It is best practice to understand your audience before a company starts a social media campaign. Here are some helpful steps to get off on the right foot. Which Social Media Platform Should Your Business Be On? Answer These Three Questions First:
1. Are you B2B or B2C?
Are you B2B or B2C? Because that changes things. Unfortunately, we’re not yet to the point where people go to social media sites when they want to buy things. There are exceptions—like looking for local goods on Facebook’s marketplace—but a general rule of thumb is that people on social media are at the very top of the sales funnel. What this means for you is that you might be targeting your ads and social media strategy for the wrong buyer’s stage. Unless your product can be an impulse buy, the likelihood of them traveling all the way down that funnel instead of scrolling to the next post in their feed is slim to none.
The best B2B social media strategies aim to gather leads and generate interest in your product. Do this by regularly blogging, creating lead magnets like case studies and e-books, and promoting your company on the best B2B platforms like LinkedIn.
Be careful, however, because the dynamics of B2B buying have changed, and your target audience might be on other channels.
2. Who is your target audience? These 10 questions will tell you
Every once in a while, I’m served an ad that is blatantly ill-targeted. I’ve gotten bad ads for everything from jock straps (true story) to herbal supplements for overweight pregnant women (also true). I’m a female, I’m not overweight, and I’m as likely to get pregnant as a new parent is to jet away for the tropics on a whim.
Every time I’m served these types of ads, two thoughts run through my head:
- That business just wasted money on me.
- That business should fire whoever is in charge of their ads targeting
When you target the wrong audience, you’re wasting your money—no ifs, ands or buts. Take out a piece of paper, right now. Write down the answers to the following ten questions:
- Where is your audience located?
- What is the average age and gender of your target buyer?
- What’s their average income?
- Are they homeowners?
- What are their hobbies?
- What industry do they work in?
- Do they have kids?
- What challenges do they face, and what problems do they want to be solved?
- How do they get their information (are they tech-savvy or more traditional)?
- Which of all of the above are my top-paying and most loyal customers?
There. You’ve just profiled your average buyer. Stuck? A handy—and simple—tool you can use to profile your target audience is Facebook’s Audience Insights.
3. What’s your overall social media goal?
I once spent an afternoon with a nephew of mine who had just discovered soccer. After two hours of chasing loose balls and narrowly avoiding broken windows, I made a deal that I’d keep playing with him until he made three goals. Three goals later, I made to go inside, and he stamped his foot and promptly told me,
“Yea, but THAT’S not the goal I was talking about,” he said, gesturing to the net. “That is,” and he pointed off to the bushes in the opposite direction.
As childish as it sounds, that’s actually how a lot of business owners and marketing managers run their social media program. They’ll say, “shoot for the goal,” without disclosing (or knowing) exactly what the real goal is. Chances are, you’ll have the same results as I had with my nephew’s “three-goal” soccer game—disappointing at best.
One thing to keep in mind is that social media is a “see” platform, meaning people go there to see things, not do things. That makes it difficult for businesses with a long sales cycle to make sales straight from the platform.