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How to Capture your Target Audience on Social Media
Your target audience is like the North Star guiding your social media marketing strategy. Understanding who they are is not just beneficial. It’s necessary. Without this knowledge, you’re essentially shooting in the dark – with high hopes that your content resonates with anyone.
How to identify your social media target audience? And, maybe even more importantly, how to reach them? Read our blog post to find out.
What is a social media target audience?
A social media target audience is a specific group of people you aim to reach across various social media sites. These are individuals who are most likely to be interested in your offering. They share common characteristics like age, location, income, and lifestyle – just to name a few.
Why should you know your target audience
Three main benefits stand out among the many we could list:
Save money by talking to the right people
You probably wouldn’t buy a round for the whole bar if you’re just trying to impress one person, right?
Knowing your target audience is like that. You save money because you’re only buying drinks — or in this case, content or ads — for the people who might actually be interested.
Get a social media crowd that actually cares
Narrowing your social media target audience allows you to focus on those social media users who actually want to listen, not those who just scroll and pass.
The right target audience is stopping, reading, commenting, and maybe even sharing.
Increase conversion rates through personalization
When you know your target audience well, you can tailor your messaging, offers, and even the user experience to meet their specific preferences.
This level of personalization makes your target audience feel valued, which, in turn, encourages them to take action — be it signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or becoming a loyal customer.
How to define Your social media target audience
Want to find your target audience on social media? Here are seven steps to nail the process.
#1 Create a detailed customer persona
Before you start talking on social media, you should know who you want to talk to. That’s your customer persona. This can also be used for other marketing activities, so creating it is beneficial over the long term.
You should specify here:
- target demographics (age, gender, income level, and educational background)
- psychographics (values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle choices)
- behavioral traits (buying patterns, product usage, spending power, and digital interactions)
Finding more than one persona is fine, but you should identify at least that one first. Create buyer personas based on your customer base, and use them in your social media marketing strategy.
Tip: Use tools like HubSpot’s Make My Persona Generator to create profiles of your target audiences. Cross-reference this “ideal customer” with your existing analytics data in the next step.
#2 Analyze your existing audience
Is the target audience you’re reaching now on social media, the same audience that you’ve identified above?
If yes, that’s amazing.
If not, you’re in a bit of a pickle.
If your audiences overlap, you should investigate why, where, and how they overlap. Is it a natural response to a campaign you ran, or is it a coincidence?
If your audiences don’t overlap, you should look for reasons too. It doesn’t have to be necessarily your fault. For example, a few years ago, we published an advert on social accounts to discuss its marketing merits.
Tip: Use platform-specific analytics tools to understand who is currently engaging with your content. Social media platforms have native features, but these are limited in time and depth. In native analytics on Facebook, for example, you are only allowed to analyze 28 days’ worth of data. With advanced tools, you can extend this period.
#3 Use social listening tools
You should go beyond your own social media networks to find your target audience on social media. Monitoring social media can shed light on your audience’s needs and feelings.
Social listening can help you:
- understand the specific needs and pain points of your social media target audiences,
- track how your brand is perceived among your targeted audience,
- check what your target audience likes and dislikes,
- spot emerging trends and conversations within your target market,
- send more effective social media marketing messages and run successful marketing campaigns to potential customers.
- find favorite social media apps to get information
- know preferred content type/form to engage with current customers
- list some thought leaders that your target market follows
You can also get some of the insights for your social media marketing efforts with free-to-use Google Trends.
#4 Conduct a competitive analysis
When you’re just starting out, you might not have much target market data to analyze. With competitive analysis, you can find some patterns to follow. But even if this isn’t your first rodeo in social media, knowing what your competitors are brewing is a good idea.
Kontentino allows you to run a competitive analysis that will make a great starting point for your further competitor research.
You should have answers to questions such as:
- Who are your business competitors targeting?
- What are they doing to reach their target audience?
- Are there any gaps in their social media content strategy?
- Do they prefer any particular content format? And, if so, does it resonate with their social media target?
- How often do they publish anything on their social media channels?
- Who do they target with their social media ads?
For example, you can take a look at your competitors’ sponsored posts on Facebook and check “Why am I seeing this ad?”. You’ll be given specifications your competitors use to target their audiences. This might also be your intended audience.
You can also check their posts and ads manually for tone of voice and wording.
#5 Ask your audience
How about… simply asking your audience?
Why guess when you can ask? This allows you to tap into the mindset of your target audience on social media.
You should aim to find out:
- what types of content resonate most with your audience?
- what are the specific challenges or needs they are looking to address?
- how do your potential customers prefer to interact with brands on social media?
You can use free platforms like Google Forms to create quick surveys that cover these questions. Your social media strategy can be directly influenced by the feedback you collect.
