The definition of a social media audience will differ greatly from a traditional audience.

One of the biggest reasons why, is the introduction of mobile technology and the huge number of apps that allow users to interact with businesses and social media sites far more easily than ever before.

Identifying precisely who your social media audience is and how they differ from the traditional audience metrics is crucial to the success of your online presence.

Therefore, creating a distinct online marketing strategy is essential.

For that strategy to be successful, it requires being able to clearly define who your social media audience is. Broad generalities aren’t useful in online marketing because your competition is using tools that provide detailed social media analytics that can narrow the field of who is most likely to buy their product – and take sales away from you.

Your Audience is the Key to Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Because your social media audience is the key, the first step is finding out who your audience is.

To find your social media audience, you should first take a broader approach to analyzing which top social networks, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, your audience is using to share content.

By reviewing the data you will be able to determine the audience’s general preferences and then categorize them. Examples of groups you could assign your social media audience members into are:

  • Current and potential customers
  • Journalists
  • Bloggers
  • Affiliate businesses

You will need to create your own criteria to determine which members get placed in which group. Some members may cross over into more than one group.

What Do You Need to Know About Your Social Media Audience

Before putting your social media strategy into place, you’ll need to get specific about exactly what data needs to be collected. There are millions of pieces of data to choose from, so here are four ways to help you understand your audience.

1. The Estimated Size Of Your Potential Audience

Social Media Audience - Analysis

In the visual above, we analyzed the community of fashion experts from United States on Twitter, and highlighted their demographic ingredients.

The estimated size of the community of Twitter users who are skilled in fashion is almost 400,000 people. Roughly 89% of them are women. These are crucial data points for social media managers who plan advertising campaigns for this market.

Size and gender are easily recognized pieces of data and very important when looking at your social media audience.

2. Which Websites Are Most Popular Within Your Community?

Knowing which websites your potential social media audience is following and what websites they are sharing can provide you with significant insights into the type of content you want to create. It also provides you with the topics that you want to cover and the frequency in which you wish to publish.

Social Media Audience - Popular Websites

In our analysis of the fashion community in the U.S., it’s easy to see that the most popular fashion websites are:

  • Refiney 29 (com)
  • WWD (com)
  • Fashionista (com)
  • Style (com)
  • NY Mag (com)
  • Vogue (fr)
  • Elle (com)
  • Business of Fashion (com)
  • Reward Style (com)
  • Lucky Mag (com)

3. Other Communities That Your social media audience Are Involved In

Most social media users belong to more than one community and are interested in more than one topic. Therefore, it’s important to know what topics your social media audience is interested in. From our analysis of the fashion community in the U.S., it’s easy to identify that the fashion community is also interested in:

Social Media Audience - Other Communities

  • Fashion 100%
  • Design 70%
  • Styling 60%
  • Blogger 59%
  • Beauty 46%
  • Marketing 34%
  • Stylists 32%
  • Lifestyle 29%
  • Blogging 28%
  • Social Media 27%

When designing a social media strategy for the fashion industry, knowing what similar topics your social media audience is interested in is an important resource that shouldn’t go untapped.

4. How Can You Learn About Your Followers?

Finding out what you need to know about your social media audience doesn’t tell you how to get the information you need. Here are three broad-based ways of learning about your audience. Broad-based methods mean that the information will be found somewhere in these methods.

1. Surveys

Online surveys are a common and accurate way to collect specific information. You select the specific data you’re seeking and construct a survey for your social media audience.

Creating a survey involves experience and the questions must be prepared skilfully. For example, asking where someone lives can get you a wide variety of answers. Asking what city do you live in pinpoints the piece of data you are looking for and is clear to the survey responder.

2. Interviews

Simply talking to relevant people on the web is an excellent way to know what’s on your audience’s minds. Using social media can also help widen the interview pool, as you have access to people who are more willing to open up and talk.

Even though you are marketing a product online, you may find it more beneficial to go to locations where your product is physically sold, such as a mall.

