To be able to convey your message effectively, it’s necessary to speak directly to your potential customers. Without a well-defined market or audience, your message becomes too broad and you lose the opportunity to establish a personal connection. This personal connection is key for them to be convinced by your message and eventually take action.
A target market is a particular group of people at which a product or service is aimed, while a target audience refers to a narrower segment of that market. This distinction is essential because there are instances where a particular campaign is not targeted toward everyone in the target market, but the product or service stays relevant to their needs.
Let’s use a swim club as an example. Most swim clubs consist of swimmers from beginner to the high caliber and onward to masters. So, your target market for club memberships may be families from a particular city or town or within a certain distance of that town. But let’s say you want to push your newly opened swim school. You can then segment this market into an audience of families with children under the age of 6. Meaning, you don’t want to do a large social media push to all ages, you want to focus your ad budget on that specific audience that is more likely to attend a swim school.
Being able to decipher your larger market and your narrower audiences, allows you to target your marketing and ensure that you are spending the right amount of time, effort, and budget that will give you the most success.
To identify your market through social media, you should ask yourself some questions:
Group (ie: parents)
This information is not just for crafting your message, but also for how you will target your ads and posts on social media.
Aside from demographic data, it’s essential to uncover the patterns of behavior of your target audience. These include spending patterns, sources of information, and even how they interact on social media. You can look at which posts get the most engagement and which audiences in your market are engaging with specific posts, ads, videos, etc. While it may take time to work through who you are connecting with, it is a worthwhile exercise. Understanding how your audience engages, tells you what you should do more of or if you are off target, or what to completely avoid in the future.
It’s also not a bad idea to look at your competitor’s social media campaigns. What are they doing and having success with on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others? This can help with ideas when you require ideas.
In addition to doing your research, you can tap into the reporting from each social media platform. These can give you information about your existing followers, which you can access through their Analytics menu. Facebook Audience Insights, for example, can tell you your audience’s demographics, purchase activities, Facebook usage, and even the top pages your followers have liked. You can also access similar data on Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics, and YouTube Analytics.
If you plan on spending for an ad campaign, these social media platforms allow you to define your market through several categories. In Facebook ad targeting, you can set your audience based on their location, age, gender, and languages. Detailed targeting (wherein you can select audience interests and behaviors) and Connections targeting (wherein you can include or exclude connections on Facebook) are also available for a more specific audience.
Meanwhile, Instagram audience targeting functions similarly, and you also have the option to choose Automatic Targeting — wherein Instagram will create an audience for you using a variety of signals from their algorithm. In Twitter, you can select audience types based on several factors such as Conversation Targeting (based on the content of their everyday conversations), Event Targeting, and Keyword Targeting. YouTube also allows for a variety of audience targeting methods such as Affinity Audiences (based on interests) and In-market Audiences (users who are researching products and actively considering a purchase).
Most social media platforms also offer a Look-alike Audience or Similar Audience feature, wherein you’ll have to provide them with a Customer Match list (emails are the most useful data for this), and they will be responsible for showing your ads to users with similar characteristics to those on the list.
If you want your marketing campaigns to be effective and bring in your audience or create a buzz for your next event, you’ll need to define your market as well as your different audiences for each specific campaign. Comprehensive knowledge of your market and an understanding of your social media options will allow you to effectively reach your audience and design a good message that will help you achieve your objectives.