Today’s social media audience is wiser than ever. Most consumers know the difference between authenticity and an ad. They understand if a business is just trying to sell them something within the first few seconds of seeing it or actually trying to establish a relationship. Today’s customers are looking for high quality experiences and interactions with the brands they love. They want great customer service, clever and entertaining campaigns, and they don’t have a lot of time to waste. You need to be spot on if you want to catch the attention of your target audience.
Walk a Mile in Your Customer’s Shoes
If you have followed along with this series, you now have the tools to set SMART goals for your business, measure your success and find your target audience. Now comes the part most businesses think of as the start of a great strategy: understanding your target audience. When it comes to touting an impressive social media marketing strategy, the simple act of engaging the target audience requires some knowledge and nuance, which is what you will develop during this phase.
Before you reach your target audience, you must find them. Different audiences engage with the plethora of social media platforms in different ways. Younger users will generally gravitate toward SnapChat, Instagram and TikTok. Middle aged users tend toward Facebook and Instagram. Does anyone use Twitter anymore? And what about Linked In … important for B2B, but is that all? We will dive deeper into specific social media platforms next week.
For now, let’s talk about HOW your target audience uses social media
Demographics weigh in heavily in terms of where your audience is “playing” on social media. It is as if the internet has created more and more differences between consumers who may have been born just a few years apart. It’s an unfortunate phenomenon for parents and businesses alike.
Boomers (born between 1956-1963)
This generation, now mostly known as grandma and grandpa, are surprisingly savvy when it comes to tech. They not only keep in touch with family using social media platforms, but they also pursue purchases this way. They spend much less time, however, following influencers or seeking out the latest trends. After all, they were the original trendsetters! If you are targeting this population, you will need to direct them to your website, as they are more likely to purchase this way or through TV.
Gen X (born between 1964-1982) and Millennials (born between 1983-1996)
Both of these generations have remarkably similar usage across social media platforms. They are active in every way, keeping in touch with family, following the latest trends (although not quite as much as the newest generation), reading stories and following content they enjoy from family, celebrities, and athletes. They may be worried they spend too much, which makes sense since many of the people in these generations are now parents, trying to stay financially responsible while running a household. Finding a deal while scrolling may appeal to them more than others.
Gen Z (born between 1997-2003)
This generation was the first to be brought up in our modern digital age, with social media available from childhood. They are more likely to use these platforms to make new contacts, follow new stories, keep in touch with family, make purchases and catch the latest trends from an influencer, celebrity or gamer they like. They are less likely to click on an ad just for the sake of it, maybe because they have street smarts that translate into internet savvy. That said, they are comfortable making purchases directly from social media or your website.
Keep in mind that social media usage will also vary depending on their sex, job, lifestyle and more. You will need to dig deep into your target audience to see how they are using social media based on these factors as well. Put yourself in their shoes and walk around for a while. Do some detective work on your own social media page by setting up and tracking analytics. All this prep work requires so much research, we know, but believe us when we say that it makes a huge difference between a social media campaign that is a bust versus one that is a huge success!