Defining your Target Audience on Social Media

Before you spend a single penny on social media advertising, you should know exactly who your target audience is and how they spend their time online.

Just starting out in business or needing to fine-tune your marketing strategy? carry on reading to find out why understanding your target audience is so crucial.

Market segmentation is the process in which you divide your target market into groups based on shared characteristics.

The most common types of segmentation are:

  • Demographics

  • Geographics

  • Life stages

  • Psychographics or lifestyle

  • Affinity or interest groups

The categories above not only affect your social media tactics but also your graphics, message, content, offers and every other aspect of your marketing. Your messages need to be specific enough to satisfy the needs and wants of the distinct subgroups you’re trying to reach. In this article, we are going to delve into how you can define your target audience so that you can market your product or service more effectively and ultimately drive more sales within your business.

Demographics

Demographic segmentation is the most common type of market differentiation and covers standard categories such as gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, family size, household income, occupation, social class and education.

Simple demographics affect your market definition. The use of fragrances, descriptive terms and even packaging may vary by gender. How many adverts have you seen for men’s shampoo that talk about silky hair? And what’s the ratio of shampoo adverts addressed to women versus men?

Geographics 

Marketing by country, region, city, postal code or even neighbourhood is vital if your business draws its primary target audience from within a certain distance from your brick-and-mortar storefront.

Geography may not seem obvious, but people who live in dry climates may be more receptive to a message about moisturisers than people who live in more humid climates. If you’re a service that operates locally, you will want to focus your efforts on the people in your local area. If your business operates globally then you would need to consider the differences in language. For example, The UK, Australia and USA are all English-speaking countries but there is a vast difference in the uses of grammar and words native to each country.

Life stages

Life stage analysis considers what people are doing with their lives, recognising that it may affect media behaviour and spending patterns. Single adults with no children would be more likely to buy fashion items, holidays and recreational products whereas adults with children under 6 would be more interested in baby food, toys, furniture and new homes.

For instance, people who dye their hair look for different hair care products than those who don’t, but the reason they colour their hair affects your selling message. (Teenagers and young adults may dye their hair unusual colours to fit in with fashion trends; older men may be dyeing their hair with the purpose of covering greys; women with kids may colour their hair as a pick-me-up or be interested in fashion.)

Psychographics or lifestyle

Even lifestyles (psychographics) affect decisions. Psychographic segmentation divides a market by social class, lifestyle or the shared activities, interests and opinions of prospective customers. It helps you identify not only where to promote your company but also how to craft your message.

People with limited resources who are unlikely to try new products may respond to messages about value and satisfaction guarantees; people with more resources or higher status may be affected by messages related to social grouping and self-esteem.

Affinity groups

Segmenting by affinity group (a group of people sharing similar interests or participating in similar activities) is an obvious segmentation parameter.

People who participate in environmental organisations or who recycle goods may be more likely to be swayed by a “green shampoo” appeal or shop in specific online places.

Remember that the most successful marketing campaigns are driven by your target markets, not techniques.

This is why it is crucial to understand your audience so you can adapt your message to appeal to every potential customer that may see your advertising on social media. For more social media advice, check out our article on ‘Social Media Best Practices for Business’ or listen to 200+ episodes of the Business Growth Secrets Podcast here.

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