Knowing your social media audience

Insights | 03 Dec, 2014

Senior Social Manager Hannah Rainford talks about the importance of tailoring content to your different audiences rather than just focusing on the content being shared. 

Hannah Rainford talks about the one thing people always forget when it comes to social media is the audience.

Video transcript

So when it comes to social media strategies, everyone's really keen on kind of saying, "Oh, you know, what should I do on Facebook? What should I do on Twitter? How can I raise engagement on my social media channels?" And the one thing they always forget is the audience. They're always thinking so hard about what they're going to be posting, what content they're going to be posting. They're actually forgetting about who the audience is and what the audience objectives are for using social media and for following their brand.

It's really important to kind of make content relevant to people, because actually they're the ones that you want to be sharing the content. They're the ones that you want to be engaging with the content. So you really need to think about what keeps your audience up at night. What are their worries?

Every day we have content. We have conversations with people, and we select who the different audience is. So the kind of conversations you would have with your mum, for example, if you had that same conversation with your best mate, it would be slightly different. You tailor it to the audience.

That's really key. We need to be doing that on social media, because social media, it's not just kind of B2B or B2C. It's actually people to people. Social media is about being social. So audience profiling is really important to make sure that your content is relevant for your audience and that it meets their objectives.

Because once you've got this relevancy, that's when people start engaging. That's when people start sharing your content. If you can make content relevant to a specific audience, then they'll be like, "Hey, yeah, that's me. That's relevant to me. I'm then going to share it." Then it's going to create brand awareness and brand loyalty. Then you can make brand advocates out of these people, because you're specifically targeting them. They think, "Yeah, this brand has gone out of their way to help me, to be useful to me, so I'm going to stick with them."

Okay, so there are a couple of things you can do, different tools that you can use as you find out a bit more about the people that already follow you or are already talking about your brand or your industry.

So on Twitter, the first one is just to use the old-fashioned Twitter search. Actually search for your brand name rather than looking for your at mentions. Creating Twitter lists of the people talking about your brand or talking about your industry, and just monitoring the conversations that they're talking about. It could be that they're talking around your brand. But also it could be that they're watching "Game of Thrones," or they're watching "Pretty Little Liars," and you might find there's actually trends that come around from that, or you might find that they all like yoga, or they all shop at Sainsbury's, that kind of thing. See what they're talking about and just look for trends that way.

Equally, you can use Facebook graph search in a similar way. You can type into the search bar on Facebook "pages liked by people who like . . ." and your brand name. Then it will show you all the other pages that people who like your page, or your competitors' pages, all the other pages that they like, the music that they like, where they do their online shopping, and you can actually look again for similarities. If you see that all of your fans like Cheryl Cole, for example, you can actually think, "Okay, well how can I make that relevant to my brand?"

When you're creating buyer personas, it's really good to look at your Google Analytics data or your analytics package that you're using, because this will give some really key insights on the people who are visiting your website. So the first thing I would do is I'd go and look at the keywords, the organic keywords, and the PPC keywords of how people are visiting your site, because there'll be trends in there.

Say, for example, you're selling walking boots. People will search for walking boots in different ways, and it could be that they're searching for walking boots that are sturdy or walking boots to go dog walking and that kind of thing. That can help you categorise, start building your personas. So you can actually say, "Oh, okay, actually one of our personas is dog walkers, and another one is people who like hiking. Another one, it could be like a fashion accessory," and looking at that.

Then you can also use Google Analytics to work out your audience profiles per social media channel. So it could be that you look at your Facebook data, and you look at the most popular landing pages from people that are being referred to you by Facebook, because that will tell you about the content that people are searching for on Facebook, engaging with, and sharing on Facebook. That way you can say, "Okay, actually, our dog walkers are using Facebook," because actually it's our shoes that they're using the keywords for dog walking, and they're coming to Facebook that way. It could be that hikers are using Twitter, or hikers are using Pinterest, for example.

You can kind of start to build up these buyer personas. So get your keywords, get their landing pages per social channel, and then build up the personas around each of those categories.

Okay, so it's really important to think about who your audience is, who your ideal customer is. If you could have one customer for the rest of your life, who would that person be? What traits would that person have? That way, when you're thinking about content and even thinking about the products or the services that you're selling, you can really target it around those people.

So think about who your audience is. What keeps them up at night? What are their concerns? Where do they shop? What car do they drive? Actually then build out these personas and create almost real people, people that you know. If you're already an existing business, you kind of know these people already. You have your advocates, and they'll be people that you recognise from Twitter and Facebook. So you can potentially build these buyer personas around these individuals.

So it could be you're trying to target 25-year-old men. So you can say, "Right, okay, I'm going to create a persona for Mark, and he is 25, and he lives in a rented house with his best mate, and he drives a VW Golf." You start to build up a persona, an audience specification around this person so that that way you can then target that person individually. Because when you're tweeting, and you're sharing things on Facebook, or writing blog posts, you can actually target that person individually.

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