When it comes to getting results with social media, one of the most important considerations is targeting the right audience. No matter what type of business you have, chances are most of your audience is using social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.
These sites are so large and popular, however, that simply having an account isn’t necessarily going to help you attract the right audience. Identifying and targeting your audience should be one of your first tasks when planning your social media strategy.
Why Targeting is Essential
The most popular social media platforms have millions of users. Facebook alone has more than a billion. Without proper targeting, setting up your pages on social media is like calling people on the phone at random.
Almost everyone has a phone, but that doesn’t mean the people you call are going to be interested in what you have to offer. The same is true on social media. Fortunately, there are many tools and methods that can help you plan effective social media targeting campaigns.
What are the Demographics of Your Audience?
Your ideal audience depends on the type of business or organization you have. Some markets are more narrow while others are very broad. For example, if you specialize in guides for people who play the RPG game World of Warcraft, your audience is fairly specific. Your average customer might be a male in his twenties. However, you only want to reach a very small portion of this very large demographic. Targeting young males, in general, would be a waste of your resources because the vast majority of people in this group won’t be interested in your products.
On the other hand, if you sell weight loss products, your audience will be broader. You might be targeting women between the ages of 30 and 55 who want to lose weight. This is still a niche but it’s a broader one simply because more people want to lose weight than play a specific RPG game. The following are some of the basic demographics you should consider when targeting your audience.
- Age. Is your audience teens, young adults, middle-aged or older adults?
- Gender. Is your audience primarily male or female?
- Income. If you’re selling high-end products, you have to market to people who can afford them.
- Geography. Some products are targeted towards people who live in certain regions.
- Profession. If you’re selling medical equipment, your target audience may be doctors.
- Interests. Is your market interested in sports, travel, fitness, pets, fashion, etc.?
Certain social media platforms make it easy to identify people by such demographics. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target your ads towards people based on these and other criteria.
Tone and Style
Targeting goes beyond looking at the qualities of your audience. You also have to consider their preferences when it comes to style, tone and design. Depending on your industry and audience, you may need a serious and professional image or a more friendly and casual one. For certain products,a hip, ironic tone is effective for connecting with the audience. On the other hand, if you’re trying to reach people about a serious topic such as investing money or choosing a medical professional, your tone should be straightforward and professional.
Identifying your audience is important for every aspect of your social media campaigns. You should ask yourself whether your writing style for posts should be serious or humorous. You also have to consider the kind of images or other visual content you publish. Social media is becoming increasingly visual. When you use images, however, you have to know whether to post funny cartoon memes, cute animal photos, graphs with hard data or more neutral photos of locations and business situations.
Which Social Media Platforms?
There are more and more social media sites from which to choose. In addition to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you also have Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. Part of targeting your audience is choosing which of the platforms will give you the best results. Knowing the demographics of social media users is very helpful.
If you doing B2B marketing, for example, you definitely should not overlook LinkedIn. On the other hand, if your audience is young and hip, you should look into newer sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. Pinterest is a good choice if you are selling products that can be attractively displayed for people to browse. Another good thing to know about Pinterest is that 80 percent of its users are female. Any type of business benefits by having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Beyond this, however, you should look closely at who uses which social sites so you can better allocate your efforts and resources.
Refining Your Social Media Targeting
You should do research on demographics before taking action on your social media campaigns. This includes identifying the general characteristics of your audience and which platforms they’re most likely to be using. Beyond this, however, it’s also crucial to continually update your targeting efforts. You should be constantly refining and fine-tuning your targeting to make your posts, ads and other actions more effective. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Interact with your audience. Conduct polls and surveys. Ask them questions. This helps you determine if you’re targeting the right people.
Track your results. Conducting thorough analytics is another way to tell if you are targeting the right audience. You can use the analytics tools supplied by social media sites or invest in more robust tools and services.
Search for followers. You can find more targeted followers by using the tools provided by social sites. For example, you can search for people on Twitter using a variety of criteria. Facebook and LinkedIn also have tools to help you locate people who match your demographic.
Targeting your audience is critical if you want to succeed with your social media efforts. The better you know your potential customers, the better equipped you are to create the kind of content they’ll appreciate. Targeting is an ongoing process where you can constantly learn more about the people with whom you want to connect.