How to find the right audience for your social media marketing spend

Paid social media advertising is one of the quickest and most effective ways of reaching your target audience. At a time like Christmas, you want to reach your customers where they are most comfortable, so targeting them on their favourite social media platform is an obvious way to get their attention.

The good news is that, if you do your homework properly, your social media marketing spend can actually go a whole lot further than you might think.

Everything starts with a clear definition of your target audience

Currently, the way paid social works is that you tell the platform that you would like your post put in front of people who meet a specific set of criteria and the platform finds them for you.

This means that the most cost-effective way to proceed is to define your audience, then work out which platform(s) they are most likely to use and create a campaign.

Check demographics

The main social media platforms release data about their audience that can be invaluable to the social media marketer. If you’re not 100% sure where your target audience is already hanging out, check these demographic details to give you a place to start.

So, if you want to reach under 25s, you may find yourself looking at Snapchat, compared to Facebook for those in their 40s. If you want to reach women, look at Pinterest, whose users are overwhelmingly female.

Find potential customers by surveying real ones

If you’re trying to expand on an existing market, then one of the easiest ways to identify where you might find potential customers is to survey your current ones on how and where they spend their time online.

You may need to provide an incentive for them to complete your survey, but the incentive doesn’t necessarily have to be a big one, it just has to be proportionate to the length of time a person has to spend to complete the survey. Entry into a prize draw or a discount off their next purchase is usually sufficient.

Be prepared to think outside the mainstream boxes

Bigger isn’t always better, because knowing your niche brilliantly well is usually far more effective than trying to know a little about everything. What this means in practice is that you’re probably going to get more value from reaching out to a site or influencer with a relatively small but highly engaged audience than you are from reaching out to a site or influencer with a large following but relatively low engagement.

For example, while Facebook is still indisputably one of the biggest players in the world of social media, it doesn’t really have a passionate fanbase, which means that you risk spending your money on adverts a user will barely notice as they skim through their feed. A micro-influencer on Instagram, by contrast, may have a much smaller following, but that following might be super-engaged and hence much more likely to pay attention to what they have to say if you pay them to promote your products.

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