When any social media marketing activities are undertaken, it is critical to know your target audience. This is my hottest social media tip.
The key to success with your social media plan is to understand your social media audience – both to identify which social platforms you should be using as a business owner and also to effectively use social media to greatest effect with that audience. Choosing the right platform for your business and your target consumer is crucial to building your business – and using all social media channels that are available is not the answer.
Marketers must know their target audience – understanding their motivation and how they use social media, as well as how each social platform works and what it has to offer the business owner.
The first step to understanding your target audience is knowing each available social platform; that is, who it attracts and how it is used by consumers.
1. You must know your chosen platform
Each platform has its unique niche and this is what attracts a certain user.
Facebook offers a casual platform that prizes a strong visual component. Posting with a light and friendly tone, this is the place to share images, videos, quotes, anecdotes and industry-related articles. For many users, Facebook is a virtual social media home base. Facebook friends include family members, real-life friends, co-workers, parents and children, connections from the past (friends, acquaintances and co-workers) and up to 40 per cent of users are friends with real-life strangers. The base of users is getting older and the platform is proven to retain its audience.
Twitter is the ideal platform for broadcasting news, updates and other material relating to your brand. Showcase deals, discounts, specials and remember to include fun content as well (as this is what will most likely be shared). Interaction with followers is of paramount importance.
LinkedIn is a place for professionals to connect. Here is where professional and industry dialogue can occur and you can showcase your business and its attributes to others in your field. Recommendations garnered via other users on this platform give your brand credibility. LinkedIn is a valuable job search and recruitment tool, as well as a lead generator and publishing platform.
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YouTube is dedicated to video content. This can be a very powerful social media tool to create valuable content with informative videos.
Instagram harnesses the power of visual selling via sharing of images. Encourage consumers to post and share images of themselves using or wearing your product.
Be aware also that more than half of Twitter users are also Instagram users – and vice versa. Almost all users of other social platforms use Facebook
2. What types of audience are you targeting?
Existing customers, potential customers, friends and associates of existing or potential customers, suppliers, bloggers, editors, journalists and affiliate business owners are all potential target audience members.
Now you need to define your target audience. Have a think about these questions:
- Who is your target customer?
- What type of person are they
- What do they like and dislike
- What will make them come to you?
Other factors that will help identify your target customer and consequently your target audience include:
- Price point of your product or service – does it fall into a specific income class?
- Is your product or service male or female specific?
- Who is your typical customer? Are they young singles, married, parents, or seniors?
- What is the typical location of your target audience? Are they local to your business or distant? City or rural-located? Do you offer an online store or a shop front or both?
- Is your service or product more appealing to a particular ethnic group or is it ethnically neutral?
- What are your typical customer’s likes and dislikes?
- What are their values?
- What kind of lifestyle does your typical customer lead?
- How does what you offer fit into their life and lifestyle?
- Why do your customers use your product or service?
- What aspect of your brand and product/service do your customers value the most?
Some customers are present and active now. Others are that are termed “aspirational”; these are consumers who are not ready to purchase at this time but who may do so at some point in the future. These are important consumers to “hook” so that when the time does come for them to take action, your business will be their focus and go-to point.
It can be very worthwhile to look to the activity of a competitor in your niche; review their social media content and their obvious strategies for marketing through social media to gain some insight and ideas into the sort of things that may work for you. Put your own twist on it and make your own social media marketing content unique so that it stands out.
Choose the right social platforms for your brand based on who your target audience is.
3. Matching the platform to the audience
According to a Business Insider Intelligence report (2014), some key aspects of choosing social media platforms for marketing were:
- Twitter is primarily a source for sharing news.
- Most Twitter users are located in urban areas.
- Facebook is ideal for fast-moving consumer goods as opposed to luxury brands.
- Facebook users demonstrate high engagement with social media advertising.
- Instagram is most valuable for brands relating to clothing and fashion as well as entertainment, with the vast majority of users being aged under 35.
- LinkedIn has a user base that is primarily highly educated and high income, and the ideal place for professional networking.
- Tumblr is a strong platform with adolescents seeking a forum for self-expression.
4. Engage your target audience
Once you have identified who your target social media audience is and chosen your platforms that will reach and appeal to the greatest number of them, create and devise content that will resonate with them. Every post should offer some value to the audience and no more than 40 per cent of posts at most should be direct sales pitching.
Since many people multitask and use social media while doing other tasks (watching television and using the bathroom), ensure your posts are attention-grabbing and simple and concise, and easy to consume. Make content that people will want to interact with and share.
Average consumers tend to spend most time on Facebook so it is almost imperative that Facebook be included in your social media marketing strategy. If, however, your identified target consumer is spending more time on Twitter or LinkedIn, prioritise campaigns for these platforms.
One size does not fit all and you should tailor content for each individual platform.
Ensure all of your online activities are optimised for mobile and this mode of accessing the internet is becoming ever more widespread.
At each step of the way, place yourself in the position of your social media audience and your target customer and apply social media content accordingly.