Social media brand promotion requires a lot of effort, including regularly crafting original, on-brand posts and consistent daily attention. It’s no wonder that it’s tempting to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to social media, especially considering that there are plenty of tools available for scheduling and publishing posts simultaneously on all platforms.
This strategy may have had its efficiency benefits in the early days of social media, when it was more of a satellite project than the core of a campaign. Nowadays, however, for PR strategies to be successful, they should be tailored to each channel, with the target audience and content style in mind.
The primary reason for this is that there are vast differences between social media platforms in terms of who uses them the most, the type of content the audience of each channel expects, and the level of engagement that can take place, among other factors. Put simply, social media platforms are too different for the same piece of PR content or the same strategy to work equally well on each.
Just because we tend to generalise platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn under the blanket term ‘social media’, it doesn’t follow that each works in the same way and is equally suited for specific topics. Just as Forbes and InStyle are both high-end magazine publications, so Snapchat and LinkedIn are both social media platforms – belonging to the same category of media, but vastly different in practice.
Rather than trying to create a universal content strategy that will be acceptable on all platforms, it’s far more preferable to focus on two or three social media networks that best suit your brand. By playing on the strengths of each platform, you’ll ensure more efficient branding and a more loyal audience.
Facebook is the most widely-used social media platform, with two-thirds of U.S. adults registered as active users. It’s the recommended outlet for a strategy that includes a mixture of visual and written content, including live videos, and public events. If you’re aiming to reach an older audience, Facebook is also the best bet - 62% of internet users aged over 65 use the platform. Users over 65 are a definite minority where it comes to social media users, but Facebook is where they appear most often.
Twitter is most popular with the millennial generation. Specifically, men aged 25 to 34 constitute the largest Twitter age/gender demographic (19%), followed by women aged 18 to 24 (12%). The platform is best suited for developing and sharing your brand messaging and story, sharing positive reviews, and interacting directly with your audience. Interestingly, in contrast to most other social media platforms, text posts perform better on Twitter than images, and images better than videos. So, save your visual content for Instagram or another site, and use Twitter primarily for text posts.
Instagram is worth considering for strategies predicting a high proportion of high-quality visual content. In terms of basic demographics, the majority of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 34. Interestingly, Instagram marketing is also considered to be highly effective at reaching online teens: studies show that 73% of U.S. teenagers consider Instagram to be the best way for brands to inform them about new products.
LinkedIn is widely known as the most ‘serious’ of all social media platforms. Used for professional development and networking, it’s the best outlet for corporate interaction and reaching a specialised audience. The majority of LinkedIn users are aged 36 to 55, with 45% of all users holding positions in upper management.
Snapchat and TikTok
Both Snapchat and TikTok are the recommended platforms for reaching younger audiences. Almost 70% of TikTok users are aged 13 to 24, while for Snapchat, that demographic makes up 90%. The majority (over 60%) of Snapchat users are female.
These platforms are both highly visual by design, and using them to your advantage requires an awareness of the current trends and the ability to adapt. Many PR professionals and marketers find that a brand deal with an influencer is the way to go with these platforms, although it’s also worth noting that both have affordable advertising plans.
As you delve into the world of PR and marketing, you’ll see and hear the phrase ‘target audience’ over and over again, most likely in the context of how crucial it is to define and reach it. But why is it so important to find your target audience, and how do you figure out who they are?
Most of today’s PR takes place online – for most industries, the days of placing ads in local papers are long gone. The internet gives practically unlimited possibilities, as technically, anyone with access to a smartphone or a computer can be reached. However, focused and efficient PR isn’t about reaching everyone: it’s about getting your message only (or primarily) in front of people who are likely to be interested.
By focusing your campaigns on a specific group, predisposed to show an interest in becoming a customer or a subscriber, you will see a much better ROI. Haphazardly advertising to everyone, meanwhile, is usually a waste of time and resources.
Below, you’ll find the most important factors to consider when defining your target audience. Bear in mind that while everyone’s different and not all assumptions or stereotypes hold true in every case, a degree of generalisation is going to be unavoidable when dealing with large groups.
The most common variables included in basic demographics are age, gender, and geographical location. You don’t necessarily need to target a campaign or a brand towards only men or only women of certain ages, but for gender-specific products and services, it’s an obvious determining factor. Age is particularly important with tech products and services, as well as for influencers – social media is generally the domain of those aged under 50, for instance.
Geographical location is of particular value to businesses with a physical store, or some form of a limit on where the services can be performed. In some cases, the place of residence can also be indicative of income, lifestyle, and other useful information, such as political views.
