Wondering how to reach your target audience through social media, but not sure where to start? In this guest blog post, UK-based integrated agency The Bigger Boat break down exactly how to do it – from carrying out industry-related research and conducting a competitor analysis, to analyzing your platform insights and creating a content plan.
Grab a coffee and get ready for followers to come flooding in.
What is a social media target audience?
First up, let’s take it right back to basics. Your social media marketing target audience comprises the individuals or businesses that your product or service is aimed at, and who you should be marketing to on social media.
If you’re not sure what that looks like yet, creating audience personas is a great place to start. An audience persona (also known as a buyer persona) is a detailed profile of your ideal customer or target audience. While this persona is fictional, it should be based on deep research of your existing and desired customers using data from social media insights, Google Analytics and your customer database.
Hone in on details such as:
- Typical job title or industry
- Average income
- Spending pattern
- Stage of life
- For B2B: The size of businesses and who makes the purchasing decisions
So, now you have a basic persona but the question of how to target your audience on social media still stands. Well, the details above (such as age) can be entered into social advertising platforms like Facebook Ads Manager to ensure you’re only spending money to attract your target audience, rather than frittering it away on anyone and everyone.
It’s a good idea to establish which social media channels your target audience uses, before handing over your hard-earned money to every social platform. There’s little point putting lots of money into your Facebook ad spend if your target audience only has eyes for TikTok, for example. To find out where they’re spending their time online, check out tools such as Hootsuite Insights Powered By Brandwatch, Keyhole.co and Google Analytics.
What else to include in your social media target audience research
Finding your target audience on social media can be helped hugely with thorough competitor analysis – something essential to every marketer’s toolkit. Do some research into who your biggest competitors are and make a list. Then, look at the social channels they’re using (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube etc.) and assess the content they post:
- Does it differ greatly between marketing channels and social media platforms?
- Do they tend to use photography, graphics, video or just good old copy?
- Which appears to perform the best?
- Do your competitors seem to have set topics they always rotate through?
- Which appear to get the most engagement?
- Can you identify any gaps in the content that you think you could fill?
By analysing what other successful brands in your field are doing, and analysing what’s working for them and what’s not, you’ll have a better steer on what your own content plan should include. It’s also helpful to look at your own social media platform insights and ask whether the audience that’s engaged is the right one, and how the audience is split (e.g., 70% female, 30% male).
Then, check and track your engagement metrics in a spreadsheet to clearly see what’s working for you and what’s not:
- Total engagements
- Number of individual engagements by type (retweets, likes, comments, link clicks, shares etc.)
- Engagement rate % increase / decrease
- Mentions received
- DMs / messages received
All of this information can help you create a content plan or social media content calendar. As the name suggests, this is a plan which lays out exactly the kind of content you’ll post and when. It should be made up of specific ‘content pillars’ (topics you frequently want to touch on) that are relevant to your audience, and include a healthy mix of your own content as well as content curated from other relevant sources.
Establishing when to post this content will require a bit of trial and error on your part. Don’t be afraid to experiment to uncover the optimum dates and times for you to publish. While content plans can differ greatly from brand to brand, we find that consistently posting content several times a week keeps audiences engaged but not overwhelmed. Intentionally leaving some days free of content also provides scope for you to be reactive to news and trends; giving you space to post relevant content that ties you in to current goings-on.
How to find your target audience on social media
Now you’ve learned what a social media target audience is and what to include in your research and planning, we’ll discuss how to reach your target audience on social media.
The most invaluable tip here is to make use of the native audience insights on platforms like Facebook, plugging in all the information from the personas you made. You can also search for new audience demographics by searching for other pages where your audience will interact. If you have a mailing list, another easy win is to send an email asking your customers for their preferred social media platforms, and invite them to join you.
Not to be underestimated, the humble hashtag is an effective way of reaching a wider – yet still relevant – audience. Incorporate industry-specific hashtags (e.g. if you’re a sportswear brand, you might use hashtags like #fitness #gymbunny), or research the hashtags that your audience is using. Tools like hashtagify.me are a great way to analyse the popularity of hashtags and scope out related ones, and can even make instant suggestions on your tweets.
So, now that you know how businesses use social media to attract a target audience, you can try it out yourself! If you feel that you could use some help, we provide social audits – get in touch.
Melissa Gray is a freelance writer and an organisational psychologist. Her focus is primarily on marketing and new digital trends across the world. She is also a passionate gamer, with special interest in narrative design. She writes for Seothugs.