Or, How My Husband Started A Boat.
There is this lake house and there is this boat. And this boat has been on my husband's mind for quite some time. This lake house isn't ours and this boat isn't ours. But, this boat has been on my husband's mind for quite some time.
And the other morning, while we were on vacation, he tried to start it up. Tried to figure out why it wasn't working. Tried to figure out if it was the battery, the starter, the motor, or the user. He researched, he fiddled, he tried to start it again.
After he felt he had exhausted all other avenues, he finally got the boat to start.
I find that connecting to your target audience can sometimes be like this stubborn little boat that won't spark. In some cases, it may take several tries to really cultivate the brand's niche and use that to connect to their target market. One way to cut your fiddling in half is to identify your target audience quickly by tracking their online engagement on your social platforms. But how do you do this effectively? How do you do this without feeling like you're taking a shot in the dark? How do you turn your content creation into target practice? Below you'll find five of my favorite ways to figure out how to make an impact and connect with your target audience:
1) Ask Questions
Asking targeted and specific questions in your social posts can help you find out what your target market likes, follows, shares. Twitter has a polling feature now that you can use to help you really hone your content and brand - though the responses to these have been mixed, I have found that Buffer and Social Quant have recently joined those that are figuring out new ways to experiment with them.
2) Study Your Audience Trends
Is your audience sharing your videos? Is your audience commenting on your blog post? Is your audience engaging with memes or GIFs? Follow your audience's groups and start noticing what they post/share/re-share. Take advantage of being "in the know" with your target market and use this information to help you curate and create quality content for them. There is a great feature on Facebook that you can use to search a demographic and find out what other interests they have.
3) Use Quotes
Find quotes that help reflect your brand story but also give your brand and business that personal edge. Using imagery and quotes (like Canva or Pablo for Buffer) can help you figure out if your audience is interested, engaged, and committed to sharing your brand story and becoming your brand advocate. You'll know (pretty quickly) more about your target audience based on which graphics that get the most attention.
4) Test Your Content
I like to gauge what the audience is connecting with by writing a really great blog post for my clients, sharing that to their social, and tracking the engagement they get out of it. If the post does well organically, I will boost these posts to get an even wider net. This helps me identify what topics their audience likes or doesn't like - and then I'll tailor my marketing to those themes.
5) Be Specific
Making sure that you are being specific and niche with your content, your marketing strategy, and the way you deliver both will help you get the most valuable insight. I often hear businesses (especially small, mom-and-pop shops) tell me that they are worried to niche themselves too much. They're afraid that they'll 'miss out' on selling to everyone else, or they're afraid it'll look like they're ignoring other demographics. They're afraid to lose business if they niche themselves down. I have found, time and again, that being able to get really specific with your brand and your story only helps your business in the long-run.
Treating your content creation like target practice means that connecting to your target audience gets easier and easier the more you do it. Just like my husband found with the boat - the more you tinker and the more honed in that tinkering gets, the likelier you are to get the results you want. Show the world that no-one knows your business like you do and that you can connect to your audience like only you can do with a content strategy that works.
The biggest joy I get out of doing what I do is being able to get to really know each business and what makes them unique - and use their story and their brand to showcase their capabilities to world wide interwebs.
Meg is the owner of Oh Hello Digital and, when she's not writing for her clients, she'll take time to share her digital marketing insights and advice here. Want to connect with her? 👇