Building Your Audience with Social Media
Building Your Audience With Social Media
It’s hard to imagine, but Social media has been a part of our lives since the early 2000’s. There are many social media sites all over the globe, but most notably: LinkedIn came about in 2002, followed by MySpace in 2003 and then Facebook opened its doors in 2004. Social marketing platforms have grown tremendously since their inception (Facebook now claims over 1 BILLION active users!). Wouldn’t it have been great if your business or product had a social media presence for over ten years – distributing all that content, and building a following for all those years? Would that give you some sort of an advantage? You bet! But don’t worry, even if you have no social media reach or experience, you could start now and build the online social media empire that you’ve always wanted. This article will introduce the concept of building your online audience and both experienced bloggers and those that are relatively new to the concept may benefit from the content presented here. Let’s figure out the first step to working with social media as a marketing platform: defining your target market.
Define Your Target Market
As with pretty much all marketing strategies, before diving into the heavy duty stuff, you have to first fine your target market. This means figuring out exactly who your consumer is – everything from what they look like, how they think, and what they purchase. It helps to be as specific as possible, but generalizations are fine in a lot of cases.
Demographics are a key aspect, but don’t ignore the individual and WHO they really are: their likes, dislikes, lifestyle, etc. A professionally developed strategy might involve a customer ‘avatar’ (including a photo and character description of your ideal customer). This helps you hone in on your perfect consumer, and although you ignore the many other people that may buy from you, this approach is part of top-line strategies by professional marketers.
Conducting market research can be a highly involved task. We recommend taking a look at online articles regarding market research to get more details. Every business has its own demographic preference. If you run a flower shop, your demographics might lean toward women, aged 35-55. If the flower shop is in a busy New York street corner, as opposed to a cemetery in Wisconsin, your demographics will further change based on these and many other factors.
To help define your demographics, you can ask yourself a few questions to help you define the customers that currently drive most of your business.
- The price of your product or service, and does it relate to a particular income class in order for people to afford it?
- Where is your target market physically located? Is it online/offline or both?
- Is your product or service gender specific? Or more suitable for a particular age-range? Or is it best for people with a particular religious/political/social creed or status?
- Does your product or service appeal to people of a particular ethnicity?
- And so on…
By the end of this research, you should have some or all of the following outlined: age, ethnicity, gender, income level, location, level of education, marital/family status and occupation.
After compiling the basics about your target market, it’s time to start thinking about who they are as people. This is one of, if not THE most important steps to delivering the right content to the right people. Psychographics effect your marketing strategies for both online and offline media, so it is crucial that you pay attention to this step.
What are your customers’ likes and dislikes and what does this tell you about them?
- What types of media do they consume and what do they consume and how often? How can you use this data to deliver better content more efficiently to them?
- What are their personal beliefs? How can you leverage what you know about their belief system in crafting the ideal message to them?
- What is their lifestyle like? How does your product or service better their lifestyle?
One of the best ways to figure out your psychographics and demographics is to pay attention to your competitors. Chances are, someone somewhere has done all the research in order to figure out their clients already. But chances are that you can also IMPROVE on their research, as well. Take a look at your competitors’ social media, advertisements, and products/services to understand your consumer better.
Start Your Start Your Campaign
There are dozens if not hundreds of social media networks available to you these days. Truly understanding your target market will help you save time and money since you can focus on particular types of social networking sites to reach them with. This is especially important if you are going to be purchasing ads on social media sites. Hopefully, by this point you have your audience more or less figured out and are ready to move forward with your new strategy.