Digital Audience Research: Do You Know Who You’re Speaking To?
Chances are, your audience on Twitter is not the same as your audience on Facebook. Why is this important? Knowing who you’re speaking to helps you fine-tune your social media presence. If your audience on Instagram skews younger and more US-centric than your audience on Facebook, you would likely add some more slang and fun emojis.
This is a guide on how to research who your digital audience is. Walking through will take about half an hour, depending on how many networks you’re looking at. While this is written with coffee businesses in mind, you can certainly expand this to apply to other types of businesses.
Goal: the goal of this is to know who your audience is currently. If you had projected a different type of audience, then you can certainly use this information to change up some marketing efforts.
Get Started with a Table
To start with, we’re going to create a table. I’ve made this one in Google Sheets for you to copy or download.
In the first column, skip one row and then write down all the characteristics and demographics you care about. You can always add more later.
Here are some starters:
- Gender (some reports give only binary while others have a 3rd option)
- Location (city, state, country – depends on what your business is)
- Age range and %
- Purchasing habits
- Eating habits
In the first row, skip the first column and then write down each network you are you researching.
At the end, you can enter some of your target audiences for easy comparisons later on.
Each of the major social media networks have some of their own analytics that you can use.
In Twitter, you can navigate to analytics.twitter.com, then Audience Insights to find out demographic information. It gives you their lifestyle and purchasing habits along with major interests.
In Instagram, if you have converted your account to a business account, you can visit your own profile page and then head to the top right corner.
It’ll give you insights on impressions, top posts, and some follower demographic breakdowns.
If you don’t have a business account, you can try going for free trials at Quintly and Iconosquare.
The Insights tab gives pretty thorough information on who your fans are and who’s engaging with your posts. Sometimes, the demographics are different for the two metrics.
It’s free! If your website is connected to Google Analytics or offers you visitor data, you can check out the demographics to see who’s visiting your site. Google Analytics’ breakdown of all they offer is here.
If you have time, add in columns that fit with how your business operates. For example, as a single-location cafe, you could write down your demographics there. If you have a newsletter or other marketing avenue, you could write those down, too. Add columns and rows as you see fit.
What do you do once you’ve figured out who’s reading your stuff?
If you’ve never done this before, it can be eye-opening. You may find that not all the networks have the same audience. Or that certain networks have a drastically different audience than you expected.
Some questions to ponder:
- Do these match your target audiences? If not, will you adjust your strategy to speak to the current audience or change it to aim eventually at your target audience?
- How do these match your current customers (which may not always be your target audiences)?
- Will you change how you speak on each platform to match the audience? The answer here should be yes if you’re not doing this already.
And that’s it! Half an hour later, you’re more in tune with who your audience is online. I recommend checking this at least once a quarter to see if anything changes. If you start any new strategies that specifically look to change your audiences, then definitely audit before and after to measure your campaign success.
Demographics don’t change overnight, but with some key marketing strategies, you can influence their change. Next time, I’ll go more into depth on what these strategies could look like.