Are My Target Customers on Social Media?

Mike Opera
By Mike Opera

Let’s get straight to the point. Yes, your target customers are on social media. How do I know and how do you find them? Let’s review the facts regarding the recent expansion of social media and how it relates to a target audience or, your potential customers

Many would argue that the emergence of modern social media was the introduction of Facebook in 2004. I agree with those people. Since the appearance of Facebook, other social media outlets have come along such as LinkedIn, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, Instagram, and many others.

As more people gain access to the internet, you are able to market to an increased population. In the last year alone, internet usage increased by 10% and social media usage is up 21%. That is an incredibly steep increase for a single year over a decade after social media got its start.

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In January 2017, research showed that 2.78 billion people worldwide are active social media users. This represents a 37% penetration of the global population. That’s a lot of people to reach out to. But who are these users and which social media networks are they using? How do you know that your audience is part of the 37% and not the other 63%? Let’s take a deeper look at what the data tells us.

Related: Social Media Marketing Strategies for Lead Generation vs. E-Commerce

Depending on your product or service, you will have a specific or multiple age demographics that you want to market to with your social media marketing strategy. Each age group uses social media differently including which  networks they access and their overall usage of social media.

Pew Research Center surveys show that the percentage of American adults using social media has drastically increased from 2005 to 2015, but that new user adoption has slowed in recent years.

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The 18-29 year old age bracket showed the most drastic adoption in the early years of social media and has continued a steady trend upward. Users in the 30-49 and 65 and older age brackets seem to have plateaued in recent years, while 50 to 64 year olds have shown a substantial increase within the last two years. No matter the age, users are on social media are ready to view your product advertisements, social profiles and posts from your company. They are there to interact and engage with your brand.

 

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Furthermore, when we look at the age demographics for each network we learn even more about our potential audience. 25-34 year olds consistently use a variety of networks, but younger audiences aged 18-24 dominate Snapchat. Facebook appears to have an even distribution of users across age groups, meaning it will be a target network for the audience your brand is looking at. Today, Facebook alone has over 1.9 million monthly active users around the globe!

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But age isn’t the only factor to weigh when searching for your target customer on social media. You must also look at factors like gender and location. Consider gender for example. Since 2008, women have slowly overtaken men as the primary users of social media by a small percentage. Near the end of 2016, 72% of women in the United States (US) and 66% of US men used at least one social media platform.

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We can see that people are using social media, but which networks are they using? Data shows that nearly as many men as women use Facebook, but Instagram and Pinterest are dominated by women. Men have the slight edge on LinkedIn usage and Twitter shows an even split between genders.

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Finally, let’s consider location and the penetration of social media around the world. As mentioned previously, the global average percentage of the population using social media is 37%. The United Arab Emirates, however, has a 99% penetration rate of the country’s population. In comparison, the United States has 66% of the population using social media. Take a look at the data for yourself in the chart below, some countries may surprise you.

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Now that we have looked at the data, what does all this mean? How do the numbers  prove thatmy target customer is on social media and how do I find them? Matching the persona or character of your brand with the target audience is a key to success on social media.  Let’s look at some examples.

Example 1Imagine a home goods store is attempting to market to young working mothers, specifically in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket, in the United States. Do you think this person is using social media? Which network do you think is the best to reach her?

Related: Pros and Cons of Hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency

I would guess she is on social media, given that over 75% of people her age are. Since she is part of the workforce, you might be able to find her on LinkedIn. But would she be looking for home goods there? Probably not. This brand might try reaching her through Pinterest or Instagram which both command attention from over 30% of women and 26% of her age group.

But I suppose you could argue this is an easy persona to nail down. So let’s look at another example.

Example 2An outdoor retailer wants to market their new luxury tent. The persona they are aiming for is men over the age of 35 worldwide. Where should they start? Given that Facebook is the mostly widely used network around the world with penetration in all age groups and gender, it is a safe bet that the brand would reach their target user by marketing on Facebook.

The key to discovering where to find your target customer on social media is to look at all the contributing factors of the specific persona and use the information available to discern the network on which you might find them. Billions of people use social media every day and this is a vital resource for marketers today that should not be overlooked. Creating engaging advertisements and social content will draw customers to your brand.

How To Build Your Brand On Social Media: Best Practices

To help you get started, here are some quick tips and best practices to use when building your brand on social media.

  • Interact, Be Social  Follow users back to show that you care about what they have to say. When users reach out to you, engage with them. The more social and personal your brand feels, the more likely users will be to maintain interest in your brand and products or services.
  • Set Your Tone  Choose the voice and tone of your brand carefully. Some brands are known for being funny on social media, like Taco Bell on Twitter for instance. Find the voice that works for your brand specifically and that your target customers will respond to. This is where personas can come in handy.

Related: Strategies for Growing Your Social Media Following As a New Brand

  • Know Who You’re Targeting  Developing a persona that represents the different customers you would like to reach will help you refine the messaging on your profiles and create relevant content to publish to your networks. The more detailed these personas are, the more useful they will be. You’ll be able to refer back to these personas when developing more and more of your marketing strategy. And as you grow, your personas should grow and change with your brand, becoming more refined so that you can target your customers better.
  • Respond to Feedback  This means both positive and negative feedback and ties in with the practice of maintaining interaction with your customers on social media. Customers want to feel heard, especially when they’re upset, and avoiding negative comments will make your brand seem feeble. Not a good look.

So now you have the tools to find your target customers on social media and create engaging social brands on the networks you choose to use. Get started! Begin by refining your social media messaging to target your personas and drive business straight to your check out.

 

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