Finding Your Target Audience

by Stacey Alexander on June 10, 2011

in Social Media

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This is a post in a series on the Top Social Media Marketing Questions for 2011.

Today’s question is “How do I effectively find my target audience with social media?

Social media and the internet have made targeting your audience a lot easier than it used to be. Not only are we able to see what kind of activities people are engaging in online, but with the advent of social media networks, they’re actually telling us what they like. From Facebook profiles, to tweets and Google +1, businesses are increasingly able to market to the exact audience they’re looking for–which means better ROI.

This all sounds great, but you have to find them before you can market to them. This can be difficult, but online listening tools like Radian6 and Sysomos, make it easier. These tools crawl the web looking for mentions of whatever is important to you: your brand name, industry keywords, product types, etc. When you look at your results over a period of time, it’s easy to tell where you should be in social media. If people are mostly talking about your brand or keywords on a particular platform, that’s where you should be.

The second part of this process is the how-to-market-in-social-media-part. How can you gain clients or customers without seeming pushy? How can you grab the attention of your audience? How can you stand out among the competition?

Each industry is different. The approach for B2C versus B2B companies is slightly different. However, what’s not different is that people don’t want to be sold. They don’t want you pushing your product in their faces. They don’t want you to be selfish or self-centered.

Find out what your customers and potential customers want. Then give it to them. Your job as a social media marketer is to make people happy. And that’s pretty awesome!

What are they saying?

If the conversation about your brand is negative, let those people know that they have been heard, and that their feedback is important to your company. If the conversation is talking about how awesome your products are, thank those people who are helping you market your business. Those relationships will come in handy. If people have a lot of questions, answer them. A business that adapts, that becomes more human, will be more successful in the social media space.

Take it a step further by proactively creating relationships with individuals from your audience. It’s hard for a customer to forget the time a brand reached out to them and made them feel important. If you want a good example of this, read the post I wrote about how Healthy Choice helped us raise money for St. Baldrick’s.

What are your tips for finding and marketing to your audience in social media?

Photo by cliff1066™

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgan Siem June 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

There are also many great ways to target specific audiences by applying social media data and demographics to paid advertising campaigns. We’ve seen really great results with Facebook Sponsored Stories, Twitter advertising and LinkedIn ads, just to name a few.

(Here’s our blog post about our results from beta testing Twitter advertising:

Another great way is to do blogger outreach. This tactic requires dedication, but can be one of the most effective ways to reach highly targeted audience members.


Stacey Alexander Stacey Alexander June 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Good point, Morgan. I was thinking more organically with this question, but we’ve seen good stuff from social advertising. Awesome abilities in targeting, especially the Facebook Sponsored Stories we just tried out–better CTR and lower cost. Readers: Stay tuned for a case study on that in the next little bit.


laurent June 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Finding means you want to do something with what you find (unless it’s for pure intelligence purpose but business do need to take action)
Here’s my view on this:
- Social media is a network of network (i.e: people interested in beauty will connect and share with people interested in beauty..or BMX..or personal finance)
- Brands can’t find their target audience (even when they accumulate millions of fb fans, all they have is a fb account name)
- Brands can find the influencers that are relevant to them and occupy a strategic position in the network between them and their target audience. Building trusted relationships with those VIPs benefits in term of better innovation, real-time market intelligence, faster time to market and relevant purposeful messaging.


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