Identifying your target audience can be tricky business.
As a business owner, if you don’t have your target audience locked down, you risk wasting valuable time and resources marketing ineffectively to people who might not benefit from your product or service.
A common mistake that entrepreneurs make is trying to be everything to everyone.
In other words, they avoid the daunting task of determining a specific target audience all together.
Unfortunately, avoidance isn’t a great strategy when it comes to building a business.
“Everyone” is not your target market.
You can’t be everything to everyone. If you try, you risk diluting your message until your brand becomes irrelevant.
If you are having trouble determining your target audience, you can turn to social media for help.
Here are just a few ways you can identify your target market using social media…
Check out your competition
Social media makes it easy for you to see what others in your industry are up to online.
That’s right, I’m telling you to stalk your competitors – but… not in a creepy way.
Think More along the lines of “market research,” as opposed to plotting against someone.
Check out your competition’s social media profiles and learn what you can about what works for them and what doesn’t.
Once you get a handle on what they are doing on social media, make the choice to do something different.
Do not fall into the trap of trying to be someone else, or something you’re not. Use what you discover about your competition to differentiate yourself and your business.
Are you and your competitors all trying to approach the same target audience? Perhaps the market is saturated? Perhaps that fact has been limiting your business success and you should redefine your target audience?
Is there a sliver of the audience pie that is going neglected or under-served? Could you target that market instead?
Even if that new market is smaller than the one everyone else is going after, it might prove to be more profitable for you because there is less competition there.
Eavesdrop on conversations
The comments posted on social media business pages and blogs are goldmines for information.
What sort of comments and questions keep popping up? Where do people seem lost, confused, upset, Frustrated, or wanting more? What’s badly missing from the landscape?
Identify what problems your business can solve. How do your company’s solutions line up with the problems you’re seeing expressed on social media? Figure out who has these problems and why. These are the people that you might consider a part of your target audience.
Reach out to your existing network
If you already have an existing social media presence – even if it’s just a personal presence and not a professional one – reach out to your connections and ask them for input.
Ask them questions, get their opinions, and gage their reactions to ideas you put out.
You can start reaching out to those you think are in your target market. You can start engaging with others who you didn’t initially think were in your target audience but now you think you might have found a new niche. You can communicate with past clients and decide from there which of them you liked working with best and see what you can do to reach more like them.
Also, you can engage with business people who are not in competition with you, but who are also targeting the same or a similar audience. For instance, a nutritionist and a fitness center might target the same audience, but they are not in competition with one another. In fact, building a solid relationship on social media could prove to be mutually beneficial, as they could share content, cross-promote, and give each other credibility.