If you have a company that sells funky cell phone accessories, you do not want to target older people. You might spend thousands of dollars on ads, but it is not going to give you any returns as you have got your targeting completely wrong. Having a great product or providing the best service will not make any difference if you target the wrong folks.
Who is the target audience then, is the important question to ask.
Simply speaking, the target audience is the intended audience that you aim to reach, who would be the buying audience for your particular product/service. Target audiences are usually narrow-focused unless you are selling toothpaste, powder, and similar fast-moving consumer goods. Knowing your target audience is important because people will watch an ad or consume content that they can relate to. If it interests them, and if there is a need for the product, they will buy it.
For brands using social media extensively, here is how you can identify your target audience on channels like LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram:
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful professional networks on the planet, with more than 500 million professionals registered on the platform. Most platforms do not have detailed information that makes it easy to find target audiences. But with LinkedIn, you get vital information such as job details, industry, experience, and much more. You can filter by comparisons too, like filtering by skills versus job title, industry vs function, and other such categories. When you keep doing this, you can easily refine your searches until you find the perfect demographic you’re looking for.
LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager has an “Audience Expansion” option which will find you additional audiences apart from the ones you are already targeting. It generates more data (read relevant audience), thus expanding your reach.
Use the ‘Demographics’ tab in Campaign Manager when you have accumulated enough data. It will show you how the content is performing among different sets of your audience. This data can be used to target your audience properly and you can gauge the kind of content that you need to prepare for different segments.
When using LinkedIn to identify target audiences, it is wise to use a general audience set to check the kind of response you get to your first round of marketing. You can use criteria like industry, role, and age to get a little definition of your audience, but should avoid anything more specific than that. After running the marketing campaign for a few days, you can see how people from different demographics are responding and narrow your target audience accordingly.
Another important tip to remember for LinkedIn is to do A/B testing. LinkedIn’s campaign manager makes it easy to see how your marketing efforts have worked out. Run continuous tests on your LinkedIn posts to see the ones that work best so that you get the maximum return-on-investment. While it is difficult to define exactly one vertical or kind of product offering that is best suited to LinkedIn, given the platform’s professional tone, B2B services, recruiting, and/or higher education services would do well to include it as part of their marketing and outreach programmes.
The photo-sharing application Instagram started in 2010 and boasts more than 800 million users today. Businesses have started investing on Instagram as well since there are a lot of users flocking to this site. In August 2017, Instagram reported that users younger than 25 were spending a reported 32 minutes on the site daily, while those over 25 spent an average of 24 minutes a day, and the figures have likely gone up since.
No matter what your goal is from Instagram – whether it is creating a brand or selling your products or just redirecting users to your website – you will fail miserably at it if you do not target it to the right audience.
Here are a few ways by which you can identify your target audience on Instagram:
Follow hashtags: There are a lot of events revolving around your industry, from conferences to seminars and even important days in the industry. Find hashtags related to these events, follow them, and interact with the users posting these who participate with passion. Like photos tagged with the event hashtag. Engage in such posts, engage with the people and the commenters, and be nice to people. Do not talk about your brand immediately. Answer questions, ask questions and offer advice and solutions for free. A little interaction can go a long way in helping you identify people interested in your industry, who you can later tap into for your own outreach activities.
People who follow your competitors: The folks who follow your competitors are the ones you need to target as well. This is the easiest hack to find an audience who is probably interested in your brand. Go to your competitor’s Instagram profile, click on their ‘followers’ and find people who you think represent your ideal client, and join their conversations. Look for people who are active in your competitor’s profile, respond actively to their comments, and be helpful.
Find influencers and connect with them: For virtually every field of business, there are influencers on Instagram – connect with them and offer them something in return for their shout-outs. They are the best bet you can make because they already have a dedicated audience that likes their work and trusts them. Instagram is extremely effective as a medium to use influencer marketing.
Image messaging mobile app Snapchat was created by Stanford students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown in 2011. One of Snapchat’s biggest features is privacy – sent and received images automatically get deleted within 24 hours, and users are notified if anybody screenshots their images to save them – and this has attracted a lot of users. You can choose who you want to send content to, and the temporary nature of the content plus effects like face-swapping, colour filters, and other such features have made Snapchat very popular especially with a relatively younger user base. A ComScore study showed that 45 percent of Snapchat’s users are between the ages of 18 and 24.
There are many ways businesses can benefit with using Snapchat, such as giving your customers a peek behind how your business works, getting an influencer to use your account to get more followers, giving demos of your products, offering exclusive previews, addressing issues that bother your customers, promoting events, and much more.
So how do you go about identifying your target audience on Snapchat?
Only 1 percent of Snapchat’s users are over the age of 65, which means that if you are selling products for the elderly, this is not where you should park your money. Snapchat is best used if you are looking to target millennials who might have an interest in consuming your product via Snapchat – if not, then you are treading in a space that will probably give you no value. One thing about Snapchat that a marketer or a business should keep in mind is that an interaction between you and the user is always private, and there is no social proof of it.
Your aim when it comes to Snapchat should be to get your content across to people who love engaging with it. Send out a lot of snaps to keep your audience engaged. The ones who engage with you may not always be from your target group, but this is how you create a brand on Snapchat for your business.
Finding your target audience and targeting them in your outreach campaigns is your first step towards success. Without taking this important factor into account, your efforts will likely not yield much. By focusing specifically on people who would be interested in your product, you can compete effectively by spreading the message to your target market alone, and not to everyone.