Content Marketing

How to Find Your Target Customers on Social Media

by | Apr 2, 2020

Social media isn’t going away. LinkedIn and Facebook are both full of valuable customer data, so it behooves businesses like yours to find customers on social media platforms.

3.48 billion people now use social media, up 9% year-over-year. Traditional forms of media are stagnating or declining, with many Americans cutting the cord on their cable subscriptions and consuming more content online.

The most successful marketers of 2019 and beyond will be those who embrace these trends and become social media savants. This guide will show you some best practices to help you succeed in these new but growing environments.

The most successful marketers of 2019 and beyond will be those who embrace these trends and become social media savants. Check our guide for some best practices! Click To Tweet

Know Your Platform

The average American internet user has 7.1 social media accounts. They log in to each social media platform with the intention of getting a certain experience. If your message doesn’t jive with the spirit of the platform, your message will not fully resonate with your audience. Worst case scenario, you will appear out-of-touch to the very people you hope to engage with.

LinkedIn is the social media platform for professionals. Your best chance at a viral post is to produce unique and thought-provoking content that LinkedIn users will rush to give their own input and share with their connections.

Facebook users are focused on building personal relationships with friends and family. Therefore, your business must create top-notch content that encourages thoughtful comments and shares.

On Instagram, people want to be dazzled by beautiful imagery. If you want Instagram users to be receptive to your posts and stories, your message needs to be presented in an aesthetically-pleasing visual form.

Increase Organic Reach

Although we will talk about paid options to promote your business, you can reach a lot of social media users for free with the right strategies.

A robust company page should be one of the first things you build on your social media business account. Some users will search for your business after becoming familiar with it from other avenues. You want them to see a professional looking page that conveys your value proposition and mission.

Hashtags are an excellent (and free) way to increase the chances of users finding your content. Though branded hashtags will only be searched by users that have a prior familiarity with your business, relevant industry hashtags help you attract new leads and customers. The key is to use hashtags that are most relevant to your content and also has adequate search volume. A nice bonus if your relevant hashtags are currently trending up.

Advertising

The foremost benefit to advertising on social media platforms is the seemingly endless data that these platforms possess about their users, especially Facebook (privacy concerns notwithstanding)

LinkedIn is a B2B marketer’s dream with wide-ranging information on its users’ professional characteristics.

Marketers can comb through seemingly endless demographics data on Facebook users to create custom audiences for their campaigns, and Instagram also has similar capabilities.

In fact, there is so much data on users that it can be tough to determine precisely what types of users to target with your campaign. This is where extensive experimentation comes into play. You must be a keen observer of performance and tweak your targeting until you maximize results.

How to Generate Leads on LinkedIn

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that LinkedIn is rated the top social network for lead generation, particularly for B2B.

While other social media platforms are largely made up of people searching for mindless entertainment, LinkedIn’s user base consists mostly of serious professionals and business owners. You may need to tweak your marketing strategy to succeed with B2B lead generation specifically on LinkedIn, but opportunity abounds.

Company Page

linkedin company page

Your LinkedIn company page will double as a place to nurture prospects through the buyer’s journey and attract top talent to work for you.

This guide is focused on the former but keep the latter in mind when crafting your page.

Your “About Us” section is a paragraph of up to 2,000 characters that should inform visitors about your company’s value proposition and mission.

Once you have your page up and running, you need to post frequently.

Companies that post weekly see a doubling in engagement with their content. The LinkedIn’s user base is comprised of discerning professionals. Therefore, unique and thought-provoking content will play best with most LinkedIn users.

Employee Advocacy

Organic reach is becoming more difficult to generate in increasingly competitive social media environments. Still, when your company is able to reach potential customers, establishing trust is yet another roadblock it must overcome.

Employee advocacy is an excellent way to bypass these issues. Employees have 10 times more 1st degree connections on LinkedIn than a company has followers. Since they have more indirect financial incentives, content from employees are viewed as more credible. As a result, employee shares have click-through rates double those of corporate shares.

There is no one-size-fits-all employee advocacy program. But the content that you encourage your employees to share must promote your business AND more importantly, be of value to your employees’ networks. When done right, employee advocacy can build your brand, increase your company page’s followers, and generate new leads.

A well-executed program will leave employees feeling empowered and with a real stake in your company’s success. Their involvement encourages them to come up with new ideas to further your marketing goals. Everybody wins!

