When Building Your Company's Digital Presence, 'Build It Where They Are'

Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn: Where do you customers hang out?

learn more about Karen Mishra

By Karen Mishra

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This morning, as I talked with a local Chapel Hill, North Carolina, entrepreneur, I was reminded of that iconic phrase, "Build it and hope they will come."

But that doesn't alway work where the entrepreneurial and digital worlds intersect. Instead, if you've got a startup and want to talk to your customers, you might want to think about, "Build it where they are."

Related: 3 Things Entrepreneurs Must Learn About Digital Marketing and PR

This is especially true if those customers are teens and millenials, whose tastes in digital media constantly shift. Consider Sean Murphy, founder and CEO of Boost Lacrosse, who has a very limited target market: high school and college lacrosse players. Murphy's business is to help strengthen and condition lacrosse players. So, when he started his business, he created a website.

But he soon found that his high school audience preferred to use apps on their phones, so he quickly learned to build his web presence, where his target market was already spending time.

This need to pivot is true for any entrepreneur. Find out where your customers are spending time, and develop your social media presence there.


As Murphy discovered, his high school target market was not interested in hearing from him on Facebook. That digital locale felt more like a place for those young customers' parents and grandparents; they told him that they preferred using an app, or Instagram. Accordingly, Murphy now uses an app for his conditioning program and Instagram for contests to create enthusiasm for his business, now that he knows where his target market likes to hang out.


Another local entrepreneur, Andrea Ginsberg, owner of the Mad Popper, in Durham, North Carolina, realized that store marketing alone would not help her get the traffic she needed, so she asked her customers what social media they used, and started a Facebook page for her business. Now, she has a way to keep in touch with her customers and the ability to bring them into her store for repeat business.


Pack for a Purpose founder Rebecca Rothney has embraced Twitter as a way to tell the stories of her entrepreneurial nonprofit. She encourages travelers to leave a bit of extra space in their suitcases when they travel, to take along meaningful contributions to locations all over the world. By sharing the stories of those places and the people who need the contributions, she inspires others to share, too, as they travel.

Related: Twitter: What Went Wrong


Jed Record, founder of LikeForce, is very active on LinkedIn. He launched his new social media company in Chapel Hill, in January of this year, and knows that his prospective clients are there on LinkedIn. He has a business page for LikeForce and is active each day, connecting with people and commenting on posts and articles on LinkedIn.

You can't count on customers finding you anymore -- you have to go and find them. There are so many social media options at your disposal. So, don't worry about trying to use them all. Use the one(s) that fit best with your products/services and your target market and make the most of them!

Related: 5 Subtle But Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

Karen Mishra

Marketing Consultant

Karen Mishra teaches marketing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She also runs a leadership and marketing consulting firm, Total Trust, in Durham, N.C.

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