Audience Discovery and Audience Exploration are related.
The goal of audience exploration is to understand your audiences' motivations, detect their unsolved problems and build your business around them.
You would want to get closer to your "future" audience, both in the sense of proximity and empathetically, for that you need to understand where to find them.
Note that we're not building the audience yet, we're investigating it.
The embedded exploration approach consists of:
- Embedding yourself in the community (this chapter)
- Discovering the painful problems within the community
- Become a domain expert and a reputable contributor
- Collaborate with your audience to build trust and meaningful relationships
When you join a new community, you should start by remaining silent for a while, following the conversations, and ask thoughtful questions. Take note of the links and resources shared in the community and find influential people.
By connecting with people, sharing your observations and learnings with them freely, you'll start building a following for yourself. Focus on:
- Pain, problems, common themes
- Phrases and jargons
- People who sell successfully
- Engage with the members, build relationships
Find their water cooler
The first step of the exploration is to find the place of professional exchange: the proverbial water cooler, find at least five communities to engage with your audience.
Two main things to look for in each community are their purpose (why) and their platform (where).
There are 6 categories of community purposes. Each has its own rules, which you should follow if you want to build a reputation.
I'll leave reading about the community purposes and platforms to you, as it's not feasible for me to summarise them, and they are really worth checking out.
Arvid has a template for taking notes:
- Reason: Why do I find this interesting?
- Detail: What is it exactly that I'm interested in?
- Context: What was the initial trigger? Who said it?
- Followup: Reaching out to the person who said it
First impressions are important, you would want to have a picture of yourself as your profile picture and describe what you like to talk about in the description. People will ignore your profile if they can't find meaningful information about you within seconds.
Following domain experts
Follow the domain experts, they likely have accounts on other social media that you can explore too.
They often publish different content on each platform which teaches you about the expectations in different communities and exposes you to new active accounts.
Dwell, don't sell
Communities are tribal and build based on honesty and reputation. The rule of thumb is:
Every action by a member of the group should benefit all members of the group.
Avoid posting content that can be considered marketing for now. "Dwell, don't sell".
You'd want to be recognised as a domain expert by the community, don't make communications about yourself or your product, make your interactions about them, they will see you as a valued contributor.
Don't try to sell them on a product, sell them yourself as a person to trust. No advertising, not even for free products.
Don't sell. Don't market. Just learn and share what you learn.
Get a job!
Another way of audience exploration is to get a job (full-time, part-time, or freelance) in that field, only do that if there are insights that you can't get by observation.
That's it for this chapter, it's a long one, full of useful details, I'd recommend you to read this chapter carefully in this book as it helps you understand where and how you can start building relationships with your audience.