Audience Targeting in Social Media: What, Why & How?

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Social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others are online platforms where businesses and customers can come together. Gone are the days when social channels are simply for meeting new people and connecting with friends. These days, social media mean business. And, as in the world of traditional business, audience targeting is crucial.

In this blog, we discuss the what, why, and how of social media audience targeting. But first, a definition — what is a target audience? And how do you identify what your target audience is?

What is a social media target audience?

A social media target audience is a group of people you aim to reach out to through your social channels. These audiences may be grouped according to demographics, such as age group, gender, income levels, educational attainment, and employment. A target audience may also be identified according to buying behavior, for which the creation of buyer personas will be useful.

Why is audience targeting important?

Some business owners may argue on the limitations set by audience targeting. Some of the resisting questions are: “Why shouldn’t I simply sell to everyone?” or “Why limit my business to a few targeted customers?”

After all, there is the fear — usually from newbie entrepreneurs — that the business is limiting itself when it focuses only on a specific, targeted market.

But audience targeting is less about limiting marketing scope and more about ensuring social media marketing efficiency. According to marketers, creating personalized content and delivering them to a target audience significantly improves sales.

This, of course, makes sense. When you market to social media users who are already interested in what you offer, you also improve your chances at converting these audiences into actual customers.

While there social media marketing tools you can use for free, paid advertising strategies are just as valuable. The crucial thing to do is to identify your social media target audience first, and then tailor your marketing efforts at meeting your audiences where they are.

How to identity your social media target audience?

  1. Understand the value of your products/services.Knowing the unique value proposition of your business is a basic step in marketing and customer segmentation. Through an understanding of your products and services, you can identify which groups of people are better served by them. You may accomplish this by creating buyer personas. Once you identify these personas, you can study which social networks they prefer to engage in. And if they use multiple social channels, it also helps to know which networks they are most active in.
  2. Survey your competition.Understanding your competition can help in targeting your audience more effectively. Perhaps there are customer-segments which you have yet to reach out to but that your competitors are already engaged in. Or, competition may already be targeting a market niche which you plan to capture. Which positioning strategies does the competition employ, and how can you participate better through social media tactics?
  3. Know the user demographic of social media networks.Specific social networks appeal to certain types of audiences. If you want to make the most out of your advertising budget, you need to be updated on social media marketing statistics, specifically on which user demographics are attracted to which social channels.For example, two-thirds of American adults are on Facebook, with 43% of them sourcing their news from the social network itself. LinkedIn audiences in 2020 were composed of 57% male and 43% female. More than two-thirds of audiences over at Instagram, as of first quarter 2020 data, were 34 years old or younger. The percentage of female social media users in the US who used Pinterest was 43% compared to 16% of males, as of third-quarter 2019 data
  4. Test marketing/advertising efforts on social media.Regardless of your choice of social media – whether it’s Facebook and LinkedIn or Instagram and Pinterest, plus a host of others – testing your efforts is a good way to see whether you are actually audience-targeting the right way.Take time to view analytics, reports, and engagement levels on your posts or ads. Also, if you’re trying to drive people into your site, check if there is considerable traffic coming to your site from your social channels.

Should you target all audiences in all social channels?

To target means to focus on prospects and networks that will most likely provide a better return on your social media marketing efforts.

The best means at using social media for business is to specifically pinpoint which groups of people you intend to reach out to.

Ironically, the risk in targeting all audiences is not targeting any audience at all. Your marketing efforts could fail at making a dent in your expected outcomes. And this failure could translate to thousands of marketing and advertising money down the drain.

Audience targeting means really knowing, deep down, who your customers are.

And when you do, you’ll end up offering products and services that provide long-lasting value to people who need and want them the most.

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