In the last post, I talked about the importance of finding out where your target audience is hanging out. Figuring out which social media sites your target audience is using is the crucial first step in social media marketing.
Today we’ll look at how to actually do this. Here are some practical ways to locate your target audience in the social media sphere.
Use the Search Box
Most social media sites have a search box.
I would start with these following social media sites because of their popularity.
For each site, enter a couple keywords and/or phrases of your industry in the site’s search box.
For example, if you’re in the computer repair industry, you can type in words like:
fix my computer
If you get a lot of search results, your target audience is participating on that particular site. If you don’t get many search results, you should move on to the next site.
By the way, Twitter’s search box is hard to find. Here is the URL for their search engine: search.twitter.com.
Also, if you run into a site that doesn’t have a search box, you can use Google to search the site. Type
site:socialmediasite.com your keyword
into Google and Google will search the site with your desired keyword.
Monitor the Front Page of Social Voting Sites
Sites like Reddit, Digg, Propeller, Mixx, and Yahoo Buzz have a front page that shows the most popular content.
You can monitor the front page content for a couple days to see the type of content that is popular with the site’s users. If you can create content similar to the front page content, you have a good chance of driving a lot of traffic to your blog.
Gauge the Participation Level of Blogs and Forums
Many businesses have had success promoting their site on blogs and forums.
To use this strategy effectively, find blogs and forums related to your industry. You can do this by searching and browsing through blog directories and forum directories. Also, try searching on Google using these phrases:
“your industry” blog
“your industry” forum
However, not every blog and forum is worth participating on.
For blogs, you’ll want to check the comment section. How many comments does the blog generate per post? You’ll want to comment on blogs that have at least 5+ comments per post.
There are a couple reasons to do this.
- An active comment section allows you to not only interact with the blogger but also with their commenters.
- Blogs with many comments usually have a lot of traffic.
- People using RSS readers to read blogs are more likely to check out the comment section if they know that a blog consistently gets a lot of comments. (RSS readers don’t show comments.)
For forums, the main thing to look for is how often the forum users post. Frequently updated forums attract more traffic.
For example, here is a screenshot of an active forum:
Compare that forum with this less updated one:
Ask Other Bloggers
This is one of my favorite methods because it kills two birds with one stone. You get social media sites to target and you network with other bloggers.
Basically, ask other bloggers in your industry for recommendations of social media sites. This strategy works because, for the most part, bloggers are willing to help other bloggers.
Don’t Forget Niche Social Media Sites
Here are two great lists of niche social media sites:
It may be worth it to go through the list to see if your industry has its own social media site. Also, you can do a search for
“your industry” social media site
Evaluating these sites is similar to evaluating forums. Check to see how often the site is updated. And stay away from sites with spam on the front page.
Over To You
I’m sure there are other ways to locate your target audience on the net. What other methods would you suggest?