Emerging Technologies and Markets
How to know if you’re talking to the right people on social media

In our monthly newsletter for November, we gave you a handy guide to creating personas for marketing success. As we said, we’re big believers in the power of understanding your customers. In fact, we think it’s the key to highly successful marketing campaigns that generate profit and add real value to your business.

After all, how can you effectively communicate with your customer, if you don’t actually know about them? You can’t!

As such, we always recommend that businesses create personas to assist them in making data-driven decisions. Not only will it give you a sense of clarity with marketing, but it will allow you to create communications that are targeted and, as such, much more effective.

But what happens after you’ve built your personas and created a marketing campaign with them in mind? How do you know if you’re actually reaching the people that you need to be: Your ideal customers?

Why your follower count doesn’t actually matter

When you first start using social media for your business it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that your follower count is all that matters. Whilst it’s great to see follower growth and certainly shows that you’re doing something right, this alone will not add value to your business or lead to a growth in customers. The followers simply have to be the right kind of people in order for them to convert.

For example, say you had 5,000 followers on your brand’s Twitter account. Great! Now say that 4,900 of them were from the USA and worked in the property sector, whilst you’re a Birmingham- based company that creates artificial intelligence products within the world of finance. Not so great, right?

Of course, this is a hugely exaggerated example, but you understand the point: The number on the screen only matters if it represents a collection of people that would actually invest in some way in your company or share it with people that will.

How to test if the right people are following you

In order to know whether the “right people” (your ideal customer) is following you on social media you need to know three things.

  1. Who is your ideal customer? Hopefully you will know this after creating your personas.
  2. Who is following you currently?
  3. Do these two people roughly match up?

In answering these questions, you will begin to understand the ways in which your marketing is failing to attract the right people or that you are trying to tap into wrong market and that there is a whole group of people interested in your product/service that you hadn’t considered previously.

Working on the assumptions that you have already outlined your ideal customer through creating personas, there are two main ways to test whether these are indeed the people following you. Firstly, through looking at statistics and metrics to get a breadth of understanding about your followers. Secondly, through more in-depth research to get a clearer picture of who your followers are and their relationship to you.

Gaining a breadth of understanding of your followers

To get a good overview of the basic information of your followers, you can simply use the in-built analytics of most social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram business accounts and LinkedIn each provide you with a relatively large amount of information about those that follow you for free. So, there’s not necessarily the need to invest in any paid software for this purpose.

For example, Twitter’s analytics section can give you information on the age, gender, key interests, primary language, location and even what mobile carrier your followers use!

You can also understand the people that have converted from your social media to your website through Google Analytics. With statistics similar to those on social media platforms, this can give you a good understanding of the average metrics of people on your site.

Once you have this sort of information, you can start to compare the actual statistics about your followers with those of your ideal customer. To do this, we recommend creating a table, listing the key attributes of both. Take the following as an example:

Gaining a deeper understanding of your followers

Whilst social media analytics are great and can be a good way to understand the averages of all of your followers, they fail to give you deeper insights. They’re a brilliant way to understand numbers, but a limited way to understand people.

That’s why we recommend also looking at a number of your followers individually. That way you can get information regarding what job they do, what company they work for or what area they work in and, as such, whether they are actually a potential customer or just fit your desired demographics in other ways.

Related post: 10 Quotes that prove your business needs user research

This type of research is very simple: Manually assess the profiles of some of your followers to find out information about them. We’d recommend starting with your 15 most recent followers, as this should give you some helpful information to start with.

Again, we’d recommend creating a table to compare the desired characteristics of your followers and the reality of who is following you. In this case, create one table for each profile you look at, as this is about individuals, not averages.

So, you’re not attracting who you want to be online. What now?

Now that you have compared your actual followers with who you need to be following you, you’ll hopefully be able to see whether they are the same ‘person’ or not. If they are — good news! — your marketing is heading in the right direction and you can keep doing what you’re doing.

However, if they don’t match up, this is a sign of one of two things:

1. Your marketing strategy needs to be adjusted.

What you’re posting online is simply not attracting the right people. That means that your followers won’t convert into sales and, as such, that you need to re-strategise your social media marketing. Go back to the basics and re-plan how you use social media, this time with your personas/ideal customers in mind at every step.

2. Your personas need to be adjusted

Alternatively, the case could be that your personas don’t consider all of your potential customers. Through looking at who is following you, you may notice some trends and realise that there is a whole market for your product/service that you hadn’t considered! If this is true, you may want to create a persona for this type of person, but only if your findings give you solid evidence that they could be a real customer

The Takeaways

Understanding your ideal customers and creating a marketing campaign is only the beginning of your journey to growing your business. On the other hand, constantly testing whether your marketing manifests in the way you want it to is the key to consistent growth. Not only will it get you more customers in the long-term, but it will save you wasting time and energy on marketing efforts that are attracting the wrong people.

The Snap Out Team