Having a well-defined target market is essential to growing a business and one of the first things youâ€™ll learn in any business course. It should be no surprise then, that defining a target audience when engaging with consumers in social media is also essential. Just as it is expensive and inefficient to try and target everyone with traditional advertising, you will have more success in social media if you target a specific niche.
So how should you go about defining your target audience? Once you do, how do you find out where they are online?
Here are four tips:
1. Analyze Current Customers
Find some of your current customers online. What social networks are they most active on? What links do they share on those social networks. If you sample enough of them some trends will start to emerge. Create a spreadsheet and track interests, behaviors and characteristics for 50 of your current customers. Use this data to build a profile of your current customers and write it out as if the sum of all your customers was one person. Give that person a name and write out his story.
â€œJim is 35, married, and has 2 kids. Jim works for a tax consulting firm and makes 60-75k a year. Jim enjoys reading Forbes on his iPad and sharing financial industry related news and blog posts on twitter. He has a Facebook account but is much more active on twitter and linkedin. He is a customer of my product/service because [insert based on your research.]â€
Forcing yourself to write in detail about your target audience will help you visualize who they really are. This is important if you plan to have meaningful conversations with them via social media channels. You will be surprised at the amount valuable information you can learn about your target audience from this exercise.
2. Research the Competition
Make a list of your top 3 competitors. Who are their customers? How and where are they engaging them? Write a profile for each of their target markets. Are these profiles different from the one you defined in step one? What does your competition do better than you do? What do you do better than your competition? Use this information ask persuasion points when you are talking with your target market on your own social channels.
3. Consider Demographics and Psychographics
It may be helpful to list your target audienceâ€™s demographics and psychographics. In fact, in step one you already defined some of these attributes. Listing as many out as possible will help you get a glimpse of the big picture.
- Income Level
- Education Level
- Marital or Family Status
- Ethnic Background
You can use this information to figure out how your customers think.
Once youâ€™ve chosen a target audience, test it! Use the conclusions youâ€™ve drawn to shape your communication tone. Try some things and see what happens. Take notes on the responses you get. Does the amount and quality of comments or responses go up if you talk a certain way, or share certain content? Use this information to improve your communication with your audience.