All of the decisions you make as you move into social media marketing will reflect back to this key component: who are you trying to reach?
Understanding Your Audience is Key to:
- Ensuring effective planning and strategy.
- Selecting appropriate social media platforms.
- Creating content that appeals to your audience.
- Developing a brand voice that will be relatable to the right people.
- Saving money on paid social media advertising.
Understanding your target demographic will help you to narrow your potential customer base down to a more manageable size, guiding your decision-making throughout the social media process.
On social media, psychographic classification can be even more important than demographic classification. This system categorizes people based on interests, tastes, and beliefs of your target customer - something that for many businesses,
A simple Google search will link you to the detailed census bureau information about your city, county, or state. Even easier and more detailed, Facebook has extensive audience building tools that will give you very detailed analysis of the number of people interested in certain things.
DEMOGRAPHIC & PSYCHOGRAPHIC WORKSHEET
Copy and paste this worksheet into your planning document, or write the answers in a notebook.
Product/Service Benefit Analysis (Optional):
If your business is online/nationwide, which states do most of your customers come from?
Are your customers tourists? If so, what are some common locations they travel from?
Brands & Competition:
Product Benefit Analysis
If you're unsure of how to narrow down your target audience, this exercise that runs through some of your different products or services and the types of products and features that will benefit them can help you define more about your customer.
Instead of looking just at your specific business location, take a broader look that includes the places where your customers typically come from. Is your business popular with tourists? Do you take online orders? Define different locations and relate them to different audiences.
Social Media gives businesses the ability to really pinpoint their target audience location, even down to a small radius around their business location. For those with location tracking enabled, targeting can also include their present location versus their hometown, enabling you to reach people who are very close to your business location at certain times throughout the day. For example, a hair stylist might reach customers who don't live in the town that they're located in but work nearby.
Narrowing down the basics found in any census data, such as age and gender can help you quickly focus in your strategy and advertising to the right people.
Brands & Competition
Tracking other brands with a similar audience will help you in several ways:
- With a larger brand, you can actually target advertising to that brand's fans. For example, if our hair stylist were to target customers in her area who enjoyed high end hair care products that she carries in her shop.
- If you track your competition or similar companies on social media, you can gain a better understanding of the types of strategies other brands use to reach your audience.
- You may find opportunities to partner with companies that have a similar audience to you. For instance, that same hair stylist could partner with a local day spa for a promotion, combining resources and expanding both company's followings.
From typical hobbies to defined interests that specifically relate to your brand, brainstorm a variety of potential target categories for your audience. Often this will require some testing and tweaking to find categories that give you the response you're looking for, so feel free to make this list quite long, or to come back and add to it as you see fit.
For example, our hair stylist would be able to target advertising to those interested in hair stylists, but this may not find all of her potential customers. To further reach the right people, she could also target a variety of psychographic interest & hobby groups, such as fashion, beauty and makeup.
A Note on Race, Ethnicity and Income - Know the Regulations
Avoid any advertising choices that may be seen as exclusionary or discriminatory. On top of ethical and public relations ramifications of discrimination, Facebook and other social media enforce strict anti-discrimination policies.
In some fields demographic targeting is very strictly regulated, by the federal government as well. For example, anyone who works in the real estate industry (realtors, property managers, landlords, etc) needs to make sure their advertising practices comply with the Fair Housing Act.
We recommend using racial and ethnic data from your region to ensure that your advertising is diverse and inclusive. Visuals that you select should be as representative of the different types of people who live in your target area as possible.