Yes, developing a social media marketing plan can be overwhelming. Part of the difficulty is trying to figure out where your target audience hangs out online. But take a deep breath. With a little ingenuity and hard work, you can find them.
Yes, your small business may be new to social media, but you know your clientele, and you’ve likely created a target customer profile based on your past sales experience. The next step is to simply use that data to help you decide which social media platform(s) will work best for your small business.
Here are some tips that can help you pinpoint your target audience, along with some demographic information for some of the top social media platforms. Once you find your target audience, social media can be a powerful tool in leading customers to your site and ultimately converting them into buyers.
How Social Media Can Increase Your Reach
Your brand shouldn’t be all things to all people; you need it to be one thing to your target audience—something that helps convince them that they can’t live without your products or services. So how do you earn followers who will eventually turn into customers? Through engagement and being able to identify with them.
Yes, engagement is crucial for any business, but particularly for a small business, which may not have the resources and unlimited marketing budget to promote its products and services. Social media is the great equalizer. Not only can it provide a huge return on investment, but it can do a lot of the legwork for you. And you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your office!
But first, you need to have a firm grasp of your target audience.
- Who is your ideal buyer?
- What’s their age range?
- Are they male, female, or both?
- What’s their income level?
- What’s their education level?
- What’s their education level?
You can also look at more personal characteristics, such as values and interests/hobbies, to help narrow things down.
After all, the more you narrow down your target audience, the easier it is for you to compete with larger businesses. Why? Because you have the advantage of being able to focus on this smaller demographic and engage with them. That said, the more you narrow things down, the more difficult it becomes to find your target audience on social media, so prepare to do some digging.
Reviewing Your Target Audience and That of Your Competition
Before we get into each of the social media platforms and their demographics, you should take some time to make sure you know everything about your target audience. Why do they buy from you? What characteristics and interests do they have in common?
Also, take a look at your competition. Who are their current customers? And who are they targeting? You don’t have to target the same audience; in fact, you may actually have your own niche you’d like to target.
If you’re already on social media, you can utilize analytics tools to provide information on those who follow you, based on such demographics as gender, age, and location. This data will go a long way in helping you to identify your ideal audience. Here’s a rundown of the demographics of some of the top social media platforms (most of the statistics are from PewResearch).
Even if you are a social media novice, you surely know that Facebook is the leader of the pack when it comes to social networking sites (more than 2 billion daily active users). Here are some key statistics (all of which are the highest demographic, unless otherwise noted):
- 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds use Facebook (but also 84% of 30- to 49-year-olds)
- 83% of adult women use Facebook
- 12% of users are from the United States (India is second at 10%)
- In the United States, 81% of adults living in both urban and rural areas use Facebook
- 79% of college graduates and 77% who have a high school diploma or less use Facebook
- 84% of adults who make less than $30,000 and 75% who make more than $75,000 use Facebook
As you can see, most people in the United States use Facebook, so to maximize engagement, you will need to rely on the demographic data you gather and use Facebook analytics tools to segment your audience further.
For many business customers, Twitter is becoming more and more popular as a means to connect with customer service agents. Although Twitter has well more than 200 million active users, 79% of accounts are located outside the United States, so it may not be your first choice if you’re a small business, particularly if you want to utilize geo-targeting as a means to deliver content. In addition, Twitter can be a bit oversaturated, and your tweets may get lost in the shuffle. Here are some additional key statistics:
- 36% of 18- to 29-year-olds use Twitter
- 25% of online women and 24% of online men use Twitter
- 26% of adults in urban areas use Twitter, but that’s only 2% more than those in rural areas
- 29% of college graduates use Twitter
- 30% of adults who make more than $75,000 use Twitter
LinkedIn is the largest social media network for professionals. The majority of users are in the United States and are college graduates. Here are some additional key statistics:
- Like Facebook and Twitter, 18- to 29-year-olds make up the highest demographic (34%); however, 30- to 49-year-olds are right behind at 33%.
- 31% of online men use LinkedIn
- 45% of adults who make more than $75,000 use LinkedIn
- Only 12% of adults who have a high school diploma or less use LinkedIn
- 34% of adults in urban areas (vs. 18% in rural areas) use LinkedIn
Instagram, the image and video-sharing app, now has more than 700 million active users, 100 million of which joined since the end of 2016. Here are some additional key statistics:
- The majority of Instagram users (59%) are 18- to 29-year-olds
- 38% of online women use Instagram (vs. 28% of online men)
- 39% of adults living in urban areas use Instagram
- 37% of adults with some college use Instagram, edging out college graduates (33%)
- 38% of adults who make less than $30,000 use Instagram
If your small business can benefit by showcasing its products or services visually, Instagram has a multi-image option that allows you to share several images at one time.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is image-driven, and the majority of users (45% of those online) are women. Here are some additional key statistics:
- 36% of 18- to 29-year-olds use Pinterest (but also 34% of 30- to 49-year-olds)
- 34% of adults in suburban areas use Pinterest
- 34% of college graduates/those with some college use Pinterest
- 35% of adults making more than $75,000 use Pinterest
There’s a common misconception that only women are on Pinterest and users only pin photos of weddings and food. The reality is that the visitors you get from Pinterest are more likely to turn into leads or sales than any other social media platform. In fact, it’s three times more effective than Twitter.
Social media is an invaluable resource that can help increase brand awareness for your small business and connect you with your target audience. Finding them on each social platform takes some time and research, but there are many tools that can help make it easier.