3. Other Social Media Tools

Using Google Analytics will allow you to generate a number of reports that are derived from analysis of online metrics such as the amount of traffic that flows to your website and what landing pages have the highest conversion rate. One reason Google Analytics is so popular is because the reports provide a wealth of information at the click of a button.

Designing Your Social Media Strategy

Once you have determined who your social media audience is, the next step is to design your social media strategy. This is a somewhat detailed process, but the advantage is that it’s a procedural, step-by-step approach.

Defining the steps is simple, but, like in any plan, the devil is in the details. Don’t mistake simplicity with ignoring the important details. Follow these steps and you will be off to a great start:

  1. Decide which social networks are relevant to your business. Not all social media platforms require your involvement, nor will they be the best way to use your marketing budget based on your return on investment.
  2. When designing your social media strategy, be sure to create a unique voice that your social media audience will know is distinctly yours. Though this is a digital environment, your audience still needs assurance that you are a real person and not a digital entity.
  3. Become a familiar face by regularly posting content on a consistent schedule. Think of it as calling up your friend at the same time each the week. By posting on a schedule, you’ll become a part of your audience’s routine, making your audience more likely to comment and share your content.

How to Measure Your Social Media Audience With KPIs

I mentioned earlier, the importance of social media conversations and how that’s a critical metric for defining your social media audience. One characteristic of that piece of data is called KPI, or Key Performance Indicator. KPIs measure your marketing strategies and can help with measuring your social media audience. There are many KPIs you can follow, but here are three of the most important ones:

  • The number of followers you have across social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus is a clear measurement of how many people are listening to what you are saying.
  • The number of page views your website receives is more important than the number of Likes. A Like may simply be an expression of a visitor who likes the design of your web page. The number of views indicates what you’re selling is what’s drawing the interest to your web site.
  • Both the number and the quality of comments users make is a great measurement of engagement. Clicking on a Like is easy and simple. Comments require both thought and time, and visitors who leave comments are directly concerned with the quality or price of the product.

Which KPI’s a company selects will depend on the type of industry you’re in and the specific product you’re selling. Only then will it help better define your social media audience.

How to Benefit from Your Social Media Campaigns

The groundwork has been laid.

You have a social marketing strategy in place.

You have a clear view of who your audience is.

This is a giant step in the right direction, but in order to have value, your campaigns need to reap the benefits in order for you to see a success in your business.

What are these benefits?

  1. Increased traffic. You’re targeting the right people who are most likely to be interested in finding out about or buying your product or service.
  2. More visitors mean the opportunity for more conversions.
  3. More conversions result in an increased ROI. This is the goal of your social media marketing strategy.

While profit is a huge benefit, don’t forget your business will always be about the customer. Your company will benefit when your customers benefit. Your marketing strategy should strive to increase customer satisfaction and help to gain greater insights into what products or services can be added to your current offerings that will benefit your customers.

When done correctly, your social media marketing strategy will be a win-win situation for both the business and the customer.

We have outlined in detail the importance of having a social media marketing strategy and knowing the details of your online audience. Planning is essential to everything from the details of your marketing strategy to digging deep down into specific KPI elements to get the data measurement you need to make a difference.

Knowing your audience is beneficial to your bottom line, but the real value of the data collected is for the future of the business.

A successful social media strategy will increase the number of buying customers, but will also get potential future customers involved in the social media discussion. With social media, increasing your brand awareness is the key to bringing additional traffic to your website.

The entire question of how well do you know your audience is answered by the success of your marketing strategy. Think of it as the difference between talking to someone you know very well, and talking to someone who is a complete stranger.

Wondering how to measure your social media performance and increase your ROI with smarter usage of social media? Check out Twtrland 14-day free trial of social intelligence that helps you stay ahead.

Are You Struggling to Identify Your Social Media Audience?

Ron Sela

Ron Sela is Director of Marketing at Twtrland, a company focused on helping people use data to do smarter marketing. Ron is a digital marketer and conversion optimizer, focusing on maximizing ROI with content marketing campaigns.You can find and connect with Ron on Twitter at @RonSela and read his thoughts on his personal blog at RonSela.com.

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