All Your Questions Answered: How to Find Your Audience on Social Media
Posted by Taylor Munson on Feb 3, 2023 9:45:00 AM
At Tribute Media, we’ve found the most successful marketing strategy is one that centers around your target audience. However, on social media, finding your target audience can feel overwhelming. To help, our social media specialist, Taylor, and inbound marketing coordinator, Logan, dive into some strategies to help businesses find their target audience on social media.
What is a target audience?
Taylor: Before implementing a social media strategy, you have to know who you’re trying to reach. For any marketing tactics, whether it’s social media, search engine optimization, email, etc., the first step is always to define your target audience. A target audience narrows your focus to only the people you want to connect with. Who are your ideal customers? Who would be most interested in your business? Who would benefit from your products or services? That is your target audience.
Logan: I define a target audience as the intended group of people I want engaging with, liking, commenting, and sharing the content I put out there on social media. Finding your target audience doesn’t have to be as hard as it may seem. I like to start off by looking at a business's current customers and using that as a base to work off of. Existing customers can tell you a lot about the type of audience you should be spending your time and energy targeting.
Why is it important to find your target audience on social media?
Taylor: Marketing to everyone is the same as marketing to no one. There are billions of people on social media, and without knowing who exactly you’re trying to reach, your message will fall flat. Finding your niche audience will help you personalize your content to resonate with the right people.
Something we like to do with our clients to help them define their target audience is to create buyer personas. These semi-fictional personas help you characterize your ideal customer. When making buyer personas, consider things like age, job title, income level, education, location, behavior, interests, etc.
Logan: You can post all day long on every social platform, but you won’t see the results you want unless your content is in front of the right target audience. Think of your target audience as a crowd of fans, if you give them what they want (a performance of a lifetime), then they will cheer you on and support you. When you apply that to the world of social media, that cheering and support comes in the form of engagement, liking, sharing, and commenting. This strengthens your social media presence, which ultimately makes you stand out against the competition.
How do I know what social media platforms my target audience is most active on?
Taylor: You have to meet your audience where they are. Consider the demographics of each social media platform and how people are using those platforms. For example, if your business wants to focus on females between 25 to 45, Instagram will be a great platform to invest in. Or maybe you're looking for certain business decision-makers in specific industries. If so, LinkedIn is going to be your best choice. It’s okay to focus your efforts on more than one platform, but you’ll likely have the most success by sticking to two or three.
Logan: Spend time consuming content on each platform and researching more about your target audience. Questions to answer in your research: ‘What topics is your audience interested in?’, ‘How are they consuming content (videos, blogs, etc.)?’, ‘What are they talking about?’, ‘What types of pages do they follow?’, etc.
As you do your research, you will soon realize what platforms have a stronger community for the type of audience you are looking for. For example, if your target audience prefers to engage with video content, you should probably look into TikTok, Instagram (Reels), and YouTube.
How do I find my target audience on specific social media platforms?
Taylor: Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are excellent places to find your target audience. Try out some of the platform-specific tools to gain insights. On Facebook and LinkedIn, a great tool to use for researching and connecting with your audience is Groups. Facebook Groups are popular for people to come together around a common interest. For example, there’s a Facebook group dedicated to social media managers. Take time to explore Facebook Groups your target audience might be a part of and see what content they’re engaging with. Some of my favorite Facebook groups are View From My Window, Frogspotting, and DIY on a Budget.
LinkedIn also has groups around certain industries and interests. For example, there’s a LinkedIn Group focused on social media marketing for nonprofits. I recommend using LinkedIn Groups as a tool if you’re focusing on people in specific industries, with particular job titles, or who have certain professional goals and interests. Twitter is also a fantastic platform for researching your target audience, and I would strongly recommend using it to monitor conversations around your brand, industry, and relevant trending topics.
Logan: Instagram and TikTok are both very influencer-heavy, which is a great opportunity for you to find your target audience. First, you must find influencers that share content similar to yours. With every influencer you find that relates to you and your business, I recommend engaging with their content! This includes commenting on their posts, engaging with others in the comments, looking at who follows them, and looking at the hashtags they use. By doing so, you can better understand what your target audience wants to see and engage with.
Hashtags are huge when it comes to finding your target audience on these two platforms! Simply searching a single hashtag brings up every post that that specific hashtag has been used in, which allows you to further your target audience research.
Lastly, these platforms all have crazy algorithms that watch everything you engage in so that it can show you more content like it. Knowing this just makes it even more important to engage with content that is similar to yours. Once Instagram and TikTok understand the content you want to see, engaging with their suggestions is another great way to engage with your target audience.
How can I create content that will appeal to my target audience?
Taylor: Ask yourself first what type of content would interest you. After all, if it’s not interesting to you, it’s certainly not interesting to anyone else. Always keep your audience top of mind as you consider what they would want to see in their feed. What are some common questions you get asked by your customers? What are pain points your customers often experience? What topics are they most interested in? Test out different ideas to see what works and what doesn’t.
It’s also smart to utilize social media analytics tools, whether its the platform’s built-in analytics or a third-party tool. Not only do these tools help you understand what content is resonating most with your audience, but it also provides you insight into your audience demographics. Understanding who your followers are is crucial to crafting content they’ll love.
Logan: One of the best ways is to test out different types of content and then review the performance to see what’s resonating and what’s not. Don’t be afraid to try something different.
Back to influencers! You can also visit their pages and see what content of theirs is performing best. And again, if it’s something you have never tried, it’s maybe time to step out of your comfort zone! A good reminder when stepping out of your comfort zone is to still stay true to your branding. Going too far outside of the box could create confusion to followers, but it doesn’t hurt to get those creative juices flowing.
How does social media advertising help me reach my target audience?
Taylor: With so many people on social media, posting organically just isn’t enough anymore. Investing in social media advertising helps you cut through the noise and reach your ideal audience. Social advertising tools give you the ability to push your content to people within specific demographics, locations, behaviors, interests, and more. If you’re looking for the quickest and most effective way to reach your target audience on social media, paid advertising is the way to go.
Logan: Investing in social media advertising ensures your content is reaching the right people instead of competing with all the other organic content out there. When creating ads within social advertising platforms, you are able to apply very specific metrics that help you narrow your viewers down to your target audience.
Some of the best social platforms for advertising include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok. All of these platforms provide specific targeting options that allow you to deliver customized content to people with particular interests and behaviors.
How can I use social listening to better understand my target audience and their needs?
Taylor: There are so many conversations happening on social media at all times. What people are talking about now is different from what they were talking about yesterday. Social listening is a way of monitoring all these conversations, particularly the ones that relate to your audience. Search specific keywords, hashtags, and topics you feel your audience is interested in. Find the social profiles of your competitors and see what content they’re posting, who their followers are, and what appears to be resonating with people. A great tool to use for audience research is SparkToro.
Logan: Always be aware when your brand or business is being mentioned on the various social platforms. That way, you can engage with them early on! The easiest way is to set up alerts for comments, mentions, and certain brand keywords. You can also invest in a social listening tool to make it even easier on you. The top three I recommend are Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and SEMrush.
Written by Taylor Munson
Taylor is Tribute Media's social media specialist. When she's not hanging out in nature or socialing the medias, you might find her indulging reality shows or re-watching Parks and Recreation.