The first step to execute your social media strategy is defining your target audience, so that you can customize your message and ways of delivering the messages. Different organizations have different groups of audience. For business, this is usually your potential buyers. For a nonprofit, it can be donors to support a cause or potential clients for a program. For government entities, it can be voters, constituents or general citizens. Within one organization, target audience may vary when conducting different campaigns.
(Image from Yahoo!)
Though the business, nonprofit and government face different social media audience, they share common variables when trying to define their audience.
Objective of initiatives:
To achieve different objectives, you need to go to different people. So always keep in mind your objectives. For example, to generate profit, a business will target people who have potential needs for that particular products or services. If a nonprofit plan to fundraise for its organization, it would cover existing donors and people who care about the cause. The elected officials and their organizations would pay much more attention to the constituent communities if they want to compete for those areas.
Demographics of audience:
Knowing the characters of your target audience makes your target shooting more accurate. Should your audience be young or middle aged? Are they with college or higher education? Are they more attachable to mobile or computers? No matter you are with a business, nonprofit or government, answering questions like these will help you narrow down the general public into more specific groups that you can more easily target with appropriate messaging.
Media preference of audience:
What social media platform are your target audience using? If they are more interested in images than videos, you may need to consider Pinterest rather than Youtube. If you are targeting well-educated professionals, people on LinkedIn would be your first choice. Moreover, organizations in business, nonprofit and government sectors have their own preference on content management. So when trying to define the target audience, matching what you have on your platform and what they are interested is also very important.
Apart from above mentioned variables that all organizations need to consider when defining target audience, there are specific aspects that require each organization to think about. The key is focusing on a well defined group of audience who are closely related to your products and causes. And then monitor what they say, response to them at a personal level, amplify the positive while desalting the negative, and finally lead the audience to take actions you want them to.
Demystifying Social Media, McKinsey & Company
Who is Your Social Media Audience? Really, Who is it?, Kelly Jennex, February 14, 2013
Social Media in Government: Five Considerations, HootSuite White Paper, 2013