How to reach your target audience on social media
Should small businesses advertise on social media?
Yes! Used the right way, you can get quite far with a relatively small advertising budget. Social media allows you to enter into a dialogue with your customers. In comparison to other advertising channels, this means that instead of repeatedly shouting into the void, you receive comments and reactions to your ads. This is the perfect setting to understand which ad performs best and why. And while organic posts on your profile are mostly seen by your loyal follower base, advertising can help you to reach even more people with your message.
The big cost-efficient plus: Some social media networks allow you to build lookalike audiences based on interactions with your content, or simply your followers. This can be an efficient way to spread your message to the right people.
The more complex questions are: Which social networks should you use as a small business in the UK? And how do you reach the right people? Well, it depends. We know that especially as a small business owner you have neither plenty of time nor vast budgets. So you will have to focus on the most promising options. This blog is here to help you make the right decision.
Understanding the Target Audience for Social Media Sites
Your target audience on social media are the people who are most likely to love and buy your products. If you haven’t defined the target audience for your business yet, have a look at our blog on finding a small business target audience for digital marketing. Once you know who usually buys your products or services, you can start researching where these people are most likely to see your ads. Just like your business has an ideal customer, social networks have their specific target audiences and user profiles, too.
Social media target audience research is, therefore, an important starting point. And social networks can be quite niche: Ever heard of Ravelry? Us neither. But we suspect every knitter, crocheter and fiber artist has. So if you happen to be a yarn manufacturer, this social network should be your priority. We would like to make this article valuable to as many readers as possible (read: our target audience are small business owners from different sectors). So we will base our tips and tricks on the most common social media sites but there may be others to be aware in your industry.
Here’s an overview of the networks we consider for most of our clients and why.
The social network. Early 2020 there were about 45 million people in the UK who used Facebook. This translates into almost 70% of the entire population and you are very likely to find your target group using the service, too. Women between the ages of 25 to 34 make up the largest single group of Facebook users with about 13% but men enjoy scrolling through the feed almost as much.
The visual network. The visually more pleasing brother of Facebook is almost as popular and focuses on content centred around pictures and short videos. Overall, the age group below 34 make up the biggest part of the user base and women tend to use the network more than men. Good to know: If you already advertise on Facebook you can manage your ads in the same ad manager and even use cross-platform ads.
The professional network. LinkedIn fuels B2B relationships and the tone is generally less casual than on Instagram and Facebook. The network has about 27 million users in the UK, most of which are between 25 – 34. The great advantage for advertising is that you can target your ads by industry or profession.
The video platform. YouTube is the most active social network in the UK, with about three-quarters of every income group using the service regularly. If you have great video material for your brand, it might be worth targeting your ads to the viewer’s interest or even using the network for a retargeting campaign.
Finally, the decision on whether you should advertise on a specific social network should not only depend on the user demographics. Your budget and time are equally important. Often it is better to specialise on advertising on only one network than trying to juggle several platforms simultaneously with mediocre success.
How to find your target audience on social media
Now that you have decided on the networks to publish your ads to, we’ll tell you a bit more about how to separate the wheat from the chaff. How will you know who of the millions of people on the platform are the ones that will actually buy your products?
A great way to start are the different targeting options the social networks offer. These are usually based on the data they have on their users. Below is an example of the targeting options on Facebook.
If these don’t do the trick for you, you have different options. You could, for example, try retargeting. This means showing your ads to people who have already visited your website or interacted with your content. Similar to this, you can also take advantage of the lookalike audience functionality we mentioned above. Additionally, you can create your own bubble of like-minded people by founding a group on LinkedIn or Facebook. Our friends at Salonology are a great example of creating a community for small business owners, where members can learn from each other.
Create your own funnel – a cost-efficient way to increase sales
If you are not entirely sure who is generally interested in buying your products or if you are at the beginning of your social media advertising journey, we have an additional recommendation for you. The method is based on playing out cheaper ad formats to a broader audience and saving the more expensive ones for a specifically defined target group. This sounds more complicated than it is. Below is an example based on Facebook.
- Create a video ad and play it out to a relatively broad audience. On Facebook, this ad format is very cost-efficient as you are focussing on video views instead of website conversions.
- After running your video ad for a while you can divide the broad audience into two groups: People who have watched your video & people who didn’t.
- Create a new audience based on the people who have watched your video. They are interested enough in your brand to spend time watching your content and are more likely to make a purchase.
- Create a conversion-focused sales campaign only for those people who have watched your video.
- You’ll see the overall cost per sale will be significantly lower if you filter your audience into interested and less interested members beforehand.
Of course, every business is different and requires its tailor-made marketing strategy. We recommend you to try all our recommendations on finding your target audience on social media. Tracking your efforts and comparing the success will help you pin down the most effective way for you.
Our bonus tip: Many people of course access social media with their mobiles and tablets. Keep this in mind when designing your ads so they look good across all devices.