Sponsored Content

linkedin sponsored content

Facebook and Instagram advertisers have a bevy of demographics data to curate. But neither can match LinkedIn’s ability to target users based on their professional characteristics. Industry, company size, and job role are just a few of many targeting options that LinkedIn offers advertisers.

Advertising on LinkedIn is, however, more expensive than on other social media platforms.

So you will want to carefully select which content you will pay to promote.

One way to select content for paid advertising is to analyze its organic performance as a predictor of its results with a paid audience. Determine where your paid audience is likely to be in the buyers’ journey.

Are they at an early stage? Educate them about the problem they are facing and help them find solutions. Better yet, build a “Resources” page with valuable lead magnets and informative white papers.

Or closer to the end of their decision-making process? Use case studies and other resource content to entice them to make a buying decision.

Different types of content will resonate best depending on where they are in their buyers’ journey.

One More Word on LinkedIn: Avoid Automation Tools

The potential that LinkedIn has to generate leads for your business is enormous. However, full utilization of the platform can be a time consuming endeavor. You might think:

How about I automate large parts of my LinkedIn strategy to save time and resources? But what seems to be an appealing option on the surface does have a few pitfalls. Here are three reasons to think twice about using automation tools:

Reason 1: You could get your account suspended or banned

Most types of automation tools are prohibited by LinkedIn’s terms of service and can result in a suspension or ban of your account.

Do you really want to risk losing your account with all the leads that LinkedIn can generate for your business?

If you are willing to accept the risks posed by automation tools, they should still only be considered for select circumstances. More on that in a bit.

Reason 2: Automation is no substitute for meaningful relationships

linkedin lead generation strategy

Anybody worth his salt receives loads of inquiries from individuals or businesses looking to form relationships.

Among his crowded inbox, personalized outreach is much more likely to garner interest than generic and automated interactions.

Even if your bots don’t make conspicuous errors, automated outreach is easy to detect, and betrays a lack of focus on your prospect.

You need to show that you care.

Do you really want to risk losing your account with all the leads that LinkedIn can generate for your business?

If you are willing to accept the risks posed by automation tools, they should still only be considered for select circumstances. More on that in a bit.

Reason 3: Difficult to manage and organize leads if you get too many

So, let’s say that despite the risks shown above, you manage to automate your entire outreach process without getting your account banned…

And that quality prospects were actually okay with your lack of personalized research on them (highly unlikely, but for argument’s sake).

Well, now you have tons of leads – a majority of which are likely to be unqualified due to your methods.

Your problem now is that you’d have to sift through all these unqualified leads to find your target audience. As you’re doing that, your best leads are getting colder and may no longer be viable once you find them.

But, if you must automate something…

I get it.

You’re busy and automation can save you a lot of time. So, if you must use automation, only use it under certain situations.

The sales navigator is an excellent (but expensive) tool that LinkedIn offers. Upgrade to a sales navigator, and now you have no risk of your account getting banned.

It allows you to locate your target audience based on a variety of metrics including job title, location, and industry. This filtering mechanism can help you find the small percentage of people you would like to connect with among hundreds of millions of LinkedIn users.

After you locate your target prospects, you should move towards a manual approach.

Visit each profile individually and send connection requests to qualified prospects. It’s okay to work off a script for messaging, but be sure to personalize each message. Do your homework on your prospects first.

Remember to focus on providing value to your connections. Unique and long-form content is always a great way to stand out from all the noise.

Whatever you do, don’t send a sales pitch right after you connect with someone. That’s a surefire way to lose traction with a prospect.

How to Target Your Customers on Facebook

Some people are saying that Facebook isn’t cool anymore. Whatever that means. That may be true among younger people, but what about businesses?

The numbers don’t lie, however.

A whooping 1.47 billion people log into Facebook daily.

Are you doing what’s necessary to find potential customers among such a huge base, complete with precious demographics data that could be a potential gold mine to marketers?

Are you doing what’s necessary to find potential customers among such a huge Facebook advertising base full of demographics data, a potential gold mine to marketers? Click To Tweet

Business Page

create a facebook business page

Building a Facebook page for your business is the first step. While you want to spread your message far and wide, Facebook also acts as a search engine for those looking to find information about businesses. A professional looking page that provides details about your offer and showcases your industry expertise will establish your credibility.

However, business pages have lower organic reach after Facebook made significant changes to its news feed algorithm in early 2018. Facebook is increasingly prioritizing meaningful interactions for its users. As a result, posts from family and friends are gaining at the expense of businesses.

