How to segment social media audiences: a guide for small businesses

Icons representing how to segment social media audiencesWhen you segment social media audiences, you take more control over your marketing and advertising processes.

It can be tricky for small business owners to get started. But – from targeted advertising to streamlined costs – the payoff will be worth it. So, today, we’ll tell you why it’s so important to segment social media audiences and how to go about it.

Why is it so important to segment social media audiences?

As a small business owner, there are all sorts of reasons to segment social media audiences. This technique enables you to:

  • Target your marketing budget and resources more effectively
  • Reduce marketing expenditure while increasing profitability
  • Dispatch personalised marketing resources to (or omit) specific customer groups
  • Derive insights into your customers, create profiles and develop new products/services

How can small businesses get started with social media audience segmentation?

There are several ways to segment social media audiences. However, there are also a core group of actions we recommend you start off with. This basically boils down to understanding:

Social media platforms

Develop your knowledge of key social media platforms, their typical audiences and how they’re used in business. The most effective social media channels for generating revenue today are:

  • Facebook: This platform features the broadest, most representative catchment of users and data. Facebook also has the widest array of segmentation features (more on that later).
  • LinkedIn: This platform focuses on people in work and related personal/employment history data. Use the LinkedIn Audience Network and Campaign Manager to hone your segments and reach out.
  • Twitter: Another social media beast, Twitter’s core audience consists of highly-engaged, professional, urban Millennials. Use Twitter for Business to segment customers via location and/or language.
  • Instagram: Popular among young folks, you can conduct sentiment analysis to segment customers by brand perception, or group related content/analyse engagement using hyperlinked hashtags.
  • Pinterest: Typically frequented by women, Millennials, high-rollers and aesthetes, you can segment Pinterest audiences by their personal details, or the things they’ve expressed an interest in.

On top of this, find out what you can do for free on each platform (e.g. using Facebook filtering/LinkedIn ‘Groups’). Then, look at what you would need to pay for and whether these features are likely to generate ROI.

Once you’re in the know, you can choose to focus your efforts on a single platform, or a limited combination of platforms, as determined by your customers’ tendencies.

Important traits and indicative behaviours

Think about the traits and behaviours it would be most beneficial to know about in order to effectively target your adverts.

Remember, this is the digital age, so be brave with your wish list. Look beyond typical customer traits such as age, gender, income, family status, education etc.

Facebook provides the broadest range of options when it comes to segmentation today. You can find out about:

  • Purchasing behaviour: Combine purchasing records with loyalty and profile data to segment your audience according to the things they buy, when/how they typically purchase or shared interests.
  • Life events: Establish whether purchasing decisions and/or brand sentiment are tied to a major life event, such as a wedding, birthday, holiday or the arrival of a new family member.

Combine these insights with other personal details using the Custom Audiences feature. In tandem, you could create segments as granular as pre-existing customers with a specific single job role, who earn a certain amount, have a shared interest, live within a defined postcode and purchase certain products of a particular value.

Use these handy tips to segment social media audiences and increase profitability at your small business.

Boost your social media marketing credentials by segmenting your audiences with a little extra insight from the expert NS Design team.

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