Social media usage has increased by over 13% in the last 12 months, with around 4.2 billion users globally. This makes social media one of the most effective channels in reaching customers directly in their own space, and savvy marketers will inevitably look to social as a core part of their growth strategy.
But of course, every rose has its thorn. While many social networks offer the ability to target customers through paid ads, they were primarily designed as a place for people to connect with friends and family. This can make it tough to achieve cut-through in a crowded space - if you’re not competing against other companies, you’re competing against memes.
So, how can you utilise social media segmentation to accelerate your growth strategy? Traditional segmentation focuses on four areas: demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioural. Social data goes deeper by allowing you to tap into your audience’s conversations, interests, and affinities.
We’ve outlined five top tips that will help you harness the power of social audience segmentation and use it to fuel your growth strategy.
In the age of excess, one of the simplest ways to segment your social media audience is to choose the platforms where you know your audience is most likely to be. By segmenting in this manner, you can test content and break down audience demographics across platforms to offer messaging that resonates.
Most of the time, marketers have a hunch about who they’re trying to sell to. For example, if you’re selling FMCG to women aged 50+, then Facebook is your natural ally, but if you want to market demi-fine jewellery to millennials, Instagram or Twitter are the way to go. By analysing the demographic make-up of channels and testing content and engagement, you can start to segment your customers by the social networks they frequent.
Sometimes factors such as location can influence the platforms you might choose, for example, if you’re looking to launch a product in China, you might want to create a WeChat. By gaining an understanding of who you’re selling to and where they’re spending time online, you’re in a better position to reach specific segments.
We can make instinctual decisions supported by trial and error, but when a hot new social platform is trending, marketers often feel the pressure to jump on-board - do we need to TikTok? Should we Snap? Are we in Clubhouse? You should be steered by the guiding principles of your audience insight when making choices about where to expand your social presence, if you think it’s going to help you tap into more customers (or just relocate to where they’re heading).
One of the most efficient ways of creating social media segments is to identify the patterns that connect your audience, through testing and analysing the granular data that social media offers you.
For example, you might find that that your intended audience engage with you at certain times of day (we see you, Netflix night owls), they all like to get together and talk about a particular event once a week, or they all follow that rising star who just got nominated for a Grammy but is interested in astrology and is also dating a hugely influential tech icon.
Searching for patterns in audience behaviour and affinities and being more granular with your segmentation can help you define influential micro-segments could prove immensely valuable to your growth strategy. You’ll find you’re more able to create tailored messaging that they’re more likely to respond to, rather than a one-size-fits-all tweet, increasing your ROI in the long-term.
Even better, by watching how your social audience segments change and develop over time, you can adapt your strategy to continue meeting their needs and understanding what it is about your brand that appeals most to them over time. With tools like Audiense, you can even index micro-segments against each other to understand their value and how best to talk to them.
Once upon a time, building a social media community was as simple as encouraging people to follow you on Twitter and making yourself known on the right hashtags. While this kind of social activity still has a place, modern social media marketing and segmentation is moving toward creating smaller communities in the form of groups.
According to Hootsuite, 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups and there are tens of millions of groups on the platform. Groups are also becoming increasingly popular on LinkedIn and private DM chats on Twitter and Instagram are rising.
Nurturing communities is one of the fastest ways to create detailed micro-segments that you can engage with on a regular basis to get real-time insight. You could use audience intelligence to create Twitter lists of specific customer niches and target them with tailored messaging or paid ads or create a Facebook group for brand advocates to connect with each other and access exclusive discount codes.
These social media segments are not just convenient segments of customers to tap into, they’re also rich qualitative sources of data that will allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of what your customers are most interested in and provide one-on-one feedback, straight from the horse’s mouth.
The natural next step in your strategy, after establishing your social presence and building a community around you, is to reward the people that have been cheering you all along.
Highlighting your most vocal brand advocates and creating a segment of their own can produce greater revenue in the long-term, as they are often very happy to get involved in your marketing efforts and spread brand awareness and building trust with future customers.
Brand advocates hold a lot of sway, particularly in the digital space. Publishers have long sought out influential reviewers and journalists in traditional press to shout about their authors. In the age of social media, marketers have increasingly turned to book bloggers and #bookstagrammers to champion campaigns, allowing them to connect with readers on a more personal and informal level as column inches in newspapers shrink.
You could look at cross-referencing customer data, for example account managers aged 25-35 who like to purchase beeswax candles, with social profiles to create specific niches to interact with on social media. Best of all, not only are brand advocates your biggest stans, but they’re usually your most valuable customers and will play a pivotal role in your long-term growth if you can keep them on-board.
Last but most definitely not least, social audience segmentation is just one part of your marketing toolkit. There is so much rich data you can extract by segmenting in the digital space which will be entirely relevant for your growth strategy and other areas of your business.
Make sure to take the goldmine of data from social media and consider what impact this could have in other areas of your business. For example, have you noticed feedback from customers that could be fed back to your product team to inform future development? Could you take a hot new media site growing in popularity among your micro-segments to create a tailored marketing campaign that will reach audiences like them?
There are so many ways you can apply insight from your social media segmentation to your wider business and marketing strategy to accelerate your long-term growth.
Are you ready to dig deeper? Audiense is trusted by thousands of brands and agencies online, and not only can we help you understand other cultures, you can get to know your customers on a whole new level. Try Audiense Insights for free.