10 Ways to target your audience on social media
Targeting your audience on social media is an important part of social media management. If you are not getting in front of the right people then you are generally taking a scattergun approach and can expect your results to be hit and miss.
When you target a specific audience it should feel to them, like you are talking directly to them. That the information you are putting out is meant for them. Once you get this right you will have much greater success with your social media marketing.
1 – First define your target audience
Without knowing who you’re trying to target, everything is a chore. Once you break your target audience/s down into demographics and psychographics (personal characteristics) you can more easily bring into focus what they need, their problems and how to communicate and engage with them. The best way to do this is to create a table, with a column for each target audience group and a row for each of the demographics and characteristics.
2 – Make sure you are in the right social media pond
Once you have an idea of your target audience/s gender and age group you can take a more educated guess at which social media platforms (or ponds as I like to call them) that they are playing in.
Every year Sensis conducts a survey of social media in Australia and they provide details of gender and age group use of different platforms. I’ve presented this in an easy reference graph below. I’ve also added in the graph for the 2016 Report because Pinterest has dropped off the most recent year’s report, even though it has remained fairly steady and can be a valuable platform if you’re audience is females between ages 30 – 50 years.
Social networking sites used (Sensis 2017 Social Media Report data)
Social networking sites used (Sensis 2016 Social Media Report data)
3 – Use best timing
When should you post? This is a question that you will need to continually revisit. By reviewing the times that you get your best results, you can start to answer this question for your target audience.
You can start posting at times that surveyed users have indicated they are using social media (see the image and graph below). Starting from that point it is well worth testing different times, including the times that are less popular – you may have better results when there is less competition for the news feed.
Don’t forget weekends, they haven’t really been addressed in this survey.
When they socially network (Sensis 2017 Social Media Report Data)
4 – Use unique content aimed at your target audience’s problems
What are your target audience actually interested in on social media? Of course there is their own family and friends and themselves J but outside of that arena, what is it that they are interested in?
The sensis report gives a good overview here below of the reasons they are using social media, but not quite the content they are interested in. You’ll need to do a bit of research to find the answer to this one. Look at popular business pages that market to a similar audience to you – what are they engaging with by liking, commenting and sharing. Research, research, research. The more time you put into this, the less time you will spend double guessing yourself when you are building content. Getting momentum takes time and you need to consistently create and post content in the meantime.
Remember, unique content is something you create, not just something you share from another website or social profile. Creating unique content posted on your website drives traffic to your website, which is often what is needed to build interest in your products and services.
We find that the best method for many businesses is to focus on problems that your customers are already telling you that they are looking to you to solve. Think of the conversations you are already having with your customers and turn these into content.
Content can be blog posts, videos, photos, images, infographics, podcasts, slideshows etc.
5 - Curated content that will be of interest to your target audience
Remember that your social media profile is not just a loudspeaker for advertising your business. It needs to be interesting and often when you start, you don’t have enough of your own content (that is not advertising, that’s helping them solve problems) so you share other people’s content.
Stick to an overall theme. If you are an accountant, share information about money management, or if you are a beautician, share tips from famous people on how to maintain your natural beauty etc.
A good rule to stick to is 80% valuable content versus 20% outright advertising.
6 - Tag partner business (who have same target audience)
Tagging is when you use the @ symbol and another social page’s name. It will create a hyperlink in the post to that social page and the owner will get a notification that they have been tagged. If they like the post, they might share it to their audience.
Beware, only use this where it is appropriate. For example, you may have a post that you think they might be interested in sharing to their target audience, or you may be sharing their blog post. Don’t be spammy!
This is quite a complex topic so we will build on this with more detail for you later.
7 – Use hashtags of interest to your target audience
Hashtags, the # symbol before a word, create a hyperlink for that word and the post that you use the hashtag in can then appear in a feed for that keyword. Sound like jibberish? I understand. Try this. Find a hashtag in a social post in your newsfeed and click on it. It takes you to a feed of all the latest posts that have used that hashtag. Now this is commonly used in Twitter because people keep an eye on Tweets that contain certain hashtags. It isn’t as commonly used in other platforms, but for the small amount of broadening of your readers that is can create makes it a worthwhile exercise. Research common hashtags for your business to use and record it somewhere.
Think of hashtags like keywords. Keep them relevant to the content you are posting and the more specific they are (less broad) the better. Eg #christmas is very broad but #christmascraft is much more specific.
8 – Use images that have representative images of your target audience or a scene they can imagine themselves within
To capture the attention of your audience you need to have images that ‘stop the thumb scroll’.
Marketing researchers have found that the following images work best to get emotional engagement:
- Images that either have a representative person in the image (i.e. someone who looks similar to your target audience) or
- A scene that doesn’t have any people in it that your target audience can image themselves in the scene.
Of course that works well when you want to draw interest in your post from an action point of view such as clicking and reading. But if you just want to generate likes good old fashioned funny images and great photography can go a long way!
Again this is a massive topic and we will cover it in more detail in the future.
9 - Post to timelines
This is something you are no doubt already doing. Your Page likers are your inner circle. Posting regularly with valuable content will keep you popping up in their newsfeed if they are engaging with your content, so don’t post too often and don’t just post for the sake of it. Make it count!
More on this later.
10 – Target via Advertising
This is pretty much essential if you want to broaden the audience you are reaching. For example on Facebook, less than 5% of your posts on your Facebook newsfeed will actually be seen by your likers so to make sure they see it you will need to ‘pay to play’.
Most social platforms now have an advertising option and the ability to be very specific with your targeting is phenomenal. Explore this area with small spends to start with and test and measure what works best.
I’ll cover more details about advertising in a future post.