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If you’re not targeting your social marketing efforts to the right demographic, then you’re not taking advantage of all that social marketing has to offer. Your social marketing efforts might be no more effective than flyers sent out to every address in town when they could be reaching just the right consumers with targeted messages that inspire conversions.

Find Your Target Audience

No matter how amazing your content, you won’t succeed on social media if you’re not reaching the right people. When NFL teams start practice on Tuesday, they start by looking at the team they face the following Sunday and target their practice towards that goal.

Build a Picture

To start this process, think about your ideal customer. Consider questions like:

  • What age groups do you tend to reach?
  • What’s the average income and/or education level among your customers?
  • Where do these customers live?
  • What values do people in this age and income range prioritize?
  • Is there a common pain point that would send people to you to solve?
  • Where do people in these demographics go for information?

When you’ve answered these questions, you have an idea of what your ideal customer looks like. You know what you can offer to the audience. You have an idea of what they value, which tells you where they’ll be shopping and what they’ll prioritize. And you’re on the road to finding them.

Choose the Right Platforms

Knowing where to find your audience is the next step. Different demographics use different social media platforms to engage and get information. Facebook is the biggest platform, with 68% of Americans using it. But the age range of users on Facebook tends to skew older than other platforms, and Facebook’s numbers have remained static in recent years, while other platforms have grown quickly.

Instagram, for example, has jumped by seven points since 2016. Now 35% of Americans use it, and these users tend to be younger. In fact, users between 18 and 25 are much more likely to be on Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter than LinkedIn or Facebook. At the same time, the more educated someone is, the more likely they are to use LinkedIn.

Craft A Story

If you’re still having troubling understanding exactly who your customers are, or where they are, consider that our society loves great storytelling.  When we can document our journey, and communicate it to the world, we express WHO we are, WHY we are here, WHAT we do, and HOW we do it.  The audiences that resonate with that messaging are the ones that will naturally follow you, and “tune in” to your story.

Narrow Your Audience Size

Even if you know you’re targeting college-educated men over 45 or women between 18 and 25 who like to travel, your ads might cast too wide a net.

You can target a more narrow niche of people by digging deeply into the data you’re getting. Your Facebook ads, for example, will show you the additional interests of people who view your page and which ads or posts were most popular.

Location is another key issue when it comes to narrowing your niche. You won’t want to waste ads targeting people who don’t live near you if your service or store has a brick-and-mortar location. Identify where your target audience is located physically before you target them online.

Target Your Audience

You know what your target audience looks like and generally where to find them. Now how do you reach out with something that speaks to them?

Consider the Competition

Take a look at what your competitors are doing on social media. If you follow their accounts closely, you get free insight into which campaigns work and which are a hot mess you want to avoid.

Follow their Twitter feeds. Read their blogs. What posts get lots of hits and shares, and which fall flat? What are they doing on their social media networks? What are people saying in response to their posts? It takes expertise to identify exactly why a post or a video failed or succeeded, but if you can understand the “why,” you’ll have an advantage as you build your own campaign.

Look at Successful Companies

Identify other companies that market to your general demographic audience, even if they’re not in direct competition with you. Prioritize the ones who are killing it on social media. Is there a way you can use that same sort of action in your own social media efforts?

This will also give you a general idea of what content is popular among the audience you want to reach. They may prefer videos, quick and witty Tweets, snapshots and memes, or long, informative text posts. Whatever they’re looking for on social media, you want to provide it.

Create Content People Want

Regular, helpful content is key. You can’t do too much at once, or you’ll send people running; but if you post content your target audience finds helpful, entertaining, and interesting, they’ll keep coming back to visit you.

How does that help? Even if a person doesn’t need your service or product at the moment they read your post or watch your video, you’ve put your name in their mind. If you keep them coming back, they’ll come to depend on you as a reliable source for something they want. When the moment does come that they need the kind of product or service you offer, your name will be at the top of the list.

Remember, too, that your online social marketing content is available 24/7. No one has to be in your office or on the sales floor for a customer to see you and think well of you.

Balance Content and Promotion

Don’t be tempted to make every social media post about a promotion you’re running. An amazing 84% of millennials, the biggest demographic on social media, don’t like or trust traditional advertising. If all your posts look like newspaper ads, you’ll drive people away.

Instead, engage with them via helpful, curated content. More people will trust you if they don’t see you as only out to sell them something.  A great tactic is to “offer, don’t ask” as Tanja Fjialkowski writes in The Publishing Executive. 

Refine Your Campaign

Don’t try to take on too much at once. After all, if a campaign flops, you’ve just gone to a lot of wasted effort! Start with one social media platform, plan a strategy of content based on knowledge of your target audience, and then start growing your online community.

Facebook is usually the best place to start. It has the widest demographic of users, it’s easy to get started, and the site provides good feedback and data so you can see how your social marketing efforts are working and who is paying attention. Facebook also makes it easy to share content with other social media sites, so over time, you’ll be able to see if your audience tends to prefer Snapchat over Instagram or LinkedIn over YouTube.

You may also notice that certain types of content get a better response. You might have thought that videos would be the most popular thing you post and be surprised to find that infographics or longer, serious content gets more engagement. Don’t forget to try motivational quotes, quizzes, polls, and anything else that might get people talking.

Effective Social Marketing

The best social marketing is targeted. Targeting your audience requires a strategy and knowledge of the systems and technology involved. You have to know who you are, but you also must have the skill to tell your story in a way that brings measurable results.

Consider working with experienced professionals to dial in your social strategy today and work with a digital marketing company that is committed to bringing you long-term sustainable growth. Focus in on your social marketing campaigns and you can start to realize your true potential.