In today’s dig­i­tal age, you need to be on top of social media mar­ket­ing, but, with so many social media plat­forms in play, it can be chal­leng­ing to find the right way of approach­ing your tar­get audi­ence. This is large­ly due to busi­ness­es not tak­ing the time to research their tar­get audi­ence with the wide vari­ety of tools avail­able to them — such as social media.

Market Research Using Social Media

Even if you have an amaz­ing mar­ket­ing cam­paign, you can’t run it suc­cess­ful­ly unless you can reach your tar­get audi­ence through the kind of medi­um they feel com­fort­able with. This is why know­ing how to con­duct mar­ket research to find your tar­get audi­ence using social media is an absolute­ly cru­cial skill your busi­ness sim­ply can’t do with­out.

Defining Your Target Audience

The first step of mar­ket research is defin­ing your tar­get audi­ence. This includes being aware of its behav­ioral habits, moti­va­tions, pre­ferred media and plat­forms, inter­ests, and the gen­er­al char­ac­ter­is­tics shared by indi­vid­u­als who are inter­est­ed in what you are offer­ing.

With­out a tar­get audi­ence, it’s almost impos­si­ble to devel­op an effec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. Pre­con­ceived ideas about your audi­ence can often dif­fer from real­i­ty or include sur­pris­ing nich­es you didn’t con­sid­er.
To be sure your mar­ket­ing cam­paigns are effec­tive, you need to be absolute­ly sure they are reach­ing the peo­ple they should be.

Who Is Your Perfect Audience Persona?

How do you pic­ture the per­fect clients? What char­ac­ter­is­tics do they have? Think about their age, where they’re from, their employ­ment, and what kinds of stores they vis­it or pets they own. Now make a list of the indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics you think they have.

This is your Ide­al Cus­tomer Per­sona. You can use these cri­te­ria to find the social media out­lets that your ide­al cus­tomer might fre­quent. So, how do you know who uses what?

What Social Media Platforms Does Your Audience Use?

All social media sites host a wide range of peo­ple with dif­fer­ent per­sonas, but even they have larg­er quan­ti­ties of peo­ple who share cer­tain char­ac­ter­is­tics. We’ve bro­ken down the four biggest play­ers in the social net­work­ing game and the rec­om­mend­ed approach­es to take with each, below:

Face­book is used by an esti­mat­ed 60 per­cent of Amer­i­cans — it is, with­out a doubt, the largest social media net­work today. It hosts the largest range of users, mak­ing it hard to pin down a cer­tain per­sona, but it is gen­er­al­ly accept­ed to be about fun, leisure­ly expe­ri­ences and social net­work­ing

Best of all, Face­book users will vol­un­tar­i­ly give you an exces­sive amount of infor­ma­tion them­selves — for free. Face­book also has a range of tools designed to allow you to tar­get your per­fect audi­ence, whether it is based on age, loca­tion, inter­ests, or basi­cal­ly any­thing else you can think of, mak­ing it one of the best plat­forms for pin­point­ing the per­fect tar­get audi­ence. Face­book adver­tis­ing can even assist you in find­ing and sug­gest­ing peo­ple with sim­i­lar traits to your cus­tomers.

YouTube also hosts a wide range of per­sonas, but Youtube vis­i­tors share the trait of being attract­ed to visu­al media and being will­ing to invest time in what they’re view­ing, unlike Face­book users, who are far more like­ly to just glance and scroll.

Insta­gram is all about pho­tos. Every­thing on Insta­gram is about pho­tog­ra­phy and sta­t­ic images, and Insta­gram users are usu­al­ly inter­est­ed in any­thing visu­al­ly appeal­ing. Insta­gram users are more like­ly to be con­scious of their appear­ance and inter­est­ed in any prod­ucts relat­ed to this. Suc­cess­ful adver­tise­ments on Insta­gram include endorse­ments, engag­ing pho­tographs, and direct links.

LinkedIn is the most pop­u­lar social media plat­form for pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices and net­work­ing. Here, your audi­ence con­sists of, almost exclu­sive­ly, white-col­lar pro­fes­sion­als of all lev­els, who do not appre­ci­ate being exposed to non-pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices and prod­ucts through LinkedIn.

Twit­ter has a very spe­cif­ic cul­ture that focus­es on short, punchy mes­sages (180 char­ac­ters or less, to be exact), often result­ing in more spe­cif­ic lan­guage use, such as tag­ging, acronyms, and “text lan­guage,” as users try to fit more infor­ma­tion into short phras­es.
To find your per­fect tar­get audi­ence, Twit­ter also offers audi­ence tar­get­ing options sim­i­lar to Face­book, such as gen­der, inter­est, fol­low­er, device, key­word, behav­ior, and geog­ra­phy tag­ging, among oth­ers.

Where Does Your Audience Spend Its Time?

