Reaching Your Target Market Through Social Media

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The uprising of various social media sites over the past few years has altered the online marketing strategy plans and budgets of many companies.

The Art of Social Media

It hasn’t been a good change for traditional media, as many companies have shifted their marketing focus to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Myspace, digg, Stumbleupon, Ning, and other social networks.
For expansion stage software companies, that shift has been important. Those mediums are cheaper, their reach is greater, and you can get users to do a large chunk of your work for you by urging them to start talking about your product on social media before it’s even in the market.

But social media is still an untamed channel for a lot of marketing managers. Some don’t have a true grasp of the type of customer that tends to visit each social network, while others misunderstand some of social media’s many nuances.

So, before you launch a Facebook page or start a Twitter discussion, make sure to be strategic. Do your research in advance as this will allow you to learn a little bit more about your customers on each of the social media sites.

Here are a few key statistics to get you started:

  • Twitter and Facebook users don’t have large gender skews. Myspace, on the other hand, has the greatest gender divide. Myspace is female heavy with 64% female users and only 36% male.
  • In terms of income, Twitter has the largest division of wealthy users: 27% of Twitter users earn $75k or more. Facebook is slightly lower at 23%. In contrast, 63% of Myspace users earn $50k or less.
  • As for age, 37% of Facebook users are 45 years or older, so Facebook has the highest division of older users. By comparison, Twitter (28%) and Myspace (24%) have populations 45-or-older.
  • Twitter has the highest proportion of users with a secondary education: 37% possess at least a bachelors’ degree.

These general demographics give you a basic idea of the users you might be targeting with your social media marketing. If you’d like to do a deeper analysis, KISSmetrics presents some very insightful graphs and charts of social network demographics, while CNET high-tech blogger Dave Rosenberg offers up a few more stats to keep an eye on.

It’s important for companies and management teams to work with these numbers in mind, so they can create a good profile of their target customer.

For example, according to the numbers I listed above, if your product is geared toward older people, Facebook might be a better option for you. However, if your target audience is graphic designers, you might want to broaden your social media advertising to websites like StumbleUpon and Twitter.

Quite simply, if you remember to keep your target audience in mind when using social media marketing, you’ll have a much greater impact and see far better results from your campaigns.

What’s Your Affinity Score?

One other important social media marketing component that expansion stage marketers should understand and use is the affinity score.

If you haven’t heard of it before, the affinity score estimates how many more times you are likely to reach an audience who visits a specific site or searches for specific keywords versus an audience on the internet overall.

It ranks Twitter and Facebook users by their affinity toward keywords and gives you insight into better targeted social advertising and your product’s social performance. It is built using metrics that range from clicks on Facebook “like” buttons to posts on Twitter. By analyzing the natural language of the millions of status updates every day, the system identifies customer attitude, objective, and action.

For instance, an affinity of:

  • 0 means no awareness
  • 1-33 means some recall
  • 33-66 means good awareness
  • 66-99 means a strong purchase intent
  • 100 means purchased/converted

As it relates to Facebook, affinity score is a key component of the social network’s EdgeRank algorithm, which determines the status or news updates its users see first on their home news feed. That’s important to marketers, of course, because if your fans have a low affinity score, then your updates may not show up in their news feed at all.

TechCrunch does a good job of defining Facebook’s EdgeRank in greater detail, while Peter Leech explains why it’s important to marketers using Facebook as a social marketing tool.

So, before you get too deep into your social media marketing campaign, do some research around your customer demographics and their social media use and look into their affinity scores. Understanding these two things will give you a much-needed leg up in the social world.

  • Faria: Thanks for another great article. Interesting especially to note the “older” age demographic on Facebook. My own anecdotal evidence, as I’m in that group, would support that, though I thought it was more of a tech anomaly (i.e. because we’re in tech we use Facebook, even though we are older), this means it’s more universal.