“You have to have a Facebook Page”, “You need a Twitter account”, “Are you on Snapchat yet?” And while there is some truth to the notion – people are spending more and more time on social overall – it’s important to assess the relevancy to your business, you target audience and your local market.
To help, here’s a listing of some of the major social networks, their overall audience size and their Australian user base figures.
Such insights are always interesting – it’s helpful to know which platforms are most popular. But then, of course, this is all relative. If your target market is people under 25, then Snapchat’s likely to be a higher priority than LinkedIn. But then again, if your audience is young professionals under 25, LinkedIn would be the best option.
This is why you can’t take sweeping statements like “you should be on X platform” at face value. The only way to truly know and understand where your brand needs to be is by spending time researching.
Most best practice advice will suggest that you should come up with a target persona - but that’s not always effective. The problem with coming up with a target persona is you’re basing that on your assumptions, not on actual data, so your process is already being skewed by your inherent bias.
Start out with a blank slate, with no pre-conceived notions of who your target audience is and where they hang out. Now take your businesses main keywords and use a keyword suggestion tool like keywordtool.io, SEMRush or Google’s own suggest options to find related terms.
Through this you’ll be able to establish a list of relevant terms that people use to find your products and/or services. You can then use that listing in Hashtagify to find relevant hashtags that people also use around your niche.
Once you have a refined list of focus terms and hashtags, you can take your search to each platform – using those terms on Twitter will help you work out how they’re being used and who’s using them in your region.
You can enter them into BuzzSumo to see the most shared blog posts, and who’s sharing them – again, narrowed down to your region. You can use MentionMapp to track down what other terms people interested in your focus topic also discuss and who they interact with.
The search options, and the capacity with which you can use your key terms to find relevant conversations, mentions and influencers are immense – so much so that it almost makes no sense to go with your gut or assumptions. You might think that all your target audience are mid-30’s housewives, but through research you could find a whole new market you didn’t know existed.
The capacity to be able to narrow down your audience this way is only limited by your time – the resources to do so are readily available, and mostly free. By using the actual data, based on actual user behaviours, you can get a real idea of where your audience is engaging, what they’re engaging with and what they’re looking for.
And through this process, you’ll also be able to get a better handle on social media data and what it might be able to do for your business.
Don’t just jump blindly onto the next shiny platform or app, conduct your own audience research and go where it matters to your audience.