You don’t need to collect feedback using forms, though.
A native post will do – and give you a lot of use cases, insights, and ideas for your content, not only on social media.
Airtable asked a simple question in this post. And while they didn’t get a ton of answers, the ones they received can help them navigate their content strategy and build dialogue with their target audience.
So, before you make assumptions about your target audience, take the time to ask them. Their answers might surprise you, and the insights you gain will be invaluable in crafting a strategy that hits the mark.
Tip: Keep it simple. Don’t ask more than one question per post on social media. You should leave longer forms and surveys for channels like email marketing.
#6 Review industry trends and reports
Sometimes, someone else will do your social media audience research for you. Use the resources you already have to draw more conclusions about your target audience instead of doubling down on that effort.
Let’s say that you run a beauty brand in the UK. Although you have a few satisfied customers, you’d like more, and you’d like to target your social media marketing efforts at those who are most likely to buy your products.
Instead of spending (a lot of) dollars testing various configurations without having data, you can:
- check this report from McKinsey on the beauty market
- get familiar with Kantar’s research on the UK beauty industry
- read this article on Gen Z in the UK
- scrap data from the GlobalData analysis
- check this beautiful report on UK Beauty & Grooming in 2022
And that’s just to name a few sources.
Tip: Not each industry is blessed with that many reports. In that case, visit Statista and search for some sector-specific data, or general data on your audience.
#7 Never stop exploring
Gen Z today will be an equivalent of Millenials in 5-10 years. What you checked yesterday and validated today, might not be relevant tomorrow. This applies to social media platforms and target audiences as well.
Remember how quickly Facebook transitioned from a college hangout for younger generations to a platform for older generations? So, don’t get too comfortable.
So, maybe this month, you explore the potential of Twitter Spaces for live discussions on company news with existing customers, and next month, you try out Instagram’s new interactive polls?
Keep experimenting and keep learning, because the moment you stop exploring is the moment you start falling behind.
Creating content for your social media target audience: best practices
Now that you know how to find your social media target audience, let’s see how to maximize their engagement. You can do it by serving the right content at the right time. Here are a few tips to help you succeed.
#1 Publish content for various stages of the marketing funnel
Your target audience isn’t a monolith. They’re at various stages of brand awareness and engagement. Don’t aim to create content that appeals to everyone everywhere. Instead, focus on crafting content that resonates with everyone but within your specific target audience.
This involves having a mix of:
- educational posts for newcomers,
- detailed how-tos for those considering your product,
- and customer testimonials for those on the verge of making a purchase.
Find the right balance here and don’t overload your social media profiles with one type of content or another. However, some content types cannot easily be categorized. And that’s great!
#2 A/B test different content elements
There is no golden rule for what works on social media (and what doesn’t). The best thing you can do is to experiment.
Test some components like:
- Publishing times (Are your posts getting more traction in the morning or do they perform better after hours?)
- Content formats (Do infographics get more shares from your current customers than videos?)
- CTAs (Is “Learn More” more effective than “Buy Now”?)
- Post length (Do shorter, snappy posts get more engagement, or does your target audience appreciate longer, more detailed content?)
- Hashtags (Do posts with hashtags perform better? If so, which hashtags are most effective?)
- Visual elements (Does the inclusion of images lead to higher engagement, compared to text-only posts?)
One is for sure – you won’t be bored.
#3 Repurpose your other content
You don’t have to start from scratch every time you create new social media posts.
If you have content that’s performing well in Google Analytics, chances are it will also resonate on social media.
Take your “greatest hits” — blog posts, webinars, or podcasts — and repurpose them into social media-friendly formats like short videos, infographics, or quick tips.
#4 Leverage user-generated content
Involving your current customers in social media marketing strategy makes your posts more relevant, but also strengthens your relationship with them. You get authentic content, and your target audience feel heard and appreciated.
For example, you could run a photo contest where followers share how they use your product in their daily lives. Or, you can follow Daniel Wellington’s tactics and republish photos from your followers:
User-generated content is this type of content that is impossible to copy, rewarding to publish, but very hard to get. This is why you should properly motivate your target group not just to receive a photo or two, but to keep receiving content regularly.
In addition to simple reposting, you can present awards for the best UGC and even pay monetary rewards to the winners.
Over to you
Understanding your target audience is the main element of any successful marketing campaign, especially in the crowded space of social media.
Identifying your ideal customer among current and prospective customers allows you to fine-tune your content marketing strategy. No matter if you’re a small business or an enterprise, no matter what your marketing budget is.
By creating social posts that resonate with specific groups, you can cut through all the noise and speak the same language as your target audience on social media.
And that’s what you should aim for!