There’s nothing worse than that awkward feeling when you start off on the wrong foot with a new acquaintance. You’re sure that you’d get along great if you could find common ground, but it can be tough to change the first impression that’s been made.
So it goes in content as well as in friendship.
Making a content error that turns away your audience feels like a huge failure (but don’t worry, major companies have done it too). However, understanding your audience before you start creating content can prevent missteps. Before you create any content, you need to identify:
- Who your audience is
- Where they’re coming from
- The problems they face daily
- How your product makes their lives easier
At Clearview Social, we know the value of deep audience research. This research allows you to hone in on the right topics and angles for your content so you can make the right first (and second and third) impression.
Sound impossible? It’s not, and by the end of this article, you’ll be ready to create ✨incredible✨ content that matches the needs of your target audience.
The ins and outs of identifying your audience
We get it: you want to appeal to as many people as possible in your marketing campaigns—but just like the many failed network sitcoms, if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one.
Instead, follow these steps to identify the best audience for your company or product.
Step 1. Define your niche
It’s critical to set your company or product apart in the crowded social media landscape. To do so, you need to define your niche. You probably already started this process when you first started your business and created your unique selling proposition (USP). When defining your niche, ask yourself:
- What drove you to create your product in the first place?
- What’s a pain point you encountered that you want to solve?
- If money was no problem, how would you be solving the problem?
Outline the problems that your product solves. Check out competitors’ social media content and look for ways that you could sell your company or product differently. Perhaps there’s a social media platform that your competitor is not on—you could start there.
Step 2. Analyze your data
The next step is to look at the data you have about your current customers. If you haven’t already, utilize reporting tools that deliver solid insight into your audience. Data points to consider can include:
- How many people follow you across your social media accounts
- Which types of posts people engage with the most
- The number of visitors to your website and blog in a day, week, month, etc.
To deepen your understanding further, you need to examine the “why” behind their decisions. It’s not just that they liked a post. It’s what they liked about the post that caused them to share it.
Understanding your audience’s why allows you to create content that meets their needs over and over again.
Step 3. Conduct surveys and focus groups
Learn your audience’s why by conducting surveys and focus groups. To get the most actionable information, build questions around the following concerns:
- What’s motivating my audience to buy my product?
- What does my audience need that this content delivers?
- What are the challenges my audience faces that I can solve for them?
- What are common pain points that my audience can relate to?
To gather this data, send out surveys to current customers and ask for their feedback. Include a link at the bottom of newsletter emails or product receipts for ongoing data to improve your content. Make surveys anonymous so your customers feel comfortable giving their honest opinion.
If you want to take the next step, consider holding a focus group. These can be done in-person or virtually depending on your industry, audience, and goals.
Since both surveys and focus groups require your audience to spend their time answering your questions, consider sweetening the deal by offering coupons, discounts, or gift cards. (Make sure any incentive passes compliance requirements for your industry, though!)
Step 4. Create user/buyer personas
Now that you’ve collected this information, it’s time to put it to use.
The best way to do that is not to just look at the numbers, but to bring the people behind them to life through fictional personas. These personas can highlight the whys behind your audience’s needs and allow you to create more authentic messaging.
To create a user/buyer persona, ask yourself questions like:
- What does your ideal client do for a living?
- What do they do on a typical day?
- Where do they do all their shopping? Online, brick-and-mortar, or both?
- How do they obtain information to make decisions?
- What is most important to them in life? Outline their values.
- What do they want to accomplish in the future?
- What’s their age, relationship status, and location?
Use these details to create a story about your audience to refer to throughout your content creation process. When you’ve completed the process, make sure you share this information with every department so everyone can connect their work to your audience’s needs.
How to choose the right content topics
You’ve done it. You know your target audience in and out.
But that’s only half the battle: now you have to actually create content. With so much already out there, figuring out where to start can be overwhelming. Here’s how to choose the right content topics for your audience and maximize your content strategy.
Ask your sales department
Your sales department knows what products or services are booming, and you need to have their backs in creating content that makes their jobs easier. Questions to ask your sales department include:
- What does the sales process look like from beginning to end?
- What are the most common concerns people have about our product/service?
- Who is the best type of client for our company? Ask them to talk about their favorite or most frequent clients.
- Which social networks are most popular among clients?
- What are the most common questions that come up in the sales process?
- What are the benchmarks of qualified leads?
Conduct regular keyword research
Learn what your audience asks on Google by conducting regular keyword research, which opens a window into what your audience is searching for online. Create content based on keywords they’re using so that your social media, blog posts, and more will rank higher on Google’s search engine.
Use social listening
To know what types of content to make, keep tabs on what people are saying online about your brand. Social listening involves monitoring mentions of your brand on online outlets so that you can join in the conversation.
An easy, free way to start social listening is to create a Google alert for your brand or variations on your brand name. Any time your brand is mentioned, an alert goes straight to your email inbox.
Monitor your competitors’ content
Last, you want to keep an eye on your competitors’ content. While you should avoid outright mimicking your competitors’ content, knowing what they’re doing provides useful information for your own strategy.
When they have a video that goes viral, take notes on what they did so you can learn from them. Use metrics to keep tabs on what your competitor does better than you and the types of content they’re creating to target your shared audience. This helps you adapt your strategy as necessary.
Hone in on your target audience with help from Clearview Social
The social media experts at Clearview Social created robust tools to ensure you make the most of your content marketing strategy. Master your target audience with:
- Robust reporting and analytics: a customizable dashboard that provides visibility into what content works best for your socials.
- PeakTime™ AI: our all-knowing algorithm posts for you when the majority of your target audience is online, so every post receives maximum views.
- Article queue builder: plan out posts in advance in the queue to stay on top of your content strategy.
Take the anxiety out of your social media strategy and Get A Free Demo with Clearview Social today.
In case you missed it: Part 1