Do You Really Know Your Audience?

The sophisticated social marketing tools at our fingertips today bring the ability to see new patterns and trends in ever-larger online audiences. This allows the targeting of very specific audiences at mass scale.

This data-focused approach is, of course, essential.  That said, taking a closer look at the individuals that make up your brand’s community can yield great insights. Smart digital marketers use a combination of tools and research into real people to get an authentic view into the digital lives of their audience. Exploring social content with a qualitative human eye, mind, and soul will give you insights into the people that are sharing their lives on social networks. This approach is an enlightening augmentation to data-driven research.

We recently launched Spredfast Intelligence, a smart social solution that enables marketers to inform their social strategies with access to historical, real-time, and predictive social data. The “People” view provides an instant snapshot of any audience and surfaces active and influential members.

Here are three simple ways you can dive deeper into publicly available information about your community to get a clearer view of their passions and perspectives:

1. Spend a day in the life of your fans

Who actually likes and follows your brand? Take a closer look to get a real sense of who your audience is. Look at individual profiles, posts, and connections; explore and investigate! 

Spend a day in the life of your brand’s fans and ask yourself how you might fit in.  You can randomly select a few follower accounts or surface influential community members with a tool like Intelligence. 

For each selected account, ask these questions:

  • How often is a fan posting and sharing?
  • What are the other topics are they talking about? Start a list and jot down any interesting notes about this content.
  • How would you respond if you were having a conversation with this person? Don’t think of it as a marketing opportunity, think of it as a conversation.
  • Does this person fit in with personas or segments currently being used in outbound communications? 

2. Explore the accounts fans are connected to

Don’t just look at the people who have liked or followed your brand—explore which other brand, media, influencer, and individual accounts they follow. This gives a good perspective of the related interests and news that these fans are getting exposed to in their own social streams.

I personally started thinking more about this technique after reading some of the studies on the friendship paradox in social media. This theory explains how any random person within a social network is usually connected to others who are more popular and connected than the person selected. Apply this phenomenon to your personalized research by asking yourself, “who are the influencers that my brand fans may be connected to?”

3. Search for similar conversations

A third approach is to take some of the terms and topics from the first activity and search for who else is having conversations around those topics. For example, if a number of fans like tacos, do a search for other taco lovers:

This approach will give a deeper dive into your fans passions and interests. Maybe they are not creating a lot of content to showcase these interests but they still consume content from their influencers and groups. Understanding these passions may inspire new voices or content angles to use with an audience. 

I’m not advocating that these techniques should become a primary method of researching your fans and audiences, but I think you’ll find that you learn something when you lean in and explore people. There are plenty of  tools and technology that allow us to do this but taking a “native” approach puts a user focused lens on the process too.

Which techniques are you using when personalizing the way you research and understand your audiences and fans?'s picture

Corey Pudhorodsky