Not all hope is lost, though. Facebook is essentially trying to improve the user experience. Meaningful interactions with family and friends makes users happy. Passive consumption of generic content from businesses does not leave users feeling satisfied. The solution for your business is to create top-notch content that encourages thoughtful comments and shares.

Gone are the days when spammy posts can effectively manipulate the algorithm.

Groups

A quality Facebook page is imperative, but it’s far from a guarantee that prospects will find your business on their own. Facebook groups are a great (and free) way to promote your business. You can either create your own group or join an existing group.

If you join someone else’s group, you will have to play by the rules of the administrator. This usually means no (overt) self promotion. However, that still allows you to build a reputation as a provider of value in your industry. With groups, you’d need to play the long game, which is actually the most ideal marketing strategy for your business.

You can create your own group if you want more flexibility on what you can post. With that said, Facebook users rarely appreciate salesy talk in groups, so the same general rules apply.

find facebook groups for business

Advertising

With organic traffic becoming harder to attract on Facebook, advertising through the platform is an avenue to consider.

Facebook has a bevy of data on its users – age, interest, behavior, location, life events, etc. You can easily use this data to create a custom audience for your ad campaign. This capability is very useful if your offer is super-targeted. Instead of paying for your ad to be shown to people with little interest in your offer, you can tailor the parameters to those most likely to purchase.

Remarketing is another excellent tool to convert prospects that are on the fence. These prospects will be familiar with your offer from the first ad. Therefore, subsequent ads can address common objections or present time sensitive discounts to create urgency.

Tip: How to Increase Engagement by 2,800%

Here are some keys to getting maximum impact and visibility with your target social media audience.

  1. Engage your audience with a thought-provoking question or call-to-action.
  2. Boost your post’s visibility with advertising.
  3. Time it right.

I’ll go over each in a little more detail and include a couple of screenshot examples.

1. Write a Thought-Provoking Question or Call-to-Action

This is probably the most important tip for going viral on social media. Your post has to be brief and yet provoke a reaction out of your readers. People with short attention spans don’t like to read too much, especially on social media. They just scroll from one post to another with their smartphones, scanning a few words here and there, mindlessly liking cute pet photos and funny memes.

Here’s an example. In the early 2000s, before blackberries and iPhones came along, deaf people used T-mobile Sidekicks to text each other. Sidekicks were hugely popular, as almost every deaf individual had one.

images help find customers on social media

Fast forward to today: iPhones and androids have had the market cornered for at least a decade. Sidekicks are now ancient relics.

One of my clients is creating a streaming video service for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and he asked me for help in reaching his target audience on Facebook. I gave my client a list of ideas for some Facebook posts, and he posted the one about remembering when deaf people used Sidekicks:

“Who remembers their first Sidekick?! Tag a friend if they had one too!”

This simple post contains both a thought-provoking question and a call-to-action. It takes the reader on a trip down a memory lane, elicits nostalgia for the “old days”, and calls on them to tag one of their friends if they also used a Sidekick. This post was so effective that it resulted in almost 1,400 shares! 

2. Use Advertising to Boost Visibility

Sometimes a social media post needs a little kick in the ass to draw more attention. Facebook has a simple feature where you can “boost” a post using paid advertising, which gets more visibility than organic traffic alone.

Your boosted post will have a progress bar that displays a count of organic versus paid reach. The screenshot above shows that this post’s traffic consisted of almost entirely paid traffic as it was boosted early. A mere $10 helped the post reach 32,000 people compared with just over 600 people that were reached organically. Sometimes a boosted post can gain additional organic traffic if paid visitors share it, like it, comment on it, or otherwise engage with it.

Their friends will see this engagement and visit that post to see what it’s all about, and the cycle repeats. Boosting a post, provided it is thought-provoking and engaging, is like starting a domino effect. The boost feature is especially useful if you want more visits to your web page or blog article. For example, the post below linked to my client’s blog article and the boost helped bring more traffic to the blog article.

3. Get the Timing Right

Social media feeds are constantly updating with new posts by the minute. When people aren’t checking Facebook or Twitter every few minutes, they will miss dozens of Facebook posts going through their feed. To ensure your content gets the most visibility possible, you should time its release for maximum engagement. Ideal timing depends on the habits, preferences, and time zones of your target audience.

