It is easy to set up a social media account and get it up running in few minutes. But transforming that social media into a successful business implementation is a major challenge for many users.
Just like any venture, using social media for business begins with the understanding of your market and knowing where to find your target audience.
It helps to get focused in the beginning knowing the people you are marketing to and saving yourself from other noises on social media that are only going to waste your time.
I’ve been contacted many times before with a question of “how to get started with my social media campaigns?” Though somewhat surprising that such an elementary question is still common,…
But I think it is because the askers want to know the nittygritty details surrounding their social business. Time is a critical factor on social media, and I can bet you can never have that enough.
This article is meant to help you better use your social media time for a business implementation.
You will discover how to research and find the right audience for your business on social media, that you can then target with your various campaign offers. And if you have already started on social, you will also find this article useful to get your campaigns back on track.
With that said, let’s begin
Describe your audience
After setting up your social media accounts, the next thing is to determine the ideal customers for your business and their location. To make it easy, you need to first describe who and what they are: you can do this by creating a persona for each audience you are targeting. In doing so, make sure to use specific terms to describe your audience without any details being left out.
This includes their Age, Gender, Interest, Pain Points, Challenges, Location, Household Income, Work Life, Personality, Leisure, Job Title, Job Function, etc. When you write down all these granular details for your audience, it is easier to create a spreadsheet to arrange them in order of importance.
Pro tip: Find one person that has a perfect representation of the ideal customer you are targeting. Put that person at the center of your social research and marketing to mirror the rest of the family, while ensuring that all your marketing communications flow around him or her, much as you do when chatting with a friend.
Discover your audience location
Each social platform has its distinctive features that stand it out from others, which determine the type of users it attracts. You need to bear this to a research on a place where your audience is. For instance, LinkedIn is good if you are in B2B business, while Twitter and Facebook are a perfect place for a News business. Instagram is great for visual marketing, which when combined with Facebook, you can leverage its powerful targeting features to narrow your search down to a specific audience. Pinterest is a perfect stomping ground if you are in a fashion business. So, understanding the right platform for your business will get you off in a good stead.
Determine your market size
While social media is big enough to accommodate the kind of products you are targeting to customers, you still need to analyze your market size to know if your marketing will be cost effective in the process. If your market size is unnecessarily too large, you can prune your audience to an area where your service is mostly needed.
So instead of targeting the entire California for your local wine shop, you can limit your delivery area to Los Angeles where your business is located.
On the flip side, if your audience is too small, you can change your offer to target a wider spectrum of audience in your niche, or change your entire niche.
Having known this, you can begin probing for your potential market size starting from Google.
Google is a good starting point because nearly all your potential customers are typing their queries into it to search for businesses they want to buy from. In this way, it is easier to know how many requests are being made about your business in Google.
To do this, input the most important keywords for your business to UberSuggest to generate a set of long-tail keywords for it. This can help you uncover what problems are users looking to solve by searching for your business in Google. With more information provided in the long-tail keywords/phrases, you can gain further insights about who your business serves.
Download the keyword results.
Now, log on to Google Keyword Planner, and upload your set of keywords in .csv file format. To do this, while on the KeywordPlanner’s starting page, go to “Get search volume data and trends” and choose the file you want to upload.
Click the button to get the search volume for each keyword. Definitely, you are not going to need all of the resulting keywords, but they can help provide a significant insight that you can leverage to know the intent behind each query for your business.
Now, download the results into a spreadsheet to see the search volume for each month over the last 12 months, remember to check the “Segment statistics by month” box while doing this.
Now that you have the rough estimate of the number of people searching for your business, you can take that insight into social media to validate on each platform. I discuss this further when we get to each platform below.
Survey your customers
Probably you have a few customers yet that you can ask some questions or an email list that can spare a couple minutes of their time to answer your questions or even your blog readers, then you have people to survey. Write down your survey questions and make the answers as brief as possible so that they don’t overwhelm your respondents. You can field survey containing typical questions like
- Have you tried our service designed for (their pain points)?
- What social media site do you visit when you needed similar service, and why?
- Will you change your destination if the same information is available elsewhere, and to which site?
- Do you watch videos while consuming content on social media?
- Who are the people you listen to or follow on social media?
- Do you regularly read blogs? If so, which ones?
Obviously, the types of question you field will depend on what you intend to achieve on social media. You can use free tools like SurveyMonkey and Google Forms to collect your answers. Surveymonkey is great for collecting results from an email list, while Google Forms is perfect for blog readers.
Leverage demography and usage data on each platform
With the ample insights that you have collected through the survey, you can take a step further in your research looking at the demographic composition on each social media site. Well you dont need to do this by yourself, the job has been finely done by some specialized sites in demographic information and geographic statistics on social media. The resources like…
Pew research has a valuable insight on this, they have compilations of a huge library of usage data and user behavior on the major social platforms. In addition, since Pew Research is more tilted to U.S. audience, you can spread wide into other geographies by leveraging the compilations of SmartInsight. They have valuable data on global user adoption on social sites and other valuable statistics.
Armed with these pieces of information, you can begin searching for the right audience for your business and build your social community by connecting with them. Let’s see how to do that on each platform.
Almost every business that can be sourced through social media has a footprint on Facebook, thanks to its humongous user base. While I’ve written before about how to search for people or businesses on Facebook. Based on location, title, keywords, or using the advanced search filters, including the rarely used address bar filters that you can use to filter your search results on the platform. The real targeting power is in Facebook’s advertising ecosystem.
