Working in social media forces you deal with target groups in every single client brief that you receive. One of the primary steps that you have to perform is to understand that cluster of people (or social media target group) both human-wise and from the commercial stand point.
The ultimate goal
I remember Seth Godin saying in a video last year, that first you need to earn people’s trust you need to ask yourself a key question: “What story can I tell the people who trust me?”.
This is a tough, critical question (and your ultimate goal in addressing your audience) to which you can answer only by knowing those people (the social media target group) better than any other company.
Is it a real or a virtual concept?
When you work in social media you deal with target groups in every single client brief that you receive. One of the primary steps that you have to perform is selecting and understanding that cluster of people (the social media target group) both from a commercial point of view and human-wise.
Although a target group seems to be tangible (we tend to see them as a well-defined group), in fact, we deal with virtual clusters of people whom we analyze via social media analytics and other first-hand investigations.
In social media, the target audience appears to be more fluid than the audience of a brick and mortar store, especially because online a customer can be won or lost with a single click or tap.
What is the social media target group?
It is defined as a cluster of individuals that are relevant for the commercial or non-commercial objective the lies in a marketeers plan.
How to determine it
The social media target group is determined by using multiple factors such as demographic data (age, gender), social (personal income, household income, social status), education, profession, but also behavioral traits.
Take you into account when defining it’s that you need to focus on those potential customers who have the highest probability to be interested and to be able to buy your service or product.
How can a buyer persona help?
As I mentioned above, the target group is virtual and for creative purposes, you need to be very specific in order to inspire your team in creating engaging ideas.
Here your company’s buyer persona makes the group more tangible and easier to understand by the members of the team who cannot analyze the data like you.
Questions to ask yourself
You need to answer questions like “What type of content do they resonate with?” or “What is the right approach in interrupting their social media activity with your branded content?”.
So basically, just like when dealing with a creative brief you have to put yourself into the buyer persona’s shoes, Think like her, and anticipate what would make her be interested in social media message.
You can read more about the buyer persona in my previous marketing article.
Discover and validate your social media target group in 6 steps
There are various ways you can perform this task, from simple-low budget-fast to complex-costly-time-consuming. Let’s see now one of my methods to define actually a social media target group:
- Draw a basic profile
It should include standard data like gender, age, social status, geographic areas, but also past experience of using the category of products/services that you are selling.
You can get this information by analyzing your current customers in your social media channels, but also by paying a subscription to social media analytics or social media insights platforms.
You should use tables, data filters, pivot tables, and other tools that can help you filter the right profile out of the heterogeneous customer profiles stored in your databases or social media analytics.
- Determine the main attitudes and behavior
This second step should give you enough insights to answer important questions related to purchasing barriers, dissatisfactions, buying patterns, but also how people interact with social media channels (yours and competitors).
You may find this data by interrogating your e-commerce platforms, taking into account also the referring social media platforms, and connecting them with the analytics that you identified in the first step.
When it comes to the behavior you need to see where your audience is mostly active because your brand and your channel managers would not only have to think like potential consumers, but also use social media channels just like them.
- Anticipate the trends
You do know that the consumer that you are analyzing now is actually yesterdays’ consumer, right?
That’s why you need to pay attention to the social media trends of your target groups, in what way and how often they tend to use the social media channels, how much they tend to trust them.
Keep in mind that social media platforms are in some cases public enemies, being accused by various groups and governments that they mislead and antagonize people’s attitudes.
So basically you need to look at the big picture, comparing the dynamics of how your target groups are using the social media platforms your brand uses.
For example, you may discover that Twitter users aged 35 to 45 years old tend to leave the platform and switch to Quora and Reddit. If these customers are the most profitable ones for your brands, you have to take into account this trend and translated it into numbers (audience, clicks, orders, revenue and estimated ROI).
- Get inspiration from other brands
You may find yourself in two different scenarios Kulin
Scenario A: If the market that you’re trying to enter is new, your inspiration lies within other product or service categories.
This research activity is more qualitative, so you have to identify the successful social media posting recipes that those brands are using to get the attention of their audiences and how they address them.
Analyze thoroughly their social media posts, but also the comments. The first will give you ideas and a sense of how we should approach your social media target group, while the second will set your expectations on what feedback you will receive once you start.
Write down formulations, keywords, icebreakers that you found do have generated the highest engagement rate. Be wherever, that the engagement volume may be biased, as you cannot assess how much the respective social media posts have been boosted/promoted.
Scenario B: The market that you are targeting with your brand is already well developed.
In this case, you need to turn your focus on the existing players and their social media target groups, including:
- the market leader;
- the challengers, especially the ones that have aggressive pricing strategies, and those that are very creative and positively reviewed in social media.
- Validate your findings with real consumers
You should discuss your buying persona and consumer archetype with people that have experience with the category of products that you’re trying to sell.
Strip down your questions of any technical terms and ask those consumers and simple words and with visual aid how much they relate to those profiles.
You may discuss with them by using online surveys, but also online in-depth interviews or online focus groups if meeting them face-to-face is costly or will delay your project.
At the same time, you can dissect these topics in social media groups like Facebook Groups, if your brand uses this platform.
- Summarize the social media target group in a catchy way
The last step is about summarizing your findings and presenting them in a visual way, avoiding discussing the social media group and buying persona too synthetically.
I recommend this because your internal stakeholders (managers, creatives) need not only to understand the target group but also to feel and resonate with them.
The first choice is of course to build a nice PowerPoint, but you could spend a few days more and create a video or a Prezi presentation which will add more engagement.
By doing this, your social media ads team and content writers will be able to understand the social media group beyond numbers and validate their hypothesis on what are the right clusters.
Biography and resources:
- Reddit – How to create a buyer prsona? (useful topic for social media target group)
- Video – Seth Godin – To find your audience, ask yourself this question
- LinkedIn Course on Social Media Ads (free)