Norman Arvidsson
June 2, 2016

How to Research Your Target Audience Before Starting your SMM Campaign

You’re ready to dive into social media marketing, but before you create your first tweet, Facebook update or post to YouTube, you need to figure out who you’ll be talking to. Randomly posting things to social media is certainly a strategy, it’s just not a good one.

Quality over quantity is going to boost your engagement. This means talking directly to the right audience, and being able to relate to them.

So how do you find out who your audience is? What are the things you should be looking for? Here’s some of the research you should be doing in order nail down your target audience and create content they’ll enjoy.

Identify Ideal Customers

The first thing you’ll want to do is look offline for some answers. Look at your businesses and determine what type of customer is ideal. This is your wish list. You may need to adjust it as you go along, but the first step is just writing down who it is you’d like to attract.

At this point, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who do I want to buy my product/service? If you’re a bicycle shop, this should be fairly easy: cyclists.
  • Does this group have a subset? For example, maybe cyclists are your first category, but it can be broken down into two groups: road cyclists, and mountain bikers.


You’ll also want to make sure that this aligns with your business goals. It may seem obvious that a bicycle shop should target cyclists, but if one of the business goals is to attract a new audience to cycling, they should also be identifying those individuals as well.

You can also reverse your own customer journey to find your ideal customers.

Use Keyword Research

If you already have a website, this is a great tool to be able to tell you how people are finding your business, and who these people are.

This isn’t a how-to article for keyword research, but if you’re not sure how to find the keywords that are leading to site traffic, this article on using google analytics to find your top keywords will point you in the right direction.

Keywords will really begin to show you what level of people is attracted to your business. For example, your keywords may show you that cyclists are coming to you for beginner information. Or perhaps it’s race information. Use this data to determine who your current online audience is, and you’ll be able to leverage them to grow your social media strategy.

Create a Customer Profile

Once you have an outline of who you’d like, and who is actually visiting you, you can start to create a customer profile. This is where an existing social media platform can be really helpful. If you don’t have one, that’s ok, just use the competition to help you out.

Here are a few sources where you can help gather the patterns needed to fill out the customer profile:

  • The Competition’s social media feeds
  • YouTube videos on your topic (both user submitted videos, and the comments).
  • Local club and group pages
  • Forums related to your topic

As you dig through the information, you’ll be able to identify patterns in client behavior that will start the basis for creating the customer profile personality.

It’s best to think about a customer profile as a real person and create several personas to make it more relatable.

For example, Jill is a hard working single female who spends 3 or 4 nights a week cycling. She’s not an elite level competitor, but enjoys the hobby and will enter the occasional race for fun. She buys a new bike every few years and maintains it meticulously.

Randy is married but hasn’t started a family yet. He’s a highly competitive mountain biker. He goes downhill racing at least once a week, and will enter every possible competition he can. He buys at least one bike a year and visits the bike shop at least once a week for parts and service.

These types of customer profiles are fictional but really help bring the personas to life. It will allow you to speak to them in a language they understand. Your customers, although they’re not all identical to Jill and Randy, will be able to relate to the things you’re saying to them.

Where Does Your Audience Spend Time?

unique-2Now that you’ve nailed down who you’re talking to, it’s time to figure out where they’re hanging out. Here’s a social media cheat sheet to help you out.

Most companies starting out try to tackle too much. They’ll sign up for 8 social platforms and try to do them all well. This can be a big mistake. Some platforms are just too small to offer a real return on your content marketing strategy.

Does your audience really use Tumblr? Sure, there may be a few people there, but it takes just as much effort to create content for Facebook as it does Tumblr.  If 90% of your audience is on Facebook and only 2% on Tumblr, you’re using a lot of resources for relatively few people.

Don’t spend resources on smaller platforms for fear of missing a customer. Just like you can’t advertise on all the radio and TV stations, you focus the money and try to spend it as wisely as possible.

Facebook Is Big

There are very few examples where I would say Facebook is not a good idea. It’s easily the biggest platform where the majority of customers for any business are hanging out.

Facebook isn’t just big, it’s also very diverse. It’s not just young people, or old people, or male, or female – it’s almost 1.5 billion people from every walk of life.

This is what makes it such a great platform. Chances are you’ll be able to reach a large portion of your audience on Facebook.

Once you identify your audience, now that hard work begins. You’re ready to jump into social media, just make sure you’re creating relevant content. Here are some tools to help you out.


Image attribution: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo


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Norman Arvidsson

writer, blogger at self employed
Norman Arvidsson is a passionate writer who was born in Sweden but then moved to the United States with his family. Now his goal is to share his experience with others through blogging. Familiar with such areas as web dev and design, marketing, freelancing, startups, small business, self-development, and eLearning. Considers personal growth as the main goal in his life.