Small Business Marketing Guide: How to Find Your Target Audience on Social Media

December 16, 2020

One of the most effective and powerful ways to connect today is through social media. I remember the days when we used them just to connect with our loved ones. Well, we are way past that now.


In the modern digital age, social media is the most important tool for marketing. Not only does it help businesses increase their traffic, but it also enhances conversion rates, and improves brand loyalty. When it comes to business, it is like a resort to grab their client’s attention and bring advanced conversions.

Today, we know so many businesses with so many great products. However, not all of them are good at reaching out to the audience they desire. Why is that?

The thing is that many businesses have social accounts without any real idea of how they work. Most of them have it because someone told them they should own one, or because they feel it’s the right thing to do. They rush into it, without a strategy. The biggest problem is that they make no real effort to find their target audience. They follow everybody, relevant or not, or worse, hope that people follow them.

However, we have some excellent examples of companies that thrive on social media platforms. So, what are they doing right? What do they do, that their competition doesn't? In many cases, it is that they understand the importance of defining a target audience. You need to find out who your social media target audience is. A hint: it’s not everyone.


Do your Research


First things first. Stalk! 

Just hear me out.

Marketing is a game where you compete for your audience’s attention. The followers they have and the posts they are publishing can give you some idea of what your audience should be like. No worries, I got some good news for you. There are plenty of tools for you to use and dig up the dirt on your competitors.

Let’s start with Sprout Social. This one helps you understand your competitor’s performance on social media. So, if you want to get a sneak peek at what your competitors are posting, this is the right tool for you.

Phlanx is another one. This is a great way for you to analyze your competitor’s Instagram presence. It also helps you figure out if an influencer has a legitimate number of followers.

A fun tool for checking out brands is Social Blade. It assesses follower counts on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Similarweb helps you dig deep into your competitor’s content and where their traffic comes from.

You can also use Feedly if you want to see your competitor’s content without checking up on their blog constantly.

If you’re interested in your competitor’s paid ads, you can try iSpionage. This one analyzes multiple aspects of PPC campaigns and you also see who else competes for PPC ads for a particular topic.

Additionally, check Owler, Owletter, Mailcharts, Buzzsumo, and MozBar.


The Perfect Customers and How to Reach Them


Imagine this, you’ve spent so many hours working on this product you want to sell to people and you think your work is finally done. Hurray! You’ve created a masterpiece. And then reality hits. You are far from it. That was just the beginning. Now, you need to present in front of an audience.

It would be extremely difficult to start searching for the right people if you don’t know who they are in the first place. You cannot just go out there and play some guessing games without a plan. You need to have the right data to make the right decisions for your business, or you’ll just waste your time. Your people are out there, in the depths of the internet, you just need to do some digging.

Let’s start with the basics. First things first, make a profile of the persona you want. Develop a profile by asking yourself the right questions.

-          What age group do you want to reach out to?

-          What would be their income?

-          Do you focus on only one gender or both?

-          What would be their common values?

Having the answers to these questions would help you picture the right customers. Keep in mind that you can’t create content that will be of interest to everybody. You need to create the right material for your audience. To do this successfully, you should know precisely who makes up your audience. Have a look at Madewell. With more than 1 million followers, they know their thing. They are known as a denim brand, so their Instagram is focused mainly on jeans for a chic girl. This specific demographic makes a perfect match with Instagram where most of the followers are women (39% women, and 30% men). Their visual content is with bright colors and creative direction, and in all fairness, that’s what we girls want.

Use hashtags. The hashtags became a big thing in the last decade or so. They are quite easy and effective in getting your content across. You can create a hashtag that is specific to your brand. If it’s unique, it will stand out. Have a look at Coca Cola. They came up with the hashtag #ShareACoke which encouraged customers to share a coke with their loved ones. Or Lancome’s #BareSelfie, which asked users to post make-up free selfies and use the hashtag. Be careful though. You don’t want to come up with something like #susanalbumparty which was supposed to be used to promote an album release party for Susan Boyle. Long story short: capitalization matters.

Anyway, your own hashtag doesn’t have to be rocket science. You can use brand-name variations or slogans. 