By now you know that Facebook organic reach is in decline, especially for brand pages. Facebook now prioritizes a post by Friends over business messages to show in its user news feed. So you may need a paid traffic to give your marketing a lift on the platform.
Diving into Facebook advertising will also give you access to its robust granular targeting features that you can use to determine the number of users of a particular age, with a minimum household income, who have expressed what interests, are living in a particular region, country, city, or even in your locality.
Facebook shows the total number of each audience that you can expand or contrast by adjusting these filters, depending on your delivery area. You can also leverage the insights gained in your earlier keywords research to know what problems these people are looking to solve.
Then join up in relevant groups to begin networking with them. To do this, simply type in your business keyword to the search box, stroll down the typeahead to your exact keyword with a magnifying glass at the bottom and click on it to go to the Facebook advanced search page.
There, you can filter your results by Groups or any other criteria.
Look for a group with a good number of members and join in.
Tip: study the topics that are being discussed in the group to see how you can add value. Then come up with your own in-depth and relevant posts to share with the members and watch how they respond to them. If they are showing interest, you can invite them to like your Page [where you have posted more of such posts], or make your offer to them right there in the group.
Though Twitter advertising does not provide the kind of targeting you will get on Facebook, there are several card options that you can use to target specific results to your business. For instance, Lead Generation card is perfect for growing an email list, while Website card can be used to drive targeted traffic to your product and service page.
Others include Basic App Card which is used to drive installs for your apps on iOS and Android devices, Image App Card and Video App Card that are also used to promote your apps with the only difference being in their content format; Image and Video, respectively.
Moving away from Twitter advertising, Twitter advanced search is a great feature to get ample targeting that can narrow your search to a specific audience. Let’s say you want to search a nearby audience for your local wine shop, you can easily add an operator to your search query indicating that interest for your local people, and then you can target when they are sending tweets by adding an appropriate operator for that interest.
Hitting return, then there is a good chance of seeing a few relevant results. When you find the users that seem like good audience members, you can initiate the interactions by following them, courtesy demands that they follow back, even if they don’t, you can create a Twitter list named “local wine fans” to keep tabs on those connections, also be sure you have set the list privacy to public to get them notified about it.
Unlike Facebook groups where you can join to gain instant access to an already existing audience, Twitter requires you to build your own audience to jumpstart your marketing on the platform.
I’ve written a post before about how to prospect for a new business on Twitter, but the tactics mentioned there are based on the underlying assumption that you are gaining relevant Twitter followers on a consistent basis.
Getting massive followers on Twitter isn’t that difficult as it sounds, but it is not always easy for a starter. If you’re one, I’ve written an E-book before to show you how to get at least a few hundreds of targeted Twitter followers per day. It contains the methods that I used to build my Twitter to over 40,000 followers in six months. You can buy the book here for a token, and also get my after-sale services in the process.
Finally, you can ramp up your Twitter marketing by being an active participant in some of the prominent Twitter Chats.
Twitter Chats are a great way to share your expertise with the public and build your authority.
To join a conversation, you simply send a tweet with a common hashtag (that usually ends with “chat” e.g. #InfluencerChat) when the chat is live. Here are some of the chats with their weekly schedules that you can participate in if you’re interested in business and internet marketing topics, for instance:
- #AntionWeb, Wed & Thur 8:30-10:30 PM ET, Moderators: @TomAntion, @ChicCopywrite
- #B2BChat, Thur 8:00-9:00 PM ET, Moderators: @wittlake, @cuferg, @b2bento, @dannyhanssel, @andrewspoeth
- #BizForum, Wed 8:00-9:00 PM ET, Moderators: @samfiorella, @bizforum_debate
- #ContentChat, Mon 3:00-4:00 PM ET, Moderators: @JeniseFryatt, @MitchellBeer, @SmarterShft
Finding customers on LinkedIn is way more direct and straightforward being a business-focused platform already. You only need to type in your keyword to locate your target audience here.
Suppose you develop Cartoon software for businesses and you want to find people who are interested in your products, simply click on “Advanced” beside the top search box to go to the LinkedIn advanced search page. If you choose to narrow your search to U.S. audience, you can enter the postal code for the administrative area you want to target.
You may consider filtering out the 1st and 2nd-degree connections to make sure you are seeing a completely new audience in your search results since LinkedIn ranks your search results by your networks.
Meanwhile, note that to get the full benefits of LinkedIn search, you will need to upgrade your account to premium. This will enable you to filter your search by company size, interest, function, and more.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter that let you connect to a large number of audience at a spree, the real power in LinkedIn marketing is in one-to-one networking. You can send a business prospect a connection request or an InMail to begin the conversation, you may want to customize the request you send as well.
If you are a member in popular cartoon groups, it will be easier to contact these people due to LinkedIn restrictions to prevent against aggressive networking with non-group members.
Creating opportunities with social media requires an adequate process of researching and finding. That is, you need to take a step further beyond your account limit to locate your business prospects.
When you find them, the next thing is to build a quality rapport with them that’s based on value and trust rather than a pitch.
When you make your business a go-to resource for them when they needed any information, then the affinity becomes stronger.
Coming up with valuable and relevant pieces of information on a consistent basis in a community is the most effective way to build an authority that is worth every grain in your business.
If you are still not getting the expected results after these, you can add a paid advertising to the mix to spread your reach father and higher.
Over to you
What impact does social media have in your business? Have you tried any of these tactics before, what are your results? Let us hear your experience with the social media research and advertising adventures in the comment box below.