Back to School Series: Social Studies

The social channels available to us today allow a tweet to go around the world in a nanosecond and have Facebook posts reach millions. But what good are those social channels if the message is being diluted through the crowds and not reaching the right audience? That's where Social Studies come in. In our previous lessons, we've covered: social listening, organization and governance, orchestration, metrics, and social content. Now that we have the fundamentals for how to construct effective content, we need to determine the who. Let's help construct a portrait of your target audience and find the best avenues to reach them with three core questions.


socialstudies-graphicWho is our target audience?

Start with demographics. Boil down your target audience to the right age range, location, and perhaps factor in gender. Also cross reference your aspired target audience with the metrics available to you. Help determine if the messages you've been publishing are registering with who you view your most valuable customers to be, or if they've been skewing towards a new audience. Identify the critical masses. Understanding the composition of the audience majority can help create messages that connect most broadly. Ask questions to help narrow down who, precisely, your customer is. Male or female? Young? Middle aged? Older? Single? Married? With kids? Is there a professional cohort that's most engaged?

Explore your consumer landscape until the perfect portrait of your customer can be established.


How can we best reach our target audience?

You want your customers to feel a personal touch with your posts, and casting such a wide net with content doesn't drive engagement. It's okay to occasionally create general social content (such as company announcements or cultural touchpoints) for your channels, but with Facebook's inclusion of dark posts and Enhanced Page Post Targeting, testing messages with specific niche audiences is just a few clicks away. Use the technology available to laser point who your brand should speak to.


How can we optimize messaging?

You've established your target audience and put out some posts that speak to trends and content that resonate highly with your core group of consumers. Awesome! You're almost done, but it's time to do some work on the backend. Gather some research on if your audience assumptions held true. By fleshing out insights and metrics, your brand can learn what activity scores as most compelling, and bring more of that content to your channels moving forward. Some great social markers for audience engagement are:

  • views
  • clicks
  • shares
  • likes
  • comments

By measuring target audience interaction and optimizing that content, you can bump up your earned impressions and, of course, continue wowing your core consumers.


Social studies is an exercise that can continually be revisited with savvy brands. By asking these three questions going forward, your brand can surprise and delight your largest brand advocates on the social channels that speak to them.

Thanks for tuning in to this week's lesson. If you're feeling like you want a course refresher, view past lessons here. Hoping to earn some extra credit this semester? Download the Social Business Textbook and jumpstart your social literacy. See you next Tuesday!'s picture

Caitlin Greenwood

Caitlin Greenwood is the Community Manager at Spredfast. With a background and passion for journalism and creative writing, Caitlin fosters engagement and builds meaningful relationships across the Spredfast social communities. Follow her on @mcgreenw for all things pop culture, social media, and snapshots of her corgi Marfa.