Most people check their Facebook in the mornings before breakfast, during lunch breaks, in the afternoons before dinner, and at night before bed. Posting at these times or just a little before is best for maximum exposure and visibility. Social media platforms use algorithms to rank content based on the probability of user engagement. Timeliness plays a key role, so releasing content at just the right time can boost its performance.

BONUS: Use Social Media Analytics to Create Successful Campaigns

We must use social media analytics to measure performance and to understand what works and does not work. It may take several tries to create a viral marketing campaign. Whether you need to make minor adjustments or change your entire strategy, social media metrics can help guide you. What’s more important than which social media platform to use is the actual content you are putting out. Learn how to build content-centric campaigns and why these are more successful than channel-centric campaigns. Learning what types of content perform the best helps you plan and improve your next social media campaign.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Using these Facebook posts displayed above, I helped my client bring in a dramatic increase of 2,800% in social media engagement in just one month. Page views jumped by 143% as well. Both page likes and page follows also leaped by at least 240%.

The beauty of advertising on Facebook is that it’s very easy to test different strategies. You now have enough to get started. From there, you can assess the performance of your posts and ad campaigns, which will give you enough information on how to proceed.

Don’t Neglect Instagram!

Facebook, of course, boasts the largest reach of any social media platform.

But do they have the highest engagement rates?

The winner actually goes to Instagram, which sports much higher engagement rates than Facebook.

While brands see a median engagement rate of 0.09% per post on Facebook, they see a 1.60% median engagement rate per post on Instagram. This guide will show you how you can get some of those eyeballs on your company and offer.

Business Page

Instagram is the most visual major social media platform. Your content must be aesthetically pleasing to stand out.
The two main options to upload content are posts and stories. Posts can be permanent (unless you delete or archive them), while stories will disappear after 24 hours.

Therefore, you should be posting evergreen content, and creating stories for time-sensitive offers and announcements.

Your Instagram bio can only contain up to 150 characters, which is not much space, so use it wisely. Your unique selling proposition or a promotion are two things to consider for your bio. Instagram allows one clickable link in your bio. You can simply link to your website’s home page.

Or you could get a bit more creative and link to an app download or a conversion page (such as a squeeze page or a campaign-specific landing page).

Influencers

People trust recommendations from people they know more than promotion by brands. This is a well-established principle that has long been used by companies to promote their products. This is where influencers on social media come in.

Whereas the number of influencers was confined to a small number of celebrities in the past, many more people have influence in the social media age.

But how do you find the right influencers?

It starts with your offer. Your product or service occupies a certain niche. So the first step is to find Instagram accounts with credibility and reach within that niche. You can do this by searching for your brand’s hashtags and other hashtags relevant to your industry. Influencer marketing tools such as BuzzSumo and Ninja Outreach are other ways to find influencers whose audiences would be interested in your offer.

UPDATE: There’s also a new influencer tool – Fresko – which is specifically tailored for eCommerce brands that want a better influencer marketing platform with improved attribution, tracking, and analytics.

After you’ve found a few influencers, the next step is designing your campaign. A sponsored post would entail having the influencer create content for your brand. You can also have your influencer review your offer or organize a contest for a giveaway.

Advertising

Recommendations from influencers are often very effective.

However, as a result, the top influencers typically charge more money than a direct campaign would cost. And with 75% of users taking action after visiting a brand’s post, such as visiting the company website, advertising on Instagram has high ROI potential.

But isn’t Instagram just a bunch of millennials taking selfies, you might argue?

What if, for example, your target market is mostly over the age of 30?

While 55% of users are between the ages of 18 and 29, age is mostly irrelevant because you can simply advertise to users in your target demographic. Instagram, like Facebook, offers a bevy of targeting options to find your audience. With over 500 million daily active users, there are plenty of users who would be interested in your offer, not just selfie-obsessed travelers.

Last Word About Instagram…

Instagram users log in with the expectation of being dazzled by beautiful imagery.

Therefore, as a business, you need to satisfy this condition when promoting your offer on the platform. \

Fortunately, there should always be a way to make your content visually appealing, while not sacrificing the core of your unique value proposition.

Moving Forward

Success on social media hinges on your ability to engage your target audience while effectively promoting your offer — sometimes a difficult balance.

The bottom line is that you must make the value of your offer clear and at the same time, provide users with the type of experience they’re looking for on each social media platform.

If you can strike that balance, you can create a massive ROI on the time and money you spend building relationships through social media.