How to Improve Audience Targeting on Social Media
One of your biggest factors for success in social media is targeting. There are billions of people all over the world relying on social media for daily news, social interactions, and learning more about the brands and organizations around them. But your message won’t be effective if you simply broadcast it to those billions of people and hope for the best.
Instead, you need to use one of the strongest tools social media offers you: the ability to narrow down your target audience. With better targeting, you’ll be more likely to reach exactly the right people, and you can create a custom message that’s intended specifically for them. You’ll also be able to conduct better experiments and learn more about the tactics most likely to work for each of your audience segments.
So, what steps can you take to improve your audience targeting on social media?
Create a Sales Funnel
Your first step is to build a sales funnel in your organization. A sales funnel is a conceptual framework that explains how people can go from being aware that your brand exists to actually purchasing your products and services. Usually, this sales funnel unfolds over a series of phases, such as awareness, interest, desire, and action.
Better understanding your sales funnel will give you more tools you can use to target social media users appropriately. For example, how can you tell the difference between someone who’s merely “aware” of your brand and someone who’s ready to buy? You can craft different messages for these users and target them differently, but the first step is always better understanding the sales funnel flow.
Find and Study Your Target Demographics
It’s also helpful to know your target audience, inside and out. You can start by considering the audience segments who might be interested in your brand, then developing full-fledged customer personas to help you conceptualize these types of people. What are these buyers like? What is this person’s age, gender, geographic location, education level, and job title?
You can improve your understanding of these demographics by more thoroughly researching them. You can use existing sources of information, such as the Census Bureau or the Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn general trends about these audiences. But you might want to dig deeper with the help of surveys you create and distribute on your own.
Take Advantage of the Tools Available to You
Next, take advantage of the tools available to you. Most social media platforms have built-in tools that allow you to specifically target your post to different types of users. This depends on whether you’re creating an organic post, boosting an organic post, or creating advertising.
However, you may be able to exclusively share your message with people who match a set of predefined criteria. For example, with Facebook Ads, you can show your advertisement only to people who fall into a certain age range, live in a certain area, and have expressed certain interests. If these tools are available to you, try to use them to their fullest capacity; the narrower your audience is, the more relevant your message can get.
Use Third-Party Platforms
If you’re not getting the results you wanted from social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, consider using third-party tools and platforms to supplement your efforts. With the right third-party tool installed, you may be able to steer your post to the right audience with the help of timing, optimization, and tracking.
Don’t Forget to AB Test
One of the secrets to success in social media audience targeting is AB testing, a practice common in many forms of online marketing. The basic idea is to create two variants of a given item (such as an advertisement or a method of distribution), referred to as version A and version B; you’ll run these two versions in similar conditions, and measure which one performs better. With this information, you can identify variables responsible for improved performance, and you can gradually tweak your approach to get better results.
For example, let’s say you’re targeting a specific demographic with an ad in the form of a single image and a headline; you can create an “A” version and a “B” version, with two totally different headlines, and see which one attracts more engagements and interactions. You can use the information you glean from this to make better ads in the future.
For most marketers, audience targeting is a learning process. It takes time to figure out exactly which audience segment to target, how to make more relevant messaging for them, and how to reach them reliably. Social media can help you do this, but it takes time to discover and wield the correct tools in this strategy.