They’re popping up almost every single day – new social media platforms. Post this, Snap that, Swipe there – it becomes daunting trying to keep up. But you don’t want to miss out connecting with your customers and hopefully capturing some new customers on the latest social stage. It’s easy for many to jump in head-first without first thinking about which ones will actually benefit your business.

Then it begins, the ongoing struggle of trying to balance content creation, curation, frequency of posting, and interacting with your followers. It quickly becomes a nightmare for anyone involved in day-to-day social media management. But, guess what? Your brand does not have to be established on every social channel, and it shouldn’t! It’s far more important to your bottom-line to identify the social channels where YOUR target customer currently lives.

Finding Quality within the Quantity

Each social media channel has a vastly different audience. It’s important to evaluate if a platform’s audience represents and contains your ideal customer. Once upon a time, around 2010 (I know, that’s ancient history in social media), marketers would measure audience size or ‘likes’ as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for not only positive audience growth, but as a metric that indicated businesses were attracting the right customer. However, the marketing industry has begun to realize that audience size does not directly correlate to increased sales and loyal customers. It’s similar to the age old question, “quality or quantity?” I recommend QUALITY. By utilizing social media monitoring tools, such as SproutSocial, you can analyze and identify the social channels that will reach your relevant audience and increase quality customers.

An example of my methodology would be a golf retailer trying to attract new and loyal customers through their social channels. It would not make sense for the business to spend their time and money casting a wide net by targeting individuals that play basketball in hopes to attract new and qualified customers. On the contrary, you would target a very specific demographic based on your analysis. By evaluating the audience of individual social media platforms you can clearly identify the channel best aligned with your business goals and how to communicate with your target audience.

Aiming for the Target Every Time

In the same way a dating site’s algorithm matches users based upon key points of compatibility, you need to make sure that the audience of any potential social platform matches with the demographic picture of your target customer. I always analyze social media platforms audience demographics before ever setting up a new profile. Areas to look for compatibility are:

  • Age range of the audience
  • Gender
  • Life-cycle stage
  • Income

It is also important to identify the benefits of individual social channels, how they help businesses communicate, reach and acquire new customers, and how a channel can help you meet your business goals. For example, you will want to answer the following:

  • Do you want your social channel to build relationships, demonstrate your industry experience by providing how-to’s and other tutorials, or keep your followers up-to-date on the latest news?
  • Are you B2B or B2C? That matters greatly. B2B businesses are better suited on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Where B2C companies are more suited on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Even within your qualified audience, you can target individuals with specific interests and demographics. It is now easier than ever. With the help of tools, like Facebook‘s very granular targeting options, you can zoom in even closer by marketing specific posts and promotions to the exact niche customer you are looking to attract. Targeting capabilities like this are invaluable and help ensure your message is getting in front of the right audience.

OK, Awesome! Now I know how to Find my Audience. I am Ready to Jump in!

Hold up, there’s a bit more. Once you have evaluated and answered the question of which social channels align with achieving your goals, it’s time to prioritize and decide what you can reasonably manage. In my upcoming blog posts I will dive in deeper and discuss social media best practices, which will include an overview of time-of-day you should post content, metrics to track, and what those metrics tell you. As well as, a blog post determining what social efforts are performing best for you based on your social analytics and business goals. Until then, happy tweeting, posting, snapping, pinning, and streaming! (And, whatever other social sharing option pops up between now and then).


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