Clare Hardin – digital marketing strategist associated with ‘The Digital Vibes’ – takes a look at audience targeting with social media. Clare has years of experience in writing articles, blog posts, ebooks, and creating digital marketing strategy, running social media campaigns, helping in SEO activities for large businesses and professionals.
Social media is no-longer mere networking platforms. The truth is, these platforms have moved way beyond than just being that nice-to-network platforms. From being an integral part of any digital strategy to being the preferred platforms for marketers to find their target audience, connect and engage with them – social media has changed the face of marketing over the last decade. Today, marketers use social platforms to build their brand, spread good word-of-mouth and generate leads that convert to sales.
The fast-paced growth witnessed by these platforms in terms of their users is quite over-whelming. However, for any business – old or new, planning to do digital marketing, locating their target audience is easy said than done. Well, here we try to help you with ways to find your target audience on these platforms.
Define your Target Market
The key to any business success depends on how well you define your target market. Now, this statement sounds so simple. However, if it was so easy, perhaps, every business endeavor would have been a success to this date. The biggest challenge lies in how well you define your customer. To get started, the best way to define your customer is to follow the simple rule – three Ws.
Who: Put yourself the question – “who is my target market for my business?” Based on your product or service, try to identity if it is a male in his late 30’s or a teenager or is it married women in her early 40’s or working women in her late 20s.
Where: Now, when you have clearly defined whom you need to target, go about defining the geographical location – America, Europe, or any locality or is it across the globe. Defining your region depends purely on your serviceability factors. Hence, do keep in mind your business operation limitations and then work on defining your location.
What: While you go about defining the ‘who’ and the ‘where’, the next pertinent question would be what exactly are the likes and dislikes of this target market? What are the psychological factors that affect buying decisions? What are their preferences etc.?
Define your target market in detail. Try to jot down relevant information about your target market. This gives you a clear picture of who would to be talking to.
Develop Virtual Personas of your Target Market
Based on the initial information that your gather about you target market, it is time you develop a virtual personas of your target market. For example, if you are targeting a short term online program on interior décor for home-makers and students, then you could develop two virtual personas for your target market – a home-maker in her early 30s who spends time engaging in some kind of online learning and living in tier-2 cities; while the second virtual persona could be the student in the age group of 18-23 years living anywhere across the country and interested in skills to add to her profile that could provide the necessary foundation for advanced learning.
The more you define your target market at a granular level, the more personalised could you make your marketing in the social media. Perhaps the biggest advantage of social media marketing is that you can initiate marketing strategies, test them on your target audience, monitor and analyse the results and re-implement the strategy with necessary changes. This is the most cost-effective and speedy way to check for the efficiency of your digital marketing strategies.
Choose the Right Social Media Channel that Suits your Target Market
Although there has been an increase in the number of social media users on various platforms, it is incorrect to say that every user uses the all the platforms to connect and share. The general tendency is to use those platforms that you feel comfortable or where you can find similar users or groups. So, as a business owner you need to be cautious while you choose the social platform in order to connect with your target market.
Here are a few popular channels and tips to help you choose the right social media channel.
Facebook: The growing number of users undoubtedly pegs Facebook in the top positon as the leader among social media channels. With over 1.1 billion people using Facebook, its reach is simply massive. This platform is basically where people connect with their family and friends, leave messages, comments, browse for products and share anything found worthy of sharing. If your product or service is related to health, food, fitness, travel or anything related to this target audience, and then your marketing efforts should concentrate more on here.
Twitter: This platform is where you could connect with others apart from family and friends. In other words, this platform is not used for networking with one’s family or friends; rather, it is used to share your thoughts with and listen to the others. The 140 character count limitation has proved not be a deterrent on this platform which has an estimated 215 million active users. With hashtags you could be a part of the trending news and connect with your customers.
Google Plus: This platform could be viewed as a combination of both Facebook and Twitter. Since this is part of Google, with the use of right hashtags and Hangouts, you could reap benefits in terms of search rankings of your business.
LinkedIn: This is the largest professional network platform where you connect with industry people, experts, professionals and those from the business fraternity. If you are a small business owner, it is important to have your business page on LinkedIn to be a part of your industry.
Pinterest: Basically an image sharing platform, this channel suits businesses that would like to share good images related to their business. Example: real estate, interior décor, food, restaurant, fashion, jewelry etc.
Instagram: This is a photo-sharing platform. It is a free app and could be downloaded on to any phone. It has various filters that make it easy to edit and share photos. Especially when you are talking of business and the people behind it, Instagram is the best platform to share them with your target audience and connect.
YouTube: This is a video-sharing platform and requires dedicated monetary and skilled resources to develop good, engaging and creative videos. Hence, be prudent enough before to pick as it the channel of choice for your social media marketing activities.
Connect with Your Audience with the Right Message
Now that you have decided which social channels you would be using for your marketing activities, work on the content that you would like to share with them. It could be anything from images, links, infographics, short videos, contests or surveys – you could come up with the right mix of interesting and original content that puts across the intended message and leads to a two-way conversation with your target audience. Do note that only when your audience is able to connect with your message will you be able create that engagement.
For businesses that have been in the digital space for some time now, they certainly have an edge over those businesses just making their start or small businesses which are taking their first-steps online. Social media marketing is all about personalised marketing – you share information based on the likes, dislikes and preferences of your customer. Hence, be wise; choose right the channel; find your target market and connect right.