Target audience represents the group of potential consumers you want to reach, in this case via social media. It refers to those who are most likely to become your customers in the future, and that is why your goal is to establish a connection with them.
When being active on social media in the purpose of marketing, you are not interested in simply increasing the number of social followers. Yes, this can help you with popularity, but the followers who are not genuinely interested in your business and products or services you provide, will not interact on your social media accounts, they are unlikely to recommend you or eventually buy from you.
This is why defining your target audience is one of the essential tasks, when defining a social media marketing strategy.
You should start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What is my product (service)?
- Who is it for?
- Who will find it useful?
- Who will buy from me?
- Who will be interested in my business?
- Who were my clients in the past?
All of these questions will help you determine the type of consumer you want to reach. Be as specific as possible when answering these questions as the answer is very important for the future success of your social media marketing.
Have in mind that if you are trying to reach everyone, your strategy will be too general and you might seem less focused on the group of people you want to target. On the other hand, if you have specific group in mind, such as teenagers, male adults over forty, etc. you will be able to use the suitable language and attitude for your approach. In this way, your target group is more likely to pay attention, as its members will be able to identify with you.
For example, if you sell beauty products for women over 30, you should have in mind this group when posting status updates, images, publishing content on your blog. Posting a status update about football or car repair will be absolutely useless in this case. It could have negative effect on your current followers, who might change their mind about following you. Having in mind that your target group is, in this case, the group of women over 30, you will create content to which these women can relate. At the same time, you want to make a correlation between this group and your business. This means that even though it seems that you might be talking about cooking, as women over 30 can relate to that, it actually has nothing to do with it. Instead, try talking about beauty tips and tricks, pampering, skin care, etc.
Besides determining target group based on your business and type of product, you can also use insights on social media, to determine the group of people who follow your social media account. Even though this kind of data is not available for every social network, the most important ones, such as Facebook and Google+ offer this kind of statistics. The users are usually divided into groups by age and by gender. Furthermore, location of the users can also be seen, which is especially helpful if you want to determine your target audience based on the specific location.
If you are a local business and you need geolocation data, you should use URL shortening services, as those provide this kind of information. URL shortening helps you get other information, but when it comes to target audience, the location is the most relevant data you can track using one of these services.
Another method of determining your target group is analyzing your sales. In collaboration with sales department of your business you might be able to get the information about your audience that will be helpful when defining your approach on social networks. However, have in mind that it is not necessarily the case that your current customers are the ones that follow you on social networks. If you notice this kind of discrepancy, you should try to determine what might be the cause.
Before you even start your social media marketing strategy, you should plan the target audience you are going to address. This means that you will probably have defined the group of people you expect to follow you on social networks. This kind of assumption is based on the years of experience in doing business offline, as well as on logical thinking. For example, if you are selling men’s clothing, obviously your audience is men within a certain age group.
After you have started you social media marketing strategy and you have been able to analyze the first results, you will be able to compare the group you have originally thought of when planning social media approach to the group of people who does in fact follow you on social networks.
If your social media marketing was successful, these two will match, and you will be sure that you are interacting with people who are most likely to become your customers. As a result, this kind of interacting is most likely to bring profit to your company, making social media strategy effective and profitable.
On the other hand, if there are discrepancies between these two groups, this can be the result of two things. First of all, you might have completely been wrong from the start when you were determining your target group. Secondly, your social media activity might have attracting people who you did not intend to target. This is often the result of a wrong social media approach or the act of buying followers. In both of these cases, your social media marketing strategy will not produce good results, and you will actually be wasting assets in the strategy that has no chance of succeeding. If this happens, you have to take steps in order to modify the social media strategy so to adapt it to your business and to your target audience.