see too many small businesses and freelancers neglect some of their social media platforms, as they have too many to cope with, which is a real shame.

This technique allows you to focus on one platform at a time.

When I started my t-shirt design business over at Graphic Tide, we narrowed down our social media platforms to Twitter, which really helped us focus on our core audience.

As our business prints artists work on t-shirts that is sold all over the world, Twitter was the perfect platform to refer them to our website, and submit their creative talents to us.

I suggest you either start with Twitter or Facebook, as these are the two main players of social media at the moment, which you can really grasp and make your own.

Tip 4 – Start with 1-2 social media platforms, and choose Twitter or Facebook, before moving onto another platform. This allows you to focus, and develop engaged fans!

Ask Questions!
One thing I love to do on social media is ask questions.

People love to respond to questions and talk about themselves, and this is one tip that you can embed into your social media marketing. This can encourage others to respond to you, develop an understanding of your personality, and give them an introduction into your brand.

If you think your promoting your own material too much, asking questions is a great thing to do.

Going back to my networking analogy, if you go to a networking event and tell everyone about your business, without asking any questions, others will be turned off by your approach.

However, if you ask questions, others will be more inclined to open up to you, and will ask you questions in return, which gives you the chance to tell them about your brand and business.

Ask questions, and see what response you receive!

Tip 5 – Get to know your audience by asking them questions, and develop strong relationships with others.

Create An Engaged Audience, And You’ll Be Amazed By The Results!
Social media can be such a valuable tool to a business.

Driving new followers, website traffic and email subscribers, social media is the one tool which can develop your brand and business.

I’ve shared 5 tips to help you create an engaged audience on social media that you’ll be able to embed straight away with your marketing efforts.

If you only take one tip from this blog post, follow this one – in order for you to develop an engaged following on social media, you need to share high quality content.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to conquer the social media landscape, and create an engaged audience of your own.

Summary Of Points
1. Connect With Your Audience – Treat your social media marketing like a networking event, share useful content, talk to others, and connect with your audience

2. Sharing Useful Content Which They Can Learn From – Encourage an active and engaged audience by sharing exceptional content, which your audience can learn from.

3. Get That Mix Of Promoting And Sharing Just Right! – Make sure your social media platforms aren’t seen as self-promoting all the time, and follow a 40% and 60% ratio

4. Choose 1-2 Social Media Platforms To Start With – To avoid getting swamped by hundreds of social media platforms, start with 1-2 platforms before moving onto other

5. Ask Questions! – To really understand and get to know your audience, ask them questions! What are their pains, problems, and hobbies? Get to know them!

6. Have fun with it, and always think about what you’re sharing with your audience.