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Chapter
3

Establish your audience and pinpoint their preferred channel

To grasp how a social network will help you reach your target audience, you need to find who your ideal audience is. In this step, you will take your goals and map them to your audience and the channels they hang out in.

If you don’t do this, you may find yourself wasting time making content for a channel where your audience doesn’t spend their time.‍

Use your goals to find your target audience 

A common mistake you can make is using social media for the audience you expect to be most responsive to your posts, rather than the audience that is valuable to your business. Frequently, the audience that will be responsive and active on the channel you select is freelance writers or marketers who resonate with the pain points you talk about. 

Be sure to ask yourself if those people are your target audience.‍

If your goal is to grow your network and find support online, other freelancers are a perfect fit. If you’re looking to land more clients soon, they probably aren’t the right audience.

Let’s see a few examples and who your target audience could be before you begin this exercise.

Now, it’s your turn. Go to your workbook and for each goal you wrote in the previous step, map it to the audience you need to reach in order to hit that goal.

  • Based on your goal, who is the type of person that you want to find?

  • Get as detailed as you’d like, going into details like what this audience’s pain points are, what they’re looking to get out of a specific social channel, how they interact with their network, etc.

Note: Every company is unique so keep an eye on different departments and roles to find out who is handling content efforts there. Sometimes, the company is small and they could have a Chief Operating Officer (COO) or even Sales Manager handling the blog. If you want a head start, reach out to new businesses that haven’t yet launched a content strategy. In this case, a CEO or Co-Founder may be the best person to approach.

Find the channels where your audience spends their time

Each platform is known for different purposes and audiences. The goal with each should be maximizing your impact by getting close to your target audience. 

Next, we’re taking a deep dive into what each platform is best known for:‍

LinkedIn is often considered a "professional" network. However, there are plenty of ways to use it that don't involve cold messages or sales pitches. You can create content to share with your network about previous work, that you’re open for new business, or your insights on an industry. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with other companies’ employees and stay up to date on their initiatives. 

Twitter allows brands to interact with consumers directly, which can provide valuable insight into their needs and preferences. Twitter is also a popular place to find community as a freelancer. Need a friend or piece of advice? Head to Twitter.‍

Instagram gives you the opportunity to connect with other brands and customers in a more visual medium. Instagram is a great place to understand what initiatives brands are undertaking. Many individual people keep their Instagrams private, as it is more personal than professional, so it may not be the best place to connect with clients.‍

YouTube has a very active community and it’s easy to get involved in conversations by interacting with your own followers and responding to comments on your videos. However, recording good videos that get engagement isn’t easy, so there is a slightly higher barrier to entry.‍

Facebook is a great place to engage with potential customers that may run small businesses or have a local focus. There are thousands of Facebook groups you can look to for peer support or connecting around common interests. Facebook, compared to LinkedIn or Twitter, is less known for professional connections.‍

TikTok has a very young demographic. The platform is useful for targeting the 18-24 age group and building brand awareness. The platform allows users to post short videos of themselves doing something interesting or entertaining — such as dancing or singing — and share them with friends. TikTok is a great network to be on if your target audience is younger or is a brand trying to reach a young audience.

What channels does your target audience expect a presence on?

If you’re not sure where your target audience hands out, have no fear. A quick way to figure this out is to make a list of a handful of past clients in your workbook. If you haven’t had any clients so far or want to switch industries, make a list of the ideal companies you want to work with. 

Next, start thinking like them by analyzing their behavior:‍

  • What channels are they most active on?

  • Is there a channel/community where they go when they need help?

  • How do they engage on certain channels?

  • What content are they most responsive to? 

Write this down in your workbook.

Next, go to your workbook in the ‘Audience Presence’ column and score each channel based on your audience’s presence. 

1-being extremely difficult (like connecting with content marketing managers on Pinterest) and 5-being extremely easy (like connecting with content marketing managers on LinkedIn).‍

It should look something like this:

Anything between 4 and 5 gives you a hint on which channels can truly help you reach your target audience. 1-2-3 scores usually indicate your audience isn’t active on those channels at all or they’re using those specific networks for entirely different purposes.

What this looks like in practice

Let’s say you want to start reaching out to Content Marketing Managers at HR Tech SaaS companies. You’ve made your list of your dream 50 companies and even managed to get the names of their Content Marketing Managers. How do you reach out to them?‍

Our Content Marketing Manager, for instance, is probably on LinkedIn. But they might also be on Twitter. You need to understand what they want to get out of each channel. They most often use LinkedIn strictly for business purposes and this can be anything from networking to finding partners or freelance writers.‍

If the Content Marketing Manager you want to reach out to isn’t posting business-related things on Twitter, you’re better off reaching out to them via LinkedIn.

Recap

  • Who your target market and audience truly is

  • How every social media platform is commonly used

  • Where your ideal audience spends most of their time and which channels are worth pursuing in terms of audience presence

  • How to set goals for each type of audience you have in mind (Tip: Don’t forget to start by having one single goal/channel. This lets you fully focus on that goal before you start scaling or speaking to multiple audiences.)

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