It was announced this week that Facebook, the social media powerhouse, has surpassed the two billion-user mark.
In just five years, Facebook has doubled the number of active users who interact with their site, making them the most used social media channel. In fact, the new user number represents more than a quarter of the world’s 7.5 billion population! Wowzer!
So, what does that mean for marketers or small business owners who are trying to get their message out to the masses? Well, for starters, it does NOT mean that you now have a two-billion-person target audience.
Identifying that your target audience is active on Facebook doesn’t mean that communicating to all two billion of them will produce the kind of results you’re hoping for, if any at all. Instead, you should be trying to find out exactly how your target audience is using the social media platform and craft your messages accordingly.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “How can I find my target audience in Facebook's 2 Billion users?” after this latest announcement, we’ve got you covered.
Ok. How Can I Find My Target Audience?
This weekend, I was at an event where a gentleman asked me, “I run a non-profit for high school-aged teens. How do I communicate to them? They aren’t on Facebook.”
I proceeded to ask him who his target audience is. He replied, “The high-school teens.” I asked if they were the ultimate decision makers, to which he replied, “Oh, no. Their parents are.” In the short amount of time that we spoke, we were able to identify that it’s not the teens he should be communicating to, but the parents. Whether the teens are active on Facebook is irrelevant.
In the end, we determined that his goal should be to convince the parents that his non-profit is the best decision for their children. I assured him that the teens were likely not going to go to their parents and beg to be part of this non-profit, no matter how much fun it sounded.
This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to marketing. If you’re marketing to the wrong audience, your message will be 100% lost on them. Even worse, your bottom line will go nowhere. So, how do you identify your target audience? Research and create audience personas.
The High-Level Approach
Do you have a current client list? If so, spend a few hours reaching out to each of them and asking a few simple questions:
- What is your role within your company or family (depending on your product/service)?
- How did you hear about us?
- What was the problem or challenge that prompted your search for a solution?
- What was your first step when seeking a solution?
- What characteristics or features about my product or service were appealing to you?
- What encouraged you to make the final decision to become a client?
These questions will give you great insight into who your target audience is and how they search for the solution you provide. For example, let’s say your clients all answer these questions similarly.
Client: Sue T.
- What is your role within your company or family? Mother/lead decision maker
- How did you hear about us? A friend/co-worker shared a piece of your content.
- What was the problem or challenge that prompted a search for a solution? I needed a simpler way to do x.
- What was your first step when seeking a solution? Doing an online search.
- What characteristics or features about my product or service were appealing to you? Your blog was very informative, which made me feel like you were trustworthy and knew a lot about the industry.
- What encouraged you to make the final decision to become a client? My friend/co-worker’s relationship with your company and my own research.
Using the Answers to Craft Your Audience
With these answers, you are now able to build a very detailed social and content marketing strategy that will help you to reach more people like Sue.
- Mother/Lead decision maker—This tells you that you should be focused on the higher ups in the family or organization. Focusing your energy on anyone other than this will be wasted. Find where this decision maker spends their time on social media, and share your message in that space.
- A friend/co-worker shared a piece of your content—If people are sharing your content, that means it’s resonating with them. Try to find the content that has the most engagement and write similar pieces (in value and voice) that others might find equally interesting and shareworthy.
- I needed a simpler way to do x—If people are looking for an easier way to do something specific, you need to write content that speaks to why having an easier way to do that specific something is achieved by the solution your product/service can provide. But, be careful. You don’t want this to be a sales pitch. It should make them think, Hmm, they are right. It sounds like their product/service does that. Let me check it out. Consumers aren’t ignorant. They can connect the dots. No need to throw it in their face as a spam-type article can be easily detected as sales and dismissed.
- Doing an online search —If your target audience doesn’t have a friend who shared a piece of your content, they are likely taking to the “interwebs” to search for a solution to their challenge. In their search, they are likely using specific keywords to help get them to their end destination. Your job is to identify those keywords and write content that speaks to that topic in a valuable and informative way. Writing specifically about your solution is not needed. The goal is to attract a consumer with content about a keyword they are researching, then guide them to your website with links within the content to help them continue their research.
- Your blog was very informative, which made me feel like you were trustworthy a knew a lot about the industry—A blog is a very useful thing when done right. When people feel like the topics you write about are informative and provide them value, they repay you by sharing, navigating through your website for more content, or investing in your product or service! Make this a priority when creating your content marketing strategy.
- My friend/co-worker’s relationship with your company, and my own research—The result of all your hard work should be a lead or a customer, but if you don’t put in the work upfront, you won’t see the reward.
Facebook & Beyond
Facebook is constantly seeking new and exciting ways to engage with its audience. (Did you see what they did for Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary? No? Check it out, here.)
That said, be sure to stay on top of any new features Facebook might release.
In the instance of their Harry Potter feature – if your target audience can be found with their noses in those magical novels, then hop on the train! Post a message about something Harry Potter-related and show them how the feature works! They will certainly take notice of your brand since they see you too like that cool wizardry stuff.
This was most certainly a long-winded way to answer your question of “How can I find my target audience,” but it’s not an easy question, after all.
Facebook’s latest announcement is simply that—an announcement. It shouldn’t be used as encouragement for you to try to reach all the people. If anything, you should use this announcement to fuel your content marketing strategy to be even more relevant and more detailed so that those who are on Facebook can easily find your product/service and engage with it often.