How to Find Your Target Audience on Social Media

social media target audience
Do you know how to find your target audience on different social media platforms?

Social media is a party and each platform has a different dress code. Do you know which party you target audience will be attending? Better yet, do you know what to wear? Will you know what to talk about once you get there?

All silliness aside, it's important to know what conversation is happening around your area of expertise and who is participating in said conversation. Read on as I explain how to find your target audience on social media in four relatively simple steps.

If you haven't done your homework, finding your target audience on social media channels will be two things: difficult and useless. Know your customer intimately before jumping into the social media pool. Why? Each platform is a different community with different uses and etiquette; you need to know your target audience's well in order to predict their social community preferences and behavior.

1. Research. Identify conversation topics surrounding your area of expertise as well as the people participating (better yet, leading) those conversations.

Here are a few research questions to get you started:
  • What is my target audience interested in? Narrowminded thinking here is a no-no! What does your target audience watch on TV? What is their favorite type of food? What stores do they frequent? What are some of their hobbies? Don't just think professionally; explore their personal interests as well.
  • What is my target audience searching for online? Don't only use Google as a data reference point here. Be sure to collect information from Bing as well.
  • What are some issues or problems that my target audience faces? The idea here is to figure out how to help them; today's consumers love solutions and resourcefulness.

2. Find targeted social keywords. After you've completed your target audience research (you know them intimately, right?), the next step involves more research. This is wonderful for data nerds like myself! Think of/look at a typical conversation taking place over your targeted audience's preferred platform.
  • Find social keywords that are frequently used in the social conversation surrounding your area of expertise. Pay attention to phrasing and tone.
  • It's important to change your mindset from search engines to people when approaching social keywords. Keep the keywords and phrases conversational. How do people in your niche talk? Is it formal, informal? Any common slang or industry terminally used often? The idea here is to pick keywords that will attract your target audience, not necessarily your website.
  • This list of social keywords will also be used as a "cheat sheet" when approaching your targeted audience. If you talk like them and share their interests, they are likely to accept you into their circle faster.
  • Remember, it's okay to have keywords that are both SEO and social.

3. Identify conversations. Now that you know what your target audience is talking about and how they talk, it's time to find out where they are having this conversation. This step is crucial: you don't waste time putting together a social media campaign for a conversation that isn't happening. Worse yet, that is happening but not where you think it is.
  • Use Social Mention to identify and track social conversations around your niche and keywords. This tool uses data from more than 100 different platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Digg and will help show where the conversation is happening. Bonus: You can export your searches to a CSV file directly from the site.
  • Set up Google Alerts for your targeted social and SEO keywords for additional conversation monitoring.

4. Join conversations. Now that you know where the conversation(s) are happening, join them! Contribute to the conversation. Show your target audience that you know your stuff, are resourceful, helpful, and trustworthy.

Here are a few conversation starters:
  • Follow them on social platforms and then introduce yourself
  • Comment on blog posts they share and publish
  • Publish content that answers their questions and/or fulfills a need
  • Share relevant information with them in the format they prefer

How do you find target audiences online? Please share in the comments below.