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Finding Your Target Market Online

As a marketing professional, it is imperative to be able to find our client’s prospects online. Our clients often ask us how we make sure that the folks we are targeting fit their ideal customer persona, so I assume this is a common question for business owners. I wanted to lay out the steps we take so you can follow them for your own business.

Though many of us have accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, SnapChat, Tumblr, etc, we can assume there are only one or two networks where we focus most of our online activity. Luckily, numerous agencies share data freely about the types of individuals that are found on each network and network growth over time.

For example, take a look at this chart from Smart Insights. 16-34 year olds dominate most networks, but if your market is 55-64 year olds (green marker), I would highly consider targeting LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. SnapChat wouldn’t be a valuable network for this age group.

social media demographics

Additionally, though it is common to hear that Facebook is on its way out, this is still the largest network of users. Twitter on the other hand has remained fairly stagnant over the past few years.

Data like this may sway where you want to put your attention on social media.

Exercise:
Write a description of your ideal customer. How old are they, what job do they hold, what do they do in their free time?

Look at the statistics of the social media networks, is there somewhere this person is most likely to be found (and active)?

Now work backwards. Make a list of each social media network. What type of customer have you had that would use this network? Now write what type of post they would be interested in seeing on that network (yes, you should tailor your social media posts to the market they are getting in front of)

Beyond data, our team also analyses what works for your competition. We often hear a client raving about how well Business X uses Facebook, for example, but when we actually take a look, their posts aren’t receiving any traction or they only are posting once per month. This leads to a conversation about what our client’s are viewing as a success.

By “spying” on competition, you can learn what has worked well, what seems to be a waste of time, and they types of graphics and posts your target market is used to seeing on each social media network.

Exercise:
Brainstorm a list of your competitors and other businesses that sell to your target market. Then find them on social media. Gather notes on their network size, average number of likes, shares, RT’s, and comments on their posts, the topics they post about, and if there is one network that seems to garner most of their attention. You can also use Fanpage Karma – http://www.fanpagekarma.com/ – to gather insights.

You don’t need to necessarily present this research in any specific way unless you are proposing it to a board or others at your organization. I use this research as a gut check and to establish expectations for clients. I do believe that if you are 100% devoted to a particular network, you can find results, so don’t necessarily cross off SnapChat, for example, if your competition hasn’t jumped on board yet.

My recommendation is to use this research from “spying” on your competition to gain a better understanding of the online landscape within your industry.

Know Yourself

Lastly, take a moment to reflect on your own interests. We’ve already looked at the overall trends for social media networks and seeing how your competition uses social media, but how do YOU use and interact with social media. Is there one network you absolutely love?

No matter what the research says, if you are passionate about a specific social media network, start there. Even though there are few 65+ individuals using SnapChat, you can still work to capture a portion of these individuals if you commit to working SnapChat.

If you are just jumping in, take a moment to consider where you would like to spend your time marketing your business. Use this as a starting point. You can always add more social media networks once you are confident in the process of marketing your business online.

Finding Your Target Market Online

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