Social media has become one of the most dominant ways we communicate, consume information, and even market our products and services. 92% of businesses in the US with over 100 employees utilize social media as a marketing tool. This number rises to 97% when considering Fortune 500 companies and with the rise of social media influencers, more companies are seeing social media marketing as an affordable way to boost their return on investment (ROI).
This is not surprising as 59% of people around the world use some form of social media and 82% of Americans have a social media account. However, effectively operating a social media marketing strategy is no easy task and involves some key elements. One of these elements is audience targeting.
In this article, we’ll guide you through what this means, why you as a business should invest in audience targeting on social media, and some useful tips on how to get the most out of the process.
What Is Audience Targeting on Social Media?
Audience targeting is the act of identifying a group of potential customers who are joined by certain characteristics such as behaviors and demographics. These are the people you feel will be most interested in your products or services. They will also be the primary targets for your ads and are the most likely customers for a successful sales funnel.
Why Is Audience Targeting Important?
Major social media platforms have millions (and even billions) of users, making targeted marketing a daunting task. That’s why audience targeting is an important tool that every business should utilize before and during any social media marketing campaign. Here are some reasons why audience targeting is essential on social media:
- Audience targeting helps businesses maximize advertising costs: By targeting specific audiences, businesses can save costs by not spending money on ads that won’t resonate with their intended customers. Targeting ensures that the advertising budget is spent effectively, reaching the right people with the right message. This reduces the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), which is a measure of how much a business invests in the process of acquiring new customers.
- It’s a great way to increase engagement: Audience targeting allows you to better understand your target audience and craft content that is tailored to their preferences and interests. Targeting your audience ensures that your content is reaching people who are interested in your business and likely to engage with it. This makes such content much more likely to receive positive engagement such as likes, shares, and comments.
- Audience targeting improves your conversion rates: By reaching the right audience with the right message, businesses can improve their conversion rates. Customer conversion rate is a metric that describes the percentage of completed desired actions (such as sales or clicking on an ad). Targeted ads are more likely to resonate with their intended audience, translating to better engagement and resulting in more clicks, leads, and sales.
- It’s a more effective way to build brand awareness: Audiences are much more likely to remember and identify with brands that resonate with them on a personal level. Using audience targeting allows businesses to create content that speaks directly to their target audience by focusing on the demographics, interests, and behaviors of potential customers.
Tips on How To Use Audience Targeting For Social Media
Here are a few important tips on how to use audience targeting to improve your social media presence and drive sales.
1. Compile Data On Your Current Users
The first step to audience targeting is to understand who uses your products or services and why they use them. This involves compiling data on who uses your services. This information could include demographic data such as age, gender, location, educational background, and income level. Information such as their hobbies, political leanings, as well as social circles is also quite important. You can also do this by sending out surveys through an email list or asking for the preferences of your followers.
2. Use This Information to Craft Customer Personas
A user persona is a useful marketing tool that focuses on creating a fictional characterization of your ideal customer. This customer-centered model is based on the key characteristics that you have identified as being common to most of your current customers. One of the key advantages of a customer persona is that it helps you break your audience into easily identifiable segments based on distinct customer characteristics, habits, and beliefs.
This invented customer profile will act as a guide for your social media marketing campaign and allows you to theoretically test ideas before trying them out on your audience. However, also remember that customer demographics and behaviors change over time, so a customer persona should also stay dynamic to reflect that.
3. Identify Your Target Social Media Platforms
Using the information obtained from your customer persona as well as other research you can identify which social media platforms are most popular among your target audience. For example, Facebook is quite popular among baby boomers with 68% of individuals in this age group having an account on the social media platform.
On the other hand, Twitter is significantly less used by the same age group, with only 5% of baby boomers admitting to having a Twitter account. These differences are not only seen in age, but political leanings, income distribution, and even religious identity.
4. Capitalize on Audience Insight Tools
Several social media platforms offer useful audience insight tools which provide information about the characteristics of users on the platform. This may be demographic data, common interests, or popular search topics.
For example, Meta offers a native tool called Facebook IQ Audience Insights which provides useful information on both followers on your page and general members of Facebook. Although Twitter does not offer such a tool, several other services perform the same function on the platform such as Tweepsmap, Keyhole, and Sprout Social.
Dozens of such tools exist, each of which has its specific strengths and weaknesses. Some can be used to analyze only a single social media platform, while others can be utilized between different platforms. Using these tools helps you optimize your marketing strategy and improves the effectiveness of your campaign.
5. Watch What Your Competitors Are Doing
Similar businesses will obviously cater to similar customer segments. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to obtain useful insights for a targeted social media marketing campaign is to observe the activities of your closest competitors.
This involves finding out their primary target audience, how they engage with them, which social media platforms they focus on, their shortcomings and mistakes, and most importantly how you can use this knowledge to improve your own targeted social media marketing campaign.
6. Find Out What Your Audience Is Talking About
Identifying which social media platforms your audience is mostly found on is one thing, however, discovering what they are talking about is also another important factor.
Follow hashtags and influencers in your target niche to get a bead on the conversation. Look at the comment sections and even comment yourself to get the conversation flowing.
Monitoring the topics and issues which are relevant to your followers allows you to create personalized branding messages which resonate with your target audience and addresses their pain points and interests.
7. Create Your Marketing Strategy
The next step is using the information you have obtained to create an actionable social media marketing campaign based on the fictional customer persona you have created as well as information gathered from various sources. A good social media campaign should consist of several important elements. These include:
- Create a target market statement. A target market statement is a summary of your target audience which states their most defining characteristics. For example, “Our organic catering business serves young, urban, but health and eco-conscious working professionals mainly between the ages of 25-45”.
- Make sure the campaign is built around the benefits that your product or service has to offer to your specific target audience. Do not simply list the features, but clearly outline how this product or service improves the lives of your users.
- Keep in mind that you also have to choose the right marketing medium depending on the social media platform and your target audience. For example, visual media is much more effective on platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat, while written text is more common on Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Using influencers is a great way to build your brand’s popularity and foster trust among your audience. Recent data has shown that with a few key exceptions, the sway influencers hold over their audience (and in particular their spending habits) has been increasing over the years.
8. Use Ad Targeting and Retargeting
Most social media platforms offer various ad targeting options that allow you to reach a specific audience based on age, location, interests, behavior, and more. This helps make your ads much more personalized and drives down customer acquisition costs.
Retargeting allows you to show ads to people who have previously interacted with your brand, such as by visiting your website or engaging with your social media content. This can be an effective way to re-engage with people who have shown interest in your brand.
9. Monitor the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Campaign
To monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaign you have to measure the level of engagement you receive from your target audience using important engagement insights which are measured by social media analytics tools.
There are a variety of social media analytics tools, some of which we have mentioned before, which allow you to monitor who engages with your posts, evaluate your follower growth, create custom reports with key performance indicators which are tailored to your particular needs and test the effectiveness of different marketing strategies.
Some popular social media analytics tools include:
- Google Analytics
- Sprout Social
Overall, audience targeting is a crucial tool for any business which wishes to maximize its social media presence. It allows you to reach the right people with the right message, increasing engagement, driving up conversion rates, cutting down on advertising costs, and improving brand awareness.