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How to Find and Understand Your Target Audience on Social Media

Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin

Do you want to grow your social media profile and business? Understanding your customers is the first step.

Business owners and marketers create and use social media to reach their target audience. Despite over 3 billion people using social media, many of these same people have trouble maintaining and growing their profiles. 

Why?

Simply put, these people don't have a firm grasp on their target market. You've probably heard people compare difficult challenges to finding a needle in the haystack. Reaching customers when you have no information on their habits or interests is a great practical example of the saying in action. 

Trying to send marketing material to that many people will not work. There are too many individuals with different tastes, interests, and personalities. Finding someone that's interested in your brand with no research is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. 

However, if you can pinpoint your target audience and create content that caters to their needs, you'll have a much easier time growing your social channels. 

Today we are going to take a look at several tips and tricks you can use to find and understand your audience on social media. 

Let's dive in! 

Review your onsite analytics

Did you know that, on average, social media drives 31.24% of website traffic? If not, you're missing out on a huge to learn about your target audience. Customers that engage with your website are the same users you should target in your social media marketing campaign. 

On-site analytics can help you learn about your followers from a demographic and ideological standpoint. You can learn plenty of valuable information about your target audience through analytic analysis. 

For example, business owners can uncover information about where most of their followers come from, which can help them determine when they should share their posts on social media. If you're based in the US, but most of your audience is in the UK, you would want to change your upload times to match when your ideal consumers are active online. 

It's also easy to see traits like gender, age, and how they behave on your website. Getting your hands on this information should be your number one priority if you don't have an existing social media profile. The more information you have on the people you want to reach, the easier time you'll have setting up and promoting your brand profile. 

You can learn about their interests in your industry by looking at your traffic overall, and compare the results to individual posts. Imagine if you were the owner of an email marketing firm and the only posts that consistently see the most views and shares focus on lead generation. Now you have a jumping-off point for future content as well as a more in-depth understanding of the pain points and goals for your social media users. 

Poll current followers

Another way you can find out more about the people you want to reach is by polling current followers and customers. You can send out email surveys to your subscribers, add social media polls to your profile, and even include an on-site questionnaire for visitors. 

There's a delicate balance you must find when creating customer surveys. You don't want to add too many questions, as this could result in form abandonment. Instead of making a 100 question poll, include 2-4 questions that focus on your industry and the needs of your customers. 

With that thought in mind, let's talk about question relevance. Your goal when asking these questions is to learn about the people that frequent your brand website. There's plenty you can learn if you're willing to ask relevant questions. 

Let's reference our fictional email marketing firm for an example. If you want to discover new pain points, you might ask your followers what problem is affecting their email marketing efforts the most. If a majority of people say lead generation, you've just effectively confirmed what you learned by examining on-site analytics. 

That's not to say that a different top answer is a complete bust. Polls can help you learn about other issues your customers are facing. The more information you gather from people willing to fill out your survey, the better. 

Develop customer personas

Now that you've gathered plenty of information about your target audience, it's time to develop your customer personas. Essentially, customer personas are information sheets you make about each segment of your visitors. 

For instance, online pet stores have different customer personas for cat and dog owners. They use this information to deliver targeted marketing and improve personalization. 

You should include everything you learned from reviewing poll data and analytics. The main goal is to get as much certain information about each customer group. Theories and speculation are useful for testing, but not ideal when you're not sure where to start. Focus on what you know, and allow room for marketing speculation once you start gaining traction. 

Don't forget to include social media websites where your ideal leads spend their time. You can use this piece of the sheet to plan your marketing strategy and budget. If 70% of your audience hangs out on Facebook, you would want to put most of your marketing time and effort there, right? 

Check relevant groups 

Every social media website has a way to group people together to talk about specific topics. Instagram and Twitter use hashtags, Facebook uses groups, and YouTube offers channel communities. Use these resources as a way to bolster your marketing campaign an connect with customers. 

The best way to keep up on consumer sentiment and the latest trends in your industry is to use these tools on each platform. Let's say you want to start posting content on Facebook, but you're not sure what kind of posts would prove valuable for your followers. You can go to some of the larger niche-related groups on the platform, and see what kind of discussions are occurring in the comment sections. 

Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. What kind of content do you think people in your industry want to read? Learning from individuals facing issues that your product can solve will help you write better ad copy and  

Aside from observing what people are saying, you can actively engage with consumers using hashtags and groups too. Engagement is the backbone of a thriving brand, so you must stay engaged with the community on your account, and in niche-specific groups across the web. 

Back to you

We all use social media in one way or another, and we all feel the impact of these various platforms on our lives. People communicate, entertain themselves, and learn using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many other social sites. 

One of the best ways to grow your brand is to use these websites to your advantage. Focus on learning more about the people visiting your site and interested in your niche so you can build strong relationships with your followers while generating new leads. There's an excellent reason that 78% of business owners and marketers that use social media marketing outperform their peers. 

Social media marketing is not a one-size-fits-all glove. Everyone's strategy and social media metrics will differ depending on their industry, company size, and budget. The more time you spend on these various websites engaging with consumers, the better chance you'll have at delivering an excellent product and relevant information to future followers. 

Image Credit: Twin Design / Shutterstock
Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin,
business.com Writer
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I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.