Defining a target audience can be one of the most challenging aspects of marketing. However, once you have a clear idea of ​​who your target audience is, run more relevant campaigns with better returns.

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to define a target audience and reach them through social media.

What is a target audience?

First, let’s understand what a target audience actually is. In the simplest sense a target group refers to the group of people who are most likely to be interested in your product or offering. And members of this group share common characteristics.

Let’s look at some examples of target audiences. Canva, the online design tool, has a large audience of designers and design enthusiasts who can be broken down into these groups after using the tool.

For example, one of Canva’s target groups is teachers who use the tool to create worksheets, infographics or posters.

Share your passion for education by making your classroom not just a classroom but a home as well. 🏠

Keep the following suggestions in mind as you create your own positive and valuable classroom culture: https://t.co/ICmbCpUwOh

– Canva (@canva) January 28, 2021

Another key audience for Canva is social marketers who need to create compelling visuals for their brand’s social media and digital campaigns.

Why should you define your target audience?

Why is it so important to define a target audience? Here are some of the top ways you can benefit from marketing to an audience:

  • If you focus on a few specific audiences, you can advertise more effectively.
  • This also means allocating money and resources to relevant consumer groups.
  • Knowing a specific target group also helps to consolidate a brand voice that is resonating. This will amplify your social media branding efforts.
  • When you market to a highly specific audience, you can develop messaging that really resonates with them. This makes it easier to bond with them and earn their loyalty.

Now that you know how to define a target audience, let’s find out who the target audience is.

Take a closer look at your existing audience

First, take a closer look at who is already following you or who is buying from you. The aim is to find out who wants to connect with you on social media and to understand them better.

Here are some questions that will help you with this step:

1. Who is your current audience?

Monitor who follows you on social media and interacts with your posts. Who likes, shares, comments on your content? Then narrow down the main common characteristics like age, location, language, interests, etc.

So who is your target audience? The answer lies with the people who identify with your brand.

2. What information are you looking for and why?

The next question is why and for what information your audience is following you.

Understanding the type of information followers are looking for can help you understand your audience better. And you identify their needs and how to address them on social media.

It’s good to know that people have different reasons why they follow brands on social media. And you need to adjust your social media content strategy accordingly.

According to the Sprout Social Index ™: Above and Beyond, the four most common reasons consumers follow brands on social media are:

  1. Learn about new products or services (57%)
  2. Stay up to date on company news (47%)
  3. Find out more about promotions or discounts (40%)
  4. be entertained (40%).

3. Where do you go for this information?

Which social networks does your target group visit most often? Based on your research, where did you notice your audience the most? Make sure you reach your target audiences where they are most active to make an impact.

For example, starting a Twitter campaign doesn’t make sense if a majority of your target audience is most active on Instagram. Understand what your audience wants and on which platform your content strategy is defined.

4. What are you talking about?

This is one of the most critical questions that can give you the best insight into your target audience. Instead of guessing, you know exactly what your audience is talking about.

What does your audience like and dislike? What challenges and what solutions are you looking for? What are they saying about your brand or products? If you know the answers to these questions, you can narrow down the biggest weaknesses and wishes.

A platform like Sprout Social makes it easy to distill through online conversations with the social media listening tool. This tool tracks conversations related to your brand, checks the preferences of the target group, identifies trending topics and much more.

Screenshot of the Sprout Social Listening Tool dashboard

5. Who do you trust?

Is trust important when building relationships with your followers? Think about your social habits: Do you trust a brand online? Do other customers’ online reviews influence your purchasing decisions?

Also consider how your company deals with its reputation. Do you reply to any incoming messages or social mentions? It is important to be present to your brand and audience in order to build trust and attract your target audience.

Define the main benefits of your products or services

After defining your target group, how can you solve their weaknesses with your products or services? What value does your company offer? By defining these weaknesses and their key benefits, you will have a clearer idea of ​​how best to position your company in a way that resonates with your target audience. This will also help you narrow down the unique advantage you have over the competition.

One of American Express’s greatest competitive advantages is its customer loyalty programs. To promote this unique selling proposition, the company uses Amex Ambassadors for its strategy for social media content.

Look at the competition

To properly define and reach your target audience, you also need to look at what the competition is doing. Ask questions like:

  • What types of people are your competitors targeting?
  • How do you reach your target group?
  • What are you doing right?
  • What is missing in your strategy?
  • What are the main advantages they emphasize in their marketing?
  • How often do you post?
  • Which content formats seem to work best for you?
  • What kind of tone are they using?

Again, Sprout can help uncover these answers through social listening. Create listening topics around your competitors to help understand the social chatter around their brands.

Create content for your target audience on social media

After you’ve got all of these insights about your target audience, it’s time to start creating content.

Here are some best practices to guide you:

  • Try A / B testing different content elements, formats, timings and more. As a result, you’ll tailor your content strategy to the types of posts your target audience tends to be engaging with. Monitor what kind of subtitles they like, what timing is best to enable them, and so on.
  • Remember Create content for different stages of the buying funnel. For example, entertaining content can be great for drawing attention during the awareness phase. But for those who are in the deliberation phase, informative and instructional pieces work better.
  • Be more direct with your audience research. Rather than just accepting or using analytics data, think about what your followers are really thinking by putting those insights into context. Take surveys and ask them questions so you can better get them involved.

Ready to connect with your target audience?

Now that you have the knowledge to identify and connect with your target audience, you can create a strategy to connect with them. To take it a step further, use our free worksheet to make authentic connections with your audience.