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Social media has become one of the most widely used channels for companies to increase their brand awareness and get new customers. Taking the time and effort to create a great social media marketing plan will help you take your brand to the next level.
Of course, in order to have an effective marketing strategy on any channel, you need to know your target consumers—the people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services. Understanding your target audience is essential if you want to use social media to reach them.
This article will provide some insight into how to define your target audience on social media, and how to reach them after you do. Let’s get started.
Use Data to Determine Your Target Audience
As a marketer or business owner, you likely already know that identifying your target audience is key to so many aspects of running a company, including your marketing strategy. Defining your target audience shouldn’t be left to guesswork—that’s why you need data to help you make informed decisions.
If you already have a website and a presence on social media, you can collect and utilize data from these platforms to determine the key demographics, interests, and other characteristics of your target audience. This will help you get an idea of what social media platforms and content types you should be prioritizing in your campaigns. Looking at the data can also help you build buyer personas that will help you in all components of business (marketing, branding, product and service development, etc.).
Here are some examples of metrics to pay attention to when you use social media for market research:
- Engagement: How much do you get and who is engaging with your posts?
- Reach: How many people are actually seeing your content?
- Growth rate: How fast are your social media channels growing? Do they grow more after specific kinds of posts?
- Shares: How often is your business mentioned by other users, and who is mentioning you?
Tracking your social media KPIs will help you get an objective view of your current standing on social media platforms and who your main targets are. Don’t have a big enough presence to track much of anything? You can gather data from your main competitors to get a general idea of your industry’s market.
It’s also important to keep in mind that determining your target audience isn’t a one-off thing. You’ll need to look across multiple channels (social media, website, current customer base, etc.) and regularly analyze new data as your business grows and changes.
Pick Your Primary Social Media Platforms
Now that you have an idea of who your target audience consists of, it’s time to figure out their preferred social media platforms. Beyond traditional observation, Google Analytics can be a great tool for this, as you can check which social media platforms appear in your referral traffic report. Additionally, if you’re using UTM parameters, you can also see which social media posts are driving the most traffic to your website.
If you don’t have much data of your own to analyze, you can always look to your competitors to see which social media platforms they are most active on.
There are also some basic “common sense” factors you’ll likely want to consider. For example, suppose your target customer group consists mainly of teens and very young adults. In that case, you might want to consider TikTok and Instagram for your marketing efforts, as those two apps are popular amongst younger generations.
If you are trying to cater to an older group of consumers, you might want to use Facebook or LinkedIn (especially if your company is B2B or otherwise associated with professionals).
Choose the Right Kind of Content
Once you know your target audience and you’ve picked the social media platforms you want to prioritize, you have to start thinking about exactly what kind of content will be well received by your audience.
For example, if you’re marketing to younger audiences, then short-form videos might be your preferred method of engaging them with your brand. On the other hand, older generations tend to prefer a longer-form type of content.
If your target audience consists of working professionals, then dedicating yourself to content marketing might be the way to go. For example, consider writing value-filled blog posts or shorter informative posts for LinkedIn or Facebook that address your audience’s pain points. For this target group, you might also try to make data more visually pleasing by using infographics or charts in your social media posts.
All in all, learning what content encourages engagement and interests your audience requires a lot of trial and error. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to test out different types of content—text-based posts, images, shorter videos, longer videos, etc., and then analyze what works and what doesn’t. After a while, you will have a sense of what your customers are drawn to, and you will be able to tweak your social media marketing strategy accordingly.
Optimize Your Content
It’s important to understand how to optimize your content on each platform to reach an even wider audience. In order to do this, you have to learn how the algorithm works for each social media channel you use. For example, TikTok’s algorithm takes into consideration what kind of videos you spent time watching, which videos you comment on, and which ones you like and share.
Interactions such as liking and commenting are heavily weighed in many algorithms and are taken as a signal that a viewer is interested in a particular type of content or topic. So, if you get users to like or comment on your videos on TikTok or your Instagram posts, you’ll likely see a boost in your engagement. Different social media platforms use different metrics to formulate recommendations to users, so understanding your preferred platforms’ algorithms and SEO best practices is a must.
Along with that, algorithms frequently go through changes as the platform evolves. For example, Instagram is boosting its “Reels” feature right now, so creating Reels is one of the best ways to get engagement and views. The bottom line is that you should be familiar with the ins and outs of the platforms you use if you want to have successful social media marketing campaigns.