Who Are You Talking To? Tips for Social Media Marketing

Who Are You Talking To? Tips for Social Media Marketing

social media marketing
(Image: iStock/andresr)

Social media marketing is the great equalizer of businesses big and small. Many startups have blown the large, mega brands out of the social media pond, because of their ability to meet the client on their level and be more responsive to their needs.

How is this accomplished? By understanding the main market demographic your business serves, and channeling your time and marketing dollars in that direction.  Without question, the first step to an efficient social media marketing strategy is to understand who your key market segment is and where to find them online.


Knowing Your Audience


As a social media manager, it is my job to understand the audience my client is trying to reach.  The main thrust of the overall digital marketing strategy, including curated articles, social media posts, and paid advertising, should be focused on the identified market segment.

Next, I must decide where to boost the ad to get the most bang for my marketing buck; research is critical to achieving this goal. When I am looking at demographics for most clients, it has nothing to do with the racial makeup of their customer base, and according to Pew Research, there is no significant racial difference in how various social media platforms are used. The most critical factors for social media marketing are interest and searching behavior. I look for people who are searching on a question to which my client can provide the answer.

Developing a demographic analysis for a client starts with a conversation: Who do they believe their client is? Extrapolating from there, I work with the client to help them think outside of their preconceived customer box. At the end of the day, I want to get my clients’ content in front of as many eyes as possible. Age, gender, and status in life are more important determinants of how potential customers use social media than their racial or ethnic identification.


Picking the Proper Platform


Facebook remains the predominant social media platform, used by 68% of Americans who are on social media according to Pew Research (Social Media Update 2016). The second most popular social media platform is Instagram. But, since that social media outlet is heavily dependent upon images to connect, it may not work for all businesses.

For example, for my HVAC client, Mobley Heating and Air, I can certainly post pictures of my client fixing and replacing HVAC units, and post them to an audience on Instagram, which will get us into an audience sharing 248,624 posts from people who follow the hashtag #HVAC. But at this point, we are preaching to the choir, and I am not getting this client in front of anyone that is indeed looking for HVAC repair.

That is not the case for my wedding planner client, the Payne-Corley House. Instagram is a great venue for them to get noticed, with a #wedding audience sharing 77,356,200. As the social media manager, I must be aware of these differences and choose wisely, on behalf of my client, where to spend those precious marketing dollars.

Based on the demographic you are serving, you will have various options. Twitter looks at household income and basic interests. Facebook drills down a bit more, and you can choose not only topics but groups that are interested in what you are promoting, based on likes and interest. Pinterest has their list of interests and keywords. So, take the time, look at who uses a channel, and determine from there how best to use them.