Attracting the right audience to your social media business pages is an important factor for all marketing strategies. First of all, it’s important to understand your target market and then you’ll be able to focus your ads and reach the audience most likely to convert into customers.
Developing a clear understanding of your social media target audience may be the most important thing you do as a social media marketer. Your target audience informs all elements of your social media strategy.
Your target audience is not “everyone”. Your task in defining your social media audience is to identify and understand your niche so you can dominate it.
Audience research will help you craft relevant content, messaging, and ads. All of this can lead to higher conversion rates and better social media Return On Investment (ROI). Of course, these are key metrics for all social marketers (and marketing bosses).
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience is the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing and social channels. They are the people who are most likely to be interested in your content, products, or services. They are likely united by some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviours, needs & wants.
As you develop your target audience definition, don’t be afraid to get highly specific. You can start with broad categories like millennials or startup businesses. But good social media audience research will allow you to get into much finer detail.
Remember: You can sell to everyone, but you can’t target everyone with all of your social content. You can’t speak directly to your best potential customers if you’re trying to speak to their kids and parents and spouses and colleagues at the same time.
Does it really matter?
Yes. Narrowing down your audience is a crucial aspect of effective social media marketing as you’ll have a better understanding of where you need to spend money and resources in order to connect with these specific people. That means you get the most out of your marketing budget.
Furthermore, if you don’t identify your audience, you won’t be able to create relevant and interesting content for them. In most cases, the content you make will be too general to spark much interest from your readers and you won’t get much traction or engagement online.
The key is to integrate your social media audience insights with other channels like email to create a well-rounded marketing strategy and gain a comprehensive understanding of your audience.
How to find your social media target audience
Social media audience research isn’t complicated. It’s mainly about narrowing your focus while expanding your reach.
Below is a list of essential research that you should carry out to fine tune your target audience:
1. Compile data on your existing customers and social media audience
Who most wants to engage with you on social media? Start with the people already buying from you, following you, and interacting with your posts. Some data points you might want to consider are:
- Age: You don’t need to get too specific here. Focus on learning which decade of life your social media target audience is in, or their generation.
- Location (and time zone): Where in the world does your social media audience live? This helps you understand which geographic areas to target. You’ll also learn what hours are most important for your customer service and sales reps to be online. And when you should schedule your social ads and posts to ensure best visibility.
- Language: What language does your target audience speak? Don’t assume it’s your language. And don’t assume they speak the dominant language of their current physical location.
- Spending power and patterns: How much money does your target audience for social media sites have to spend? How do they approach purchases in your price category? Do they have specific financial concerns or preferences you need to address?
- Interests: What does your target audience like to do? What TV shows do they watch? What other businesses do they interact with?
- Challenges: What pain points is your social media audience dealing with?
- Stage of life: Does your social media target audience include college students? New parents? Parents of teens? Retirees?
B2B companies should also consider:
- Size of business: What kinds of businesses buy from and engage with you? Are they start-ups or enterprise-level brands?
- Who tends to make the buying decisions: Are you targeting the CEO? The CTO? The social marketing manager?
Social media analytics provide much of this information. Facebook Audience Insights can be particularly helpful.
Your own customer database can also provide a wealth of information. You can’t assume that your overall customer demographics will match your target audience for social media sites. But understanding who’s already buying from you can help you understand who’s most likely to be interested in your social channels.
Check Google Analytics to see which social networks appear in your referral traffic report.
If you’re using UTM parameters, you can also see which social posts are driving the most traffic to your site. If you notice your Twitter posts drive way more traffic than your Facebook posts, this is likely a clue that your audience is more active on Twitter.
2. Check out your social competition
Many brands likely measure social media success based on their own growth. Your followers increased 10%, great! You’re averaging 15% more comments per post, fantastic! Or is it?
While all those numbers are great, how do they stack up against similar brands in your industry? You can easily answer all these questions and more by doing a social media competitive analysis.
With the huge amount of social pages online today, chances are, your social media audience overlaps with that of your competitors. So it’s worth checking out what they’re doing so you can benefit from the lessons they’ve already learned. Are they reaching segments you hadn’t thought to consider? How are they positioning themselves?
3. Understand what your target audience wants from your social channels
First, you need to make sure you have a rock-solid understanding of how your product or service makes your audience’s life:
- or just more interesting.
Does it solve their challenges? Address specific pain points? Help them meet their goals?
If you don’t already have a clear list of the benefits of your product or , it’s time to start brainstorming now. Creating benefit statements automatically involves stating some basic information about your target demographic.
Next, start to think about how you can create value for your audience through your social channels. Some key questions to consider:
- What are your audience’s main purchasing barriers, and how can you help overcome them?
- Where are your followers at in their buying journey? Are they researching or ready to buy? Looking for reviews?
- What kind of content does your audience tend to engage with?
If you’re having trouble figuring out exactly what your social audience wants to see on your social channels, you could always ask them.
SurveyMonkey has a free template for a social media audience research survey. Use this template to find out which social networks your audience prefers and their content preferences. You can link to your survey directly from a social post, like Amsterdam Marketing did here: