Five Questions To Ask About Your Social Media Audience
Who Are They?
The U.S. Census can isolate demographics based on zip codes. Another tool, one of my favorites, is Claritas by Nielsen, which provides demographic insights regarding income, age, race and household composition based on zip code. Claritas also provides customer personas to describe the population’s psychographic and behavioral attributes, which you can use to guide your communications.
“We understood that successful brands’ clients appreciate more than just products and services; they fall in love with the brands,” said my friend Mohammed Ben-Tarif, CEO of Fanillah Apparel. “We haven’t found a better way to connect with our audience than social media channels, but to do this effectively, we needed to dig deep and invest in understanding our audiences intimately.”
Where Are They?
Your lawn will still be green if you overwater it, but you’ll end up wasting a lot of water and your bill will be unnecessarily expensive. Provide sufficient attention to social media platforms that are most frequently visited by your audience, but do so efficiently. It’s easy to say that you want social media real estate everywhere, but know the difference between watering your lawn and watering your driveway.
Start with information that already exists. Pew Research, for example, created a study that matches demographics to their preferred social media platform. Remember to use this secondary research as a guide and not as an absolute rule. Your analytics will tell you more about your specific audience than any generic report.
What Do They Want?
To understand what your customers want, you need to ask the right questions. Where’s the overlap in what they want and what you have to offer? Knowing this will help you stand out from brands that are shoving their products down followers’ throats. If you understand what people are looking for, you’re better equipped to position yourself well.
Build surveys that are objective, nonbiased and that encourage people to share their honest opinions. There are also tools that can help you gain a better understanding of what people are searching for online. Answer the Public, for example, is a website that provides a simple visual of relevant questions people are asking online that are related to the keywords you enter.
Why Do They Want It?
Now that you understand who they are, where they’re likely to interact and what they’re looking for, it’s time to dig deeper into the mindsets of your customers and find out what motivates them to interact with your brand. Understanding what motivates your audience will help you develop a core message to communicate in your integrated marketing communications.
Though some tools and research exist, I recommend running a brand audit. Find brands that are similar to yours, preferably ones within short proximity. Take note of posts with high interactions and ask yourself: Why do consumers interact with this brand? Are they connecting on a logical level with scholarly content? Are they mostly engaging on an emotional level with feel-good or sarcastic messages? What does the brand provide that engages the audience? Answering these questions will help you develop your online persona.
When Do They Want It?
A few hours after the Super Bowl, a 30-minute infomercial is a fraction of the cost of a 30-second commercial run during the game. Why? Most viewers have moved away from their TVs. Timing is critical. Customers may engage with restaurants on weekdays around lunchtime, but with humorous posts when they’re at home unwinding after their workday.
As you run your brand audit, take note of the time stamps on the posts with high engagement. Try to connect the dots and draw any correlations. Understand when customers interact so you can gauge when to schedule posts and so you can gain a reinforced understanding of why they’re engaging with your brand. Trust your instincts and use what you know about your audience. When are they likely to log on? When are they likely to respond? Social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools that can help you analyze your performance. There are also tools like HootSuite and Keyhole that can contribute to making tracking easier so you can easily tweak your campaign as you go.
Understanding the answers to the five questions above provides you with a reliable foundation for a social media strategy. But it’s important to remember that social media platforms are frequently changing and that secondary data, though accessible and inexpensive, doesn’t provide answers to your specific needs.
Continually analyze the results of your campaign and periodically survey your customers. Use tools to automate the process and make tracking easier so you can modify your campaign as you go. Collecting and understanding feedback will help you connect with your audience as well as help you develop products and services that revolve around your target market’s specific needs.
Article written by: Ahmad Kareh