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August 15, 2016

10 things you HAVE to know about your social media audience

STOP. Don't post anything on your brand's social channels until you have a clear picture of who you're talking to. Here are the fundamentals

Building a social media strategy? Before you do anything else, do some audience analysis. If you start planning or creating social media content without an understanding of your audience, there’s a good chance your activity won’t resonate – and if it does it will do so by chance, which makes it harder to double down on what works.

Understanding your audience means knowing who they are and what they do, what their passions and interests are, what resonates with them and what drives their decision making. Having this knowledge at your fingertips will enable you to generate a powerful social media strategy that ensures all your social media content is highly targeted.

Here are 10 things you absolutely have to know about your social media audience.

1. Age, Gender, Location, Lifestyle

Integral to your audience analysis should be a solid understanding of their demographics, personality and lifestyle. This will enable you to target your content to their needs and ensure you write using a style and tone that resonates with them. For example, writing for a millennial audience is very different to writing for retirees.

2. What networks do they use?

If you know which social networks are the most popular among your audience, you can adjust budget and resources more effectively. For example, if they spend 20% of their time on Facebook and 80% of their time on Pinterest, you can allocate more time and money to the latter. This knowledge also determines content format. For example, Instagram and Pinterest content is highly visual.

3. When do they use social channels?

Understand which days of the week and times of day your audience browses social channels. This will enable you to adjust publishing times to maximise reach. For example, young professionals are likely to be browsing social networks on their way to work.

4. What is their main reason for using social media?

It’s important to know why your audience uses social media. For example, do they use Instagram to share photos of family or food? Do they use Facebook for news or to share updates? You can feed this information into your social media strategy to ensure you produce content on their favourite topics.

5. Which other brands are they following?

You need to know whether your audience follows your competitors. This way you can tailor your content to showcase the benefits your offering has over the competition. You can also see whether they tend to follow luxury brands or discount stores, and this can help you to understand their budget requirements.

6. Which media outlets do they follow?

Knowing where they read their news not only gives you an idea of the topics that resonate with your audience, but it can also show you the style they like to receive their content in. It will also give you an idea of where your brand could be focusing its advertising and outreach efforts.

7. What do they do when they’re offline?

Knowing what they do when they’re not browsing social media will help you to adjust your social media strategy, so your content targets the exact things they’re interested in. For example, they might be very sporty or they might be musical. These nuggets of information are extremely valuable when considering how to tailor your content to engage with them.

8. Who else are they listening to and what are their values?

You can get some idea of the values of your social media audience by understanding what they are talking about and who they listen to. This is information you can use in influencer marketing campaigns.

9. What content do they want?

Look at the type of content that engages them the most. For example, do they share videos and infographics, or do they tend to read blogs and articles?

10. Which device do they use most?

Do they browse social channels from their mobile phone or from a laptop? Whichever it is, this should be integral to how you package content. So, if most of your audience is viewing your social media content from a mobile device, then content needs to be optimised to be short, snappy and easy to digest.

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