Social media can be your most effective tool in finding your target audience. Read how social media-savvy businesses do it.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are updated at lightning speed, with an average of 510,000 Facebook comments, 1350 Instagram photos, and 120,000 tweets published every minute.
While this means that social networking sites have become an effective means of reaching out to a ton of people in a short period of time, if you were to consider the sheer number of brands on social media trying to get a slice of the marketing pie, you’ll soon realize that you have some pretty steep competition out there.
That’s why your messaging needs to be carefully tailored for your target audience. The only way to make the most out of your marketing efforts is to ensure that you’re sending the right message to the right customers.
The question is: How DO you find your target audience on social media?
1. Start conversations with your existing customers.
Don’t be afraid to try the direct approach. Talk to your current customers face to face at your store (if you have a physical outlet), or send them an email if you run an exclusively online business. Ask them about which social media sites they use – you’re likely to find more people with similar profiles (ergo, potential customers) there.
2. Add social media links to your emails.
Quick question: When was the last time you sent or opened an email? I’m guessing it wasn’t too long ago. (In fact, it could very well be just a few seconds before you started reading this!)
Despite the meteoric rise in popularity of social media platforms as marketing tools, email remains an effective channel for both communication AND lead generation for marketers across the globe. The very nature of the channel allows you to send a tailored message to your target audience, giving you direct control over how you want to communicate and with whom.
Add social media links in the emails you send, inviting your subscribers to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, add you on LinkedIn, and so on. You can even create a special email message that specifically invites them to engage with you on social media, on the platforms where you are already active.
3. Make it worth their while.
One surefire way you can get more people to respond to you on social media is to show them exactly how you can help them. For instance, you can craft special offers such as case studies, eBooks, and other useful content from your website.
Make these resources incentives for people to sign up and provide their social media links. You can easily make a signup form or landing page part of the download process, asking the users who want to download your eBook for their contact information before they gain full access to your files.
4. Host webinars.
With a webinar, you can not only share your skills and expertise with your audience, but you’re also (rather inadvertently) showing the so-called human side of your brand, making you an even more attractive and relatable prospect to follow for your target audience. You can then invite more subscribers to follow you on social media and get your updates regularly.
5. Give away prizes and goodies by holding raffles and contests.
When it comes to incentivizing the process of following you on social platforms, few things can beat the promise of possibly winning at events like giveaway contests or online sweepstakes.
Make it a requirement to like, follow, or add you before joining your raffle or giveaway. You can also come up with special offers or freebies. For example, feel free to give your subscribers a special discount voucher, or free samples of new and/or popular products in your inventory – after they follow you and share your page, of course.
6. Observe where your competitors are most active.
Don’t be afraid to look at someone else’s backyard – in this case, any of your well-established competitors with a strong social media following. Take note of which social media platforms they post updates on most frequently – it’s likely that the added focus on these channels is because they get more bang for their buck by posting there. Another way to do it would be to search for your competitors’ names on the biggest social media platforms and see how they’re doing. (This is related to the next point, which is…)
7. Use all of the features of social media platforms, especially the search function.
Most social media sites have a search function that allows you to search for people or brands. Choose keywords that are related to your business, such as hobbies or interests your customers tend to have, and use that information to identify if your target audience tends to flock to a particular social media platform.
Another example of this is your header image. Since you get quite a bit of creative leeway with your header images, make sure to use that section of your page as a space for promoting your OTHER social media accounts, and for inviting your fans to subscribe to your updates on those platforms.
Yet another feature that you can use for this purpose is, surprise surprise, advertising! The best thing about promoted posts and online advertisements via social media is that these are cost-effective solutions, especially considering the size of the audience you can attract at a relatively small price.
8. Match your email subscribers to specific social media platforms.
Out of all of these tips, this one might take the most work, but trust me, it’s worth it. You can take your list of subscribers and search for them to see if they have social media accounts. Although their accounts may be private, you’ll still be able to search for them and verify if their accounts exist there – and if they have public accounts that you can engage with. You can easily type in their names or email addresses in the search bar to find them.
These are just a few of the many ways you can grow your following and find your target audience. All of these will take a fair bit of research, but can really pay off, especially when executed right. You’ll discover which social media sites your customers and prospects use, and you may even find a site or platform they like that you didn’t even know about!
With the right approach, some patience, and a clear focus on what you need to do, your marketing strategy can become even more powerful AND rewarding than it already is. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below!
Liz Azyan is a digital consultant who helps public organisations and businesses add value to their products and services through smart digital solutions. She has been awarded the Google Fellowship Award for her work and initiative in the arena of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship. She has also been listed on several lists around the web as a top digital expert by her peers and industry leaders.