Know thy audience, create great content

With more than one billion people using social media to connect to friends and brands and consume content, you may think the key to gaining more fans on social is to create content that appeals to everyone – that’s hardly the case.

As journalist Dan Sinker puts it, “Everyone isn’t an audience. (It’s) the byproduct of an incredibly successful thing that was made for a far more specific bunch of people.”

Every case study social campaign or “viral” post was first made for someone specific. You can define your social audience(s) by asking three key questions:

Who are they? Are your fans male or female? Young or old? Where are they located? Demographic data like this is embedded into social platforms and is the foundation for defining your audience(s).

Why are they following you? Getting to the heart of why fans are connected with you is tricky but not impossible. Explore the traits and motivations that could lie within your demographic segments – long-term customers, interested-but-broke college students – and map them to your brand.

What resonates with them? Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to find out what resonates with fans. Resources like Pew Research Center and Google Think provide a bevy of free insights into audience action, while Facebook’s Graph Search and Twitter Analytics allow you to discover what your fans are interested in.

But the best way to find out which content works and which doesn’t? Testing it for yourself. Each social platform has detailed insights into the content you publish, from which you can see what drives clicks, shares and happy feelings. If it works, do more. If it falls flat, try something else.

Social allows you to adjust your strategy in real-time, so take advantage of it.

-Alex Lahr (@lonestarlahr) is a copywriter and social specialist at Thirsty Boy (@thirstyboy).

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