“Build it and they will come” may be a great idea for a building a baseball diamond in the middle of an Iowa corn field. But it doesn’t work as a social media plan.
There are now 900,000,000+ Facebook pages, 100,000,000+ LinkedIn members, 59,000,000+ active Twitter profiles and 31,000,000+ blogs…all growing. Your audience isn’t going to come to you; you have to find them.
Fortunately, there are many tools (most “open source”) to help identify: 1) who to attract, 2) where they are and 3) how well to know them. It’s time well spent to take these steps and find your target audience. You don’t want to pursue a Field of Dreams where you build it and they don’t come.
Here are 16 targeting tools to find your audience in social media.
1. GOOGLE ANALYTICS. The #1 tool for finding your audience in social media is the analytics tool for your website. Why? In “Traffic Sources,” you’ll learn how many people find your brand’s website through social media; what social networks or “referrals” drive the most traffic and what are the specific contributions of each social network (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) in terms of: Unique Visitors, Time on Site and Pages Viewed. Now, you know how and where to spend your time and/or money. According to Northwestern University, just Facebook and Twitter (on average) drive 50%+ of traffic to small business websites.
2, 3 and 4. TECHNORATI, ALLTOP and TOPSY: To create 1-to-1 relationships with big dividends, look for advocates who help spread the word. Blogs are the best place to start. There are search engine for blogs: Technorati and Alltop. They’ll help you find the bloggers with the most authority for any industry or subject. Plus, there’s Topsy to show the top trending blog posts on Twitter for any industry or topic. HubSpot says blogs lead to 55% more website visitors. Blogs also add “links” that raise your “authority” and search rank.
5, 6 and 7. WILDFIRE, STRUTTA and VOTIGO: “‘Like'” Us on Facebook” is something most company want us to do. Why? Studies, like the one below, say the #1 reason we would “Like” a company on Facebook is to receive offers or discounts. We return our support in return. So why not attract your audience through a sweepstakes, contest or offer with an app on Facebook like Wildfire, Strutta or Vortigo. There’s available at a price point that works for any business and deliver not only “Fans” but a list with their e-mail addresses to stay in touch.
8. BOOSHAKA: 10% of your community drives 90% of conversations according to Forrester Research. To find out who are your biggest fans on Facebook, there’s Booshaka. For a Facebook Brand page, it ranks your “fans” so you know their value in terms of participation and sharing.
9. FACEBOOK INSIGHTS (“PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT”): Now, you have the road map for generate “buzz” on Facebook with Fans who can help do the heavy lifting. Use Facebook Insights and the “People Talking About” measure to monitor your progress and participate when you see comments that drive conversation.
10. TWITTER SEARCH: A simple way to find Followers in real-time who are talking about something that is relevant to your business or they are at at a place or event that might be important to you is by typing it in the query box of Twitter Search. For example, at AJ Bombers, a burger restaurant in Milwaukee, Twitter Search has been used to reach visitors at the Milwaukee airport. A friendly message tells them if their travels in the area happen to take them downtown and their near the restaurant, a special offer is waiting for them.
11. KLOUT: Once you find people you want to follow, you might want to know their Klout Score and their influence. Now, you know who to the follw on Twitter and how they can increase your reach. 30% of people use Twitter to research and buy products.
12. SIGNAL: LinkedIn’s Signal certainly isn’t new, but it is one of the most powerful services they’ve released. Signal allows you to filter and browse only relevant status updates from your LinkedIn and Twitter streams. You can target updates from colleagues, competitors, etc., and narrow or expand your view based on the following filters: Network, Industry, Company, Time published, Location, School or just most popular hash tags.
13. SWARM: Although LinkedIn’s official description of Swarm is “an eerily beautiful visualization of popular company search queries on LinkedIn,” I’ve seen popular title searches, most recent LinkedIn blog posts, most shared news, and recent jobs posted on LinkedIn.
14. YOUTUBE ANALYTICS: YouTube Analytics is a self-service tool that gives you detailed statistics on your videos and your viewers. It’s an easy and powerful way to discover which videos and themes work best for your audience. How do viewers find you? How long do they watch your videos? When do they leave? YouTube Analytics gives you all the details, video by video or for all your videos at once, so you really understand your audience.
15. VIEWS: This may be obvious, but it’d be silly not to mention it. By monitoring viewership trends, you can identify the best and worst of your video library. This is especially important for underperforming content, where you can then take efforts to boost a video’s popularity through editing or even re-optimizing for SEO.
16. SUBSCRIBERS AND SHARES: They indicate a more engaged commitment on behalf of the viewer. If your content is quality enough that viewers are subscribing to see more of it, that’s basically the YouTube equivalent of an unqualified inbound lead.
How do you approach social media for your business? Do you build it and think they’ll come? Do these targeting tools help you to think differently? Which one would you think of using?