Your early adopters are your most important customers. This is especially true if you’re a business that has yet to establish itself in an industry; early adopters are usually social leaders who influence their friends and family to buy your product down the line.

To succeed at the beginning of a sales cycle for a product, you need to understand how to find your early adopters. Take these three steps to identify these very important people.

1. Get Busy on Social Media

Nine out of every 10 consumers believe businesses should take time to answer questions from customers on Facebook. But only 25 percent of companies actually do this.

Facebook in particular (and social media in general) can be one of the best places to find your early adopters without having to spend a great deal of money on expensive surveys. Interact with your target market on Facebook, and you’ll quickly find your potential early adopter group.

2. Put Yourself in Your Target Market’s Shoes — Literally

Physically put yourself where your target market is. You should be well aware of the gathering spots of your target market. From there, you’ll be able to discern the leaders and early adopters.

The early adopters are usually the people who are being talked to and about. Take note of who seems to be leading the charge when it comes to visiting booths if you’re at an industry show, or who is deemed the local expert if you’re on an online forum.

To rub elbows with these early adopters, it’s best to become known as an expert yourself. Interact without trying to hard-sell. Offer advice and solutions for the problems they face.

Don’t worry about cannibalizing your products; people simply want to know they’re dealing with an expert before they start to open up. Most people are not DIYers, nor do they want to become an all-in-one do-it-yourself entity. If you are the person who provides the answers, then you are the person that early adopters will look to when it comes time to solve a problem.

3. Create an Acquisition Strategy

Once you’ve identified your target customer, start to map out the buying process. Based on what you’ve learned about this group, create a strategy that will bring early adopters in the door to buy your product or service.

Don’t understand their buying process? Then you haven’t done your research. You should be able to non-intrusively insert yourself into their sales funnel.

You need to understand how your early adopters buy items. If your audience is below the age of 25, you need a responsive website and plenty of presence on the mobile search engines. You also need to be able to accept online transactions and mobile payments – this audience prefers cash-free online transaction.

Another example is a target audience that’s overwhelming part of an ethnic group. Your website is in their native language, right?

These are just examples; the customs of a particular audience do not have to be bound to ethnicity. Culture can come from the habits of the environment or from previous industry leaders. As long as you know where the culture comes from, you will be able to understand the buying habits of your early adopters. And if you’re been naturally interacting with your target audience, then the chances that you’ll be accepted once you come out as a seller will be much higher.

Keep in mind you’ll always have new ways of identifying your early adopters as analytics on digital platforms become more precise. But, the tips above will definitely get you started with your early adopters today.

This story first appeared on Women 2.0.