People use social media for a lot of things. Personally, I use it to be as loud as I possibly can. I know that probably sounds bad, but think about it: I want to use all the tools available to me so that I can be ME as loud as I can, everywhere I can. Doing so helps me filter out unqualified leads and attracts the people who are most likely to be interested in what I do, the services I provide and how I do business. Essentially, it enables me to find my audience. If you want to find your audience, you need to get loud. And even more than that, you need to help them get loud about you. Getting loud on the Web requires two things: Identifying "the talkers" in your space. Making it easy for them to talk and get loud about you. Finding the Talkers There's a hierarchy in online communities and you need to respect that. As wrong as it sounds, you don't always want to treat people equally. You want to find your loudest, most committed members and give them extra love and care. Why? Because these are the people who are going to spread your word. Most of your community is probably pretty passive. They'll buy your product on occasion, they'll read your blog (but won't comment) and they'll take you in very quietly. The talkers, however, are going to be loud about you if you're smart enough to reach out to them. They're going to comment on all your posts. They're going to tweet your links. They're going to mention your product on their blog. They're gonna stand up for you. And they're going to tell their friends about you. You want to identify this group and then hold them close. If buzz isn't growing about your company, it's probably because you haven't identified and reached out to these folks yet. Figure out which people in your niche you want talking about you, and then constantly go out of your way for them. It's going to put you on their radar and before you know it, they'll be singing your praises. Giving Them Something To Talk About Once you find your group of loyalists, you need to make sure you're giving them something to talk about, both literally and figuratively. Find ways to always leave them with something. If you want them to blog about your company, make it easy to share your logo. If you want them to talk about you when they leave your store, give them something physical to hold on to - a piece of swag, a coupon, a free product, etc. If you want them to tweet your article, put that button right in their face. If you want them to submit your article to social media sites, make it easy for them to do that. If you want them to share your articles, put the option to Email to a Friend right in their eyesight. Give them something to hold on to and a way to share you with their friends. Provide them with the tools to spread how awesome you are. Because they'll do it. And by giving them something to hold on to, you place yourself in their top of mind and give them a reason to tell their friends about you. A lot of small businesses are afraid to get loud online. They think they'll turn their customers off or that they're best to focus on quietly improving their site. Being loud means added exposure. Don't be afraid to get loud online. Figure out who you want to be talking about you and then make sure you give them ample ways to do that. After all, it's better to be loud than invisible.