Most of your audi­ence will be using more than one social media net­work. Find out where your tar­get audi­ence spends most of its time. This will make your mar­ket­ing cam­paign much more effi­cient as you can invest more in the areas that host most of your ide­al cus­tomer per­sonas and less or none of those that don’t.

Finding Out More About Your Audience

Now that you have an idea of who should be lis­ten­ing, find out who is lis­ten­ing and why they are. By ana­lyz­ing your cur­rent data, you can see what works and what doesn’t and cre­ate the rest of your Client Per­sonas. Remem­ber, you should con­stant­ly be ana­lyz­ing the data and updat­ing your per­sonas to bet­ter reflect your audi­ence types. Find­ing out more about your audi­ence will also help you tap into those nich­es you nev­er thought about, as well as improve your mar­ket­ing cus­tomiza­tion for bet­ter con­ver­sion rates.

Social Conversation Mining

So, how do you find out what kind of con­tent will res­onate with your audi­ence? Easy. See what they’re talk­ing about. Strate­gies such as view­ing con­tent with high back­links, key­word search­es, Google AdWords esti­mates, and assess­ing pub­li­ca­tions for rel­e­vant con­tent are essen­tial, but noth­ing beats quan­ti­fy­ing what peo­ple are actu­al­ly talk­ing about. Using a tool like a top­ic cloud also gives you an insight into the spe­cif­ic word­ing used, the key dri­vers behind con­ver­sa­tions, and the ques­tions being asked.

Trending Content

This one is sim­ple. What’s trend­ing? Sites like Face­book will active­ly inform you about real-time trend­ing top­ics. Don’t let a resource like this go to waste. Make your con­tent rel­e­vant by keep­ing up with trends, espe­cial­ly by includ­ing plen­ty of SEO key­words. Using social lis­ten­ing can also give you an advan­ta­geous edge and help you become a leader in a trend­ing top­ic, rather than a fol­low­er. This will also allow you to research what your audi­ence responds the most to, and help add some col­or to your ide­al user per­sona.

Influence Identification

Some­times, it’s nec­es­sary to admit you may not be the per­son peo­ple want to lis­ten to. So, how do you con­vert peo­ple that you know would be inter­est­ed in what you have to say? Find out the peo­ple they already lis­ten to. If you have a choice of two restau­rants for din­ner, and a friend you trust rec­om­mends one, are you more like­ly to dine there? It’s the same with your audi­ence. Focus­ing on engag­ing a sin­gle key influ­encer can often be the key to over­com­ing the engage­ment bar­ri­er for a whole new audi­ence.

Ask Them

Seri­ous­ly. Ask them. Give your audi­ence an oppor­tu­ni­ty not just to receive com­mu­ni­ca­tions from you but to send some back. You can engage with clients direct­ly, set up sur­veys, enable reviews, pro­mote shar­ing, set up a reward sys­tem based on feed­back, and just gen­er­al­ly encour­age feed­back in any of its forms. What your clients think is one of your most valu­able resources when it comes to cre­at­ing engag­ing con­tent. Ask your audi­ence what it wants and lis­ten to them—they’ll tell you exact­ly what you need to do to cre­ate more suit­able and engag­ing con­tent.

Look at Similar Sites

Your com­peti­tors might have the right idea. If you ever won­der if you’re on the right track, hav­ing a sneak peek at what sim­i­lar sites are doing is usu­al­ly a sure-fire way to con­firm it. Of course, doing some­thing dif­fer­ent doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean you’re not; some­one has to lead new trends, after all. How­ev­er, if you’re feel­ing unsure or maybe a lit­tle stuck, there is noth­ing wrong with draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from your com­peti­tors’ ideas.

Use the Right Tools

To help you achieve some of the goals we’ve out­lined above, we’ve also put togeth­er a short list of use­ful tools for the pur­pose.

  • Social Crawlyt­ics: This tool can tell you how many times a web page has been shared on social media pages.
  • Buz­zSumo: This tool will help you find pop­u­lar con­tent. You can search by top­ic or on a spe­cif­ic web­site.
  • Heat-map: This tool will tell you exact­ly which part of your page view­ers spends the most time look­ing at.
  • Per­son­app: This tool helps you map your client per­sonas quick­ly and eas­i­ly, with­out bog­ging you down in too many details.
  • Face­book Audi­ence Insights: This tool lets you cre­ate any kind of tar­get demo­graph­ic you can imag­ine (well, maybe not quite, but almost!). As sug­gest­ed by the name, this tool is only for Face­book.
  • Fol­low­er­wonk: Basi­cal­ly, the same as Face­book Audi­ence Insights but for Twit­ter.

Final Thoughts

That’s it. You’re ready. You’ve got your to-do list and a list of use­ful tools to help you. The only thing left is to get start­ed. You won’t regret get­ting to know your audi­ence.