Using social media to find your target audience

In marketing, phrases like ‘target audience’ get thrown around a lot. We all know that it’s important to identify your target audience and tailor your strategies to suit them…but how can you make sure you are targeting the right people?

Well that’s where social media comes in handy!

Thanks to the rise of social media, most big businesses have a significant online presence, and you can use this to your advantage. A good way to start identifying your target audience is to look at the online profiles of your competitors – seeing who their audience is can tell you a lot about who you should be targeting. Check who is following and engaging with your competitors to see who would be most likely to have an interest in what your business is offering.

Additionally, use your own online presence to refine your target audience. For instance, who is following your company’s LinkedIn page? Who is engaging with your brand on Twitter and Facebook? By devoting some time to researching your existing social media following, you can gain a clearer understanding of who is interested in what you have to offer and who, therefore, your marketing campaigns should be targeting.

There are other tools you can use to identify the people you should be targeting. For example, Twiangulate is a useful search engine that allows you to uncover matches in people’s Twitter bios, so you can find people with interests that match up with what your company is offering. Similarly, Facebook’s graph search lets you filter people by, among other things, their interests, again enabling you to find the people who stand to gain the most from your company.

So, you’ve identified your target audience. Now what?

Well, a key move is to find out what sites your audience uses the most. There are lots of studies concerning who is using what social media; all it takes is a little research to refine which sites you should be focusing on! There are many sites you can utilise to find out stats and figures about social media usage – here’s one to get you started. See also the Pew Research Center’s breakdown of where people are spending their time online.

Another useful tool is Facebook Ad Manager, which can help you figure out the size of your target audience, at least as far as Facebook is concerned (and Facebook is pretty vital, since statistics show that it has over 2.07 billion monthly active users).

Once you know who your target audience is, where to find them and how many of them there are, you can adjust your content accordingly to fit both the target audience and the medium through which you are reaching them. And the benefits of this are abundant – knowing and focusing on your target audience will save you time, money and resources.