A sound piece of advice in social media marketing is to be active on the platforms that your audience uses on a regular basis, and to not spread yourself too thin by trying to be active on everything. There’s no point in spending time on social media platforms where you won’t reach your audience, and trying to do too much will leave you not doing enough on any of the platforms.
So, you should find out which social media platforms your audience primarily use, and dedicate your time to perhaps one or two platforms. But, how do you find out where your audience is on social media to decide which platforms to focus on?
Unfortunately, there is no magic tool (yet!) that tells you the answer to this question, so it will take some research on your part. Obviously you need to have your company’s target audience already defined and have a strong understanding of it. Once that’s ready, here are a few methods you could try to find them online.
Look at the stats
A lot of research has been done already to create a picture of who is using each social platform. For example, Pinterest is mainly used by women, and LinkedIn is a hotspot for professionals and businesses. Sprout Social put together a complete guide to the demographics of users of seven popular social media sites, so take a look to see where your audience is most likely to be.
Obviously, these are generalizations based on averages, so don’t rely on them completely, but it is a good starting point. Combining this with the next two techniques will prove even more effective.
The most direct way to find out which platforms your audience use the most is simply to ask them. This could involve asking your existing customers and clients, or creating a target group of people who fit all of the attributes of your ideal customer.
Think of what questions you can ask them to get the most valuable information from them. For example, which platforms do they use the most? Which platforms do they share content on? Which do they use to engage with brands or browse for things to buy.
There are a number of ways you can collect information from them. Interviews conducted over the phone or face-to-face are good for gathering in depth information and opinions but will take more time to perform and analyze, whereas questionnaires and surveys generally include more closed-ended questions but allow you to get results from a larger audience.
Learn from your competition
Do some research into other companies that operate in the same industry as you or otherwise have a similar target audience to you. You may know some of these already based on your main competitors or associates. Find more by searching for keywords related to your business online.
You can then use a content research tool such as BuzzSumo to find out more about the visitors to these websites and their social habits. Go to BuzzSumo and enter the URL of one of the websites you have identified with your target audience. The results will show you the most popular posts or pages from that website, along with how many times each post was shared on various social media sites.
By looking at which platforms they were shared on the most, you can get a good idea of which ones their audience uses the most. Do this for all of the websites you have identified to see if a pattern emerges between them.
From these three techniques, you should get a good idea of which social media platforms to focus your attention on. Make sure you keep monitoring your social activity to see if you are reaching your audience and encouraging engagement. If it doesn’t seem to be working, you might need to reassess your strategy and focus on other, social profiles.