Also, try using the most popular and general hashtags. You can go through the most liked hashtags to get some new ideas because any sort of tag will create traffic. However, you don’t want to come across as too eager to increase the number of followers by any means possible. Based on some research, the optimal number would be two to five hashtags per post, or as I’d like to call it: less is more. 


Extra tip: Ask people to use your hashtag. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to beg here, but to create a campaign that will make your followers use it. For example, have a look at Punky. They ask their followers to use the hashtag #punkycolour to show their creativity, and in return, they will publish their photos on their feed. No surprise there, their followers are doing exactly that. 

Paid ads also help to get your content in front of your customers and increase the traffic it needs to reach its goals. Just make sure you're advertising on social channels where your audience spends time and is active. You wouldn’t want to spend your money in vain. What websites do they visit? Which social networks are they spending most of their time on? Do they prefer email over other forms of communication? Try using Pew Research Center. It will show you who is spending time and where on social media.

Finally, do something nice for your customers: create content. Promote your product, but don’t be boring and over the top. You wouldn’t want them to be sick and tired of you. Try to be original and tailor your content in accordance with your buyer persona. Make sure that this content is adequately personalized and diversified. Use a wide variety of posts like videos, audios, polls, infographics, inspirational quotes, and educational blogs.


What Platform Will You Use?


Once you’ve decided on the target audience you want, the next thing to do is choose the right platform where you think your content will work best. 

Contrary to popular belief, you really don’t have to be everywhere. For example, if your audience is mainly men over 50 years old, then Instagram might not be the best place for you. Also, it depends on your industry. If we are talking about fashion, then Instagram and Pinterest would be perfect. However, software industries are better off on Twitter.  

As I said earlier, explore the competitors. Look at their content, who the top content creators are, and where do they go to show it off. 

Try using Google Analytics (Acquisition & Social & Network Referrals) to discover how many visits your site currently gets from social media. If you are already using different social media, but want to narrow it down, you should know where to focus your content. And speaking of content, think about the type of content you want. For instance, if you are video-driven, then try YouTube or Facebook. However, if you want to post news about the company, then try Linkedin or Twitter. If you are more into visuals, then go to Instagram or Pinterest. 

So, let’s compare social networks. Drumroll, please!

Facebook is the largest platform out there with more than 2 billion active members. As such, Facebook is great if you wish to show the human side of your business and build relationships. Facebook can present a bit of a different side of your company. However, always keep in mind that as the largest platform out there, there is a great deal of competition. If your audience is mostly using Facebook, try Facebook groups. They're a good place to learn more about your audience and build a better connection.

Next would be Twitter. Now if you need instant and immediate reach to your audience, or if you want to send breaking news or announcements, then Twitter is the place to go.

One of my personal favorites is LinkedIn. This is the biggest professional platform and perfect for editorial content. It can help you build authority for your brand and engage leads through conversations. The platform is good for B2B businesses, general networking, and recruiting employees.

Instagram is the fastest-growing network with over 800 million unique monthly users. It’s centered on storytelling and it’s perfect for visual-based businesses, like art, food, retail, and beauty.

YouTube boasts 1 billion users, but its reach extends far past that and you don’t have to sign up to be a user. Many of the YouTube searches are for “How To” videos. Industries that can offer this type of content work well on this platform.

Figuring out where your potential audience is online-wise, will help you prioritize which social media platforms you want to focus on.


Wrap It Up


Hopefully, this article helped you to figure out how to create and plan out your social media strategy. I know it might be one of the hardest things to do but in today’s modern society, it is inevitable. However, once you’ve done some outlining, it will be easier to see the bigger picture. 

Sometimes, it could be useful to ask professionals to develop your ideas. After all, they should know a thing or two about what you need. The right team will guide you through it and help you reach your ultimate goals. 

Wish you the best of luck and tell me how it goes. I’m eager to hear about your progress. 

Let’s work together!

Author: Jasmina Stankovska

Jasmina Stankovska

Jasmina is a technical author and content writer. She enjoys movies and music, and when she is trying to give her eyes a break, you’ll find her up on a mountain, exploring nature.