Defining Your Target Audience
So you have an idea for a website or store and you're ready to start growing your social-media following... awesome! Before you sign up for every social media account under the sun, you might want to work on creating a social-media strategy to help keep your work, image, and voice on track. The first step: defining your target audience.
A target audience, much like a target market, is the group of people that you want to see your stuff. Defining your audience gives you an idea of what social networks you should use, how often and when to post, what hashtags to use, and how to best reach the people that are going to keep your business or organization running — sound daunting? Luckily, CRFT has developed a simple template you can use which will help zero in on the age, gender, location, and interests of your target audience!
This profile can tell you a lot about your target audience, which will help to inform your social-media strategy and save you time and money in the long-run — just check out this infographic explaining the useful information that can be extracted from the Target Audience Profile!
“But wait… that’s just a jumble of data… how does it help me in setting up my social media account?” Lets take a closer look at each section and see how defining your target audience can help you establish a social media strategy that’s effective at reaching the people you want it to!
Age is one of the most important factors in determining what social media platforms your business should utilize. Different age groups use social media differently and choosing the wrong platform could mean completely missing your audience. The below chart shows the percentage of people that use social media platforms from different age-ranges.
You can use this to determine where your target audience is spending their time online and focusing your efforts on those platforms.
Amongst individuals 50 and over, Youtube (66%) and Facebook (55%) are the most popular platforms, while Snapchat (7%), Instagram (16%), and Twitter (14%) underutilized.
If you’re targeting audiences in this age group, it’s best to use platforms like Facebook and YouTube, and think about this audience’s needs when accessing social media. Consider highlighting your organization’s phone number and physical address as a way for audience members in this age group to actively engage with you in ways that are comfortable for them.
Individuals aged 30-49 are much more connected than those older than them, but these generations typically still utilize Youtube and Facebook more than other platforms. Individuals in this age-range are much more likely to use Instagram then those over 50 (with approximately 39% having accounts) while they generally don’t use Snapchat and Twitter as much as their younger counterparts (with approximately 25% having accounts on both platforms).
If you’re targeting individuals in this age group, Facebook and Youtube are your best bets at connecting with them. Try to create content that can help them with their day-to-day lives and engages them in conversation, contests, or activities. This age group is generally more technically savvy than their older counterparts, so get creative with your digital media strategy to find ways to best connect with them.
Between the ages of 25-29, users are much more engaged, with more than 50% saying they utilize Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube. This group is highly connected, so investing your time in social-media marketing will go a long way towards reaching them!
Social-media platforms are generally more popular with consumers aged 18-24. This age group is the most likely to have social media accounts on multiple platforms and these individuals check their accounts most frequently. According to PEW research 94% of individuals aged 18-24 use Youtube, while 78% use SnapChat and 71% use Instagram.
Interestingly, this age group is less likely to be on Facebook than their older peers aged 25-29, meaning that if you’re targeting individuals in this group, it’s best to use platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube.
Increasingly, organizations and businesses are moving away from gendered marketing, which opens up your audience base and increases the number of clients or customers you can attract. If it's possible with your brand, try to make your marketing activities as gender inclusive possible, by:
avoiding gendered language
picking neutral colour schemes
focusing on content that is interesting and relevant to both genders
Consult with individuals from across the gender spectrum when running focus groups or displaying samples to ensure your messaging is well received by all
Of course, there are instances when marketing to a particular gender is necessary, such as if you're launching a delivery service for men's razors or coordinating a woman's only basketball league. If you're product is dependent on gender you can use this information to help you determine which social media platforms to focus your energy on -- just check out the following chart, which breaks down social media platform by gender.
So what does this mean? Well, if your target audience is women it would be smart to focus your marketing activities on Instagram and Pintrest. You could also probably ignore Reddit as a platform, because it is under-utilized by your target audience. If you're target audience is men, focusing on Twitter, YouTube and Reddit might help you reach potential customers and users. This also shows us that Facebook is utilized nearly equally by both genders, meaning it's a good option no matter who you're trying to reach!
Regionality is the process of determining which geographical locations you should focus your digital marketing on. When you think of social media, it's easy to get carried away with the idea of accessing a global audience, but in a lot of cases it's smarter to look local when you're trying to grow. If you're trying to refer people to a physical business located in Vancouver, it doesn't make sense to target individuals in Toronto. It's also easier to build brand loyalty and brand image in local communities where you have a network developed and fans already, and building a following in your home city can translate to more exposure and attention from a broader audience. When completing your Target Audience Profile, think about the following factors:
Is my business tied to a particular location?
Do I already have a built-in audience in a specific location?
Can I capitalize off of already-existing networks in spreading information about my business?
Once you determine any regional restrictions, you can use hashtags, geotaging, and optimized paid ad campaigns to target users in your region, which will allow you to plan more effective campaigns relevant to your audience.
Thinking about the interests of your target audience will help you narrow in on which hashtags to use when you try and grow your audience. Hashtags are important when you're trying to grow your target audience, and it's important that you are strategic about how you use them, which hashtags you choose, and how many to put in a post.
First, pick out some key interests of your target audience from the list on the form. Search the interests you chose on social media to find hashtags related to those interests. This list of hashtags can be used as a reference list when you're posting content in the future, and will help those that benefit from your product or service connect with your brand in digital spaces. You can also use this list of hashtags to search out individuals to follow when growing your account's reach, by following individuals who regularly use hashtags related to your brand. Simply follow them, and wait for them to visit your page and follow you back!