No social or marketing campaign will be successful unless you know your audience and give them what they want. Follow our top tips to identifying the people who like your product, and when, where, and how to contact them. By tailoring your efforts directly to your core fans, you’ll soon see better returns on your social and marketing investments.
When starting out, whether you’re offering a product or service, or looking for fans for a blog or artist, you should have an idea who you’re targeting. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom wanting to meet other moms through your cupcake blog. Or maybe you’re selling baseball memorabilia you think would appeal most to older, middle-class men. But maybe your audience is completely different to how you imagined. The fact is, you won’t know for sure until you ask them.
If you’ve got a Facebook page, look at the demographics. Go to the Insights tab and select People from the menu on the left. At a glance you’ll see the age and gender of your fans. If what you’re seeing doesn’t line up with what you expected, find out why. Sometimes businesses are just wrong when it comes to predicting their audience. Sometimes the marketing they’re using targets the wrong people. If your audience isn’t who you expected, it’s time to rethink either your core demographic, or your marketing technique.
If you don’t have demographic information readily available, ask your audience directly who they are and what they want from you. Send out a—short!—questionnaire to your mailing list, or ask people to fill in basic information when they sign up. Just a first name is enough to give you a clue as to their gender. Every scrap of information you can gather is useful. Be wary of being too invasive though. People are naturally leery of giving away too much about themselves, and are likely to wonder why you need the information you’re requesting. Asking people to select from an age range will get better results than asking for a date of birth.
Maybe you’re just starting out and don’t have a mailing list or social media following. You can still find out who you should be targeting by looking at your competition. Identify your mail competitors and look at their social and marketing efforts. Do they have more fans on Facebook or Twitter? More interaction on their blog or Google+? Knowing where your likely fans already hang out will tell you where to focus your efforts.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. If your business is in its early stages online, or your promotional efforts aren’t working or treading water, try something different. Facebook might be where the majority of your target audience interacts, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t smaller communities on other social networks. If you feel like you’re shouting into the void in one place, try interacting in another. Getting the attention of a small group is better than being ignored by the largest.
Equally, don’t be afraid to try different posts and promotions. A photo might outperform a text post, or live video generate more attention than a YouTube link. Maybe you’ve always posted at 10:00 a.m., but posting at 10:00 p.m. could double your audience. You won’t know unless you try, and you’ve nothing to lose by giving it a shot.
Once you’ve found your audience, you need to keep them happy. Are they reading your baking blog for your recipes, or your funny parenting anecdotes? Do they follow your band for your music, or the really cool artwork you create to promote it? Sometimes what businesses think they’re popular for is completely wrong, and a simple change—making your posts less personal; hiring a new graphic designer—could see fans abandoning you in droves, and leave you wondering why.
Just like with discovering your demographics, asking people directly will give you the best answers. “Want to see more of X in the future?” is an easy way of finding out what keeps your followers happy. Turn questions into promotional tools by requesting an action rather than an answer. “Retweet for more music, like for more art” is a great way of getting answers and driving more interaction.
As well as occasionally asking for information, you should be harvesting it. How many likes and comments do your posts get? Does one type of post outperform (or underperform) compared to others? Maybe videos get more comments but pictures get shared more often. Knowing how people react to your posts will guide you when you’re looking for a particular outcome to a specific post. Also keep an eye out for “superfans”—people who like, comment on, or share a majority of your updates. Keep them happy and they’ll often take it upon themselves to promote your brand to their friends and family.
Despite all your best efforts, you’ll lose fans occasionally. They can still be useful to you if you can get them to tell you why they’re leaving. While there are plenty of outspoken people on social media who will tell you if they’re not getting what they want, even more will simply “ghost”—unfollow or unlike your page and vanish forever. If you have a mailing list, or website members, asking them a quick question about why they’re quitting will give you an early warning if you’re doing something wrong.
Knowing your audience is the first step towards branding your business and creating effective marketing campaigns. Once you know who you’re speaking to, make sure your website appeals to them. Pick a plan and let TechTe.am help you create a site your fans will love!