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Most modern companies know that having an online social presence is essential. It’s rare to come across a business without at least a website or a Facebook page.
However, an excellent digital marketing strategy involves more than just existing on the Internet. Effective social media marketing (SMM) can be transformative for a small business because it can generate leads, drive revenue and expand a business’s customer base.
To create a successful SMM plan, marketers must identify a startup’s target market — also known as the target audience. Without background knowledge of marketing, you may not know what a target audience is or how to identify your business’s target audience.
If you find yourself curious about target audiences, continue reading. Here is a deeper look at target audiences, the role they play in SMM and how you can find your target audience to strengthen the social media aspect of your digital marketing strategy.
What is a social media target audience?
A social media target audience is a group of people you want to reach using your various social media channels. This audience consists of those most likely to be interested in purchasing one of your products or services.
As its name suggests, this audience is one you want to target with specific advertising messages in hopes they will consider buying from your brand.
People within your business’s target audience typically have one or more common characteristics. They may share similar interests, demographics or consumer behaviors. Some target audiences are broad and describe groups of people using general phrases, such as “millennials” or “single mothers.”
An easy example of a target audience would be in regards to Dick’s Sporting Goods, the major retailer. The company may identify its target audience as “athletes” or “outdoor enthusiasts.” From there, Dick’s Sporting Goods could narrow its target audience and get more specific, using terms like “female runners between ages 18 and 24” or “middle-aged men who fish.”
Modern digital marketing technologies and advanced data solutions allow marketers to get highly specific and make data-driven decisions.
Why bother finding your target audience?
Many startups are facing fierce competition. Consumers are overwhelmed with choices, from the brand of toilet paper they buy to what car they plan on driving. As a result, small and large businesses alike must have a unique digital marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd.
By taking advantage of your target audience, you can improve the effectiveness of your marketing and save money while doing it. Rather than spend money advertising your products or services to every single customer, you can use a more personalized and intentional approach to marketing.
Additionally, research estimates the average Facebook user has 130 friends. If even one customer shares a link from your business account, consider how many people their post exposes to your brand. It may seem like reaching as far as possible is a good marketing strategy, but honing in on the customers most likely to purchase from you often proves more effective.
How to identify your target audience
Now that you know about target audiences and why they’re vital for your business, it’s time to discuss how to get started identifying your target audience. Here are a few steps to help you find your target audience and reach them with social media advertising messages.
Determine your audience size.
You or your marketing team will first narrow the target audience by size. Use some of the native advertising and marketing tools on social media sites, such as Meta’s Ads Manager or Twitter’s Analytics Dashboard. You can determine what social media users would be most interested in what your company has to offer.
Get to know existing customers.
In this next step, consider learning more about your current customers. This will help you get to know them better, identify key demographics and determine shared interests. From there, you’ll be able to picture your ideal customer — which is the root of your target audience. You can send out customer surveys to gauge their interests, likes or dislikes.
Do plenty of research.
Researching is a critical skill many marketers need to succeed. Use all of the resources at your disposal to learn more about your target audience and what types of marketing messages work best for them. There are many professional studies, research papers and white papers on social media use and SMM.
For example, Pew Research Center is a great resource — especially its Social Media Fact Sheet, which will provide you with insight that could help you navigate finding your target audience.
Act on your research results.
After completing plenty of research, take action and try to connect with your target audience on all of your social media accounts. Reaching the right people may take trial and error, so manage your expectations at the beginning.
Fine-tune your content marketing
Finding your target audience is a great step in marketing, but it will only be helpful if you push engaging content to your customers.
Your social media posts should be interesting, relevant and align with your brand’s core values. They should also include a clear call to action, which will tell customers what to do next, whether it’s a direct sales link or an opportunity for them to browse through your brand’s website.
Using your target audience to fuel marketing success
Any business wanting to improve its digital presence and marketing tactics should start with determining its target audience. Your business can then reach a specific group of people who would most likely benefit from your products or services.
By targeting these customers, you’re reaching the cream of the crop so you can generate leads and increase revenue.