Employment and lifestyle
Your prospective audience’s income, education level, and employment status constitute further considerations to take into account. These can, for example, be indicative of the group’s potential aspirations, goals, and fears – all of which can be used to build a more effective campaign. Entrepreneurs with a business mindset and a focus on corporate achievement will respond to different PR strategies than, say, watercolour painters focused on their artistic growth rather than on income.
Oftentimes, experience or education in a particular field or industry is an important factor. Equally, lifestyle choices and preferences reveal a lot about the group’s needs and interests. To give a simplified example, you don’t want to be marketing a meat-based barbeque cooking course to a vegan audience.
Interests and opinions
Just like lifestyle choices, interests and opinions (including political affiliation) can signal whether a group will be interested in your message or product. Importantly, to an even higher degree than previous factors, interests and opinions will give an indication of what media the group is likely to view. If you can figure out what websites and social media pages your target group frequents, for instance, you have a ready-made plan for where to focus on building your online presence.
Putting it all together
Whether you’re targeting a single campaign or your entire brand or product, you should keep all of these factors in mind. Start with the characteristic that’s most likely to be important for your purpose. For example, age might be the key determining element for tech solutions, and gender might be of the most importance for specific beauty products. Use the other factors to narrow down your group.
If you already have an existing audience representing a sufficiently large sample – for instance, as an influencer with a decent following – you can use insights from that group to help you find out who’s your ideal customer. For example, you might find that your message has already been shown to resonate better with professional, working women aged 40-50 than any other group. Unless you’re looking to re-brand, any trends within your existing audience should serve as guidance for defining your target group.
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential characteristics for your target audience, consider why you focused on these answers and, just as importantly, why this particular group would be interested in your message. This is not only a means of determining whether your target audience has been defined well, but can also help with clarifying and refining your message to generate the most positive response. Let’s take renewable energy vs political affiliation as a quick example. Without much research, it would appear that only liberal groups would make it into the target audience. However, recent studies show that both liberal and conservative groups support renewable energy – and they do so for different reasons.
Research and careful consideration will reveal insights that may not seem obvious at first glance. Still, defining the target audience can be a challenge, particularly for start-ups and newcomers to the business or influencer world without a well-crafted message. If you find it impossible to clearly define your audience, it may be time to revisit your message and branding – or seek help from an expert PR agency, which will reliably optimize both your message and your audience targeting.
Influencer marketing is a collaboration between a brand and a popular social media personality. In essence, the brand offers payment or other benefits to an influencer in exchange for promotion of a product, service, or the brand in general.
Various studies have found that between 60% and 70% of consumers make purchase decisions based on social media recommendations, so it’s easy to see why influencer marketing can be an extremely profitable element of a wider PR or marketing strategy. And influencers are experts at content creation, after all, so often they are able to come up with innovative and creative ways of marketing your brand.
As useful as it can be, however, establishing a successful influencer marketing relationship can be a challenging task, especially to those unfamiliar with the world of social media celebrities. To make the process easier and more effective, here are five top tips for getting the most out of influencer marketing.
1. Define your goals, needs, and expectations
Perhaps the most important part of developing a successful influencer marketing strategy takes place before you even start pitching to influencers. Before you reach out to anyone, you need to have a thorough understanding of what the goals of the campaign are, how the influencer can potentially contribute, and what you expect to get out of this deal.
The key element is figuring out who you need to reach with the product, service, or brand in order to achieve your goals. By defining your target audience for the campaign, you’ll be able to significantly narrow down the number of influencers who could potentially be the right fit for you.
2. Niche and style relevance
When choosing an influencer to approach, the main focus should lie in how relevant their brand is to yours. Make sure that their message, style, and niche are in line with yours, and that their follower or subscriber base matches your target audience for the campaign. Bear in mind that the influencer’s primary platform will influence what kind of content they will create – for instance, Instagram (home to the majority of today’s influencers) involves a focus on visual content, while Twitter consists mostly of text posts.
Not every influencer is open to creating branded content, so it’s best to shortlist several names rather than focusing on just one person. Once you’ve narrowed your search down to 5-10 influencers, check out their past sponsored marketing activity for more indicators as to whether they’ll be a good match for your brand.
This will take a significant amount of research, as there are thousands of active influencers out there. If you don’t know where to start, an expert PR agency will be able to put you in touch with the most relevant people.
3. The follower count isn’t everything
When shortlisting influencers for your campaign, it can be tempting to focus on how many followers they have as a determining factor. As a matter of fact, the number of people they can reach is nowhere near as important as relevance, as described in the previous point.
Research on the topic suggests that micro-influencers with up to 10k followers are likely to have the biggest influence on their audience, and thus a collaboration with them tends to provide a better ROI. Put simply, a smaller ‘fan base’ tends to be more loyal and pay more attention to the influencer’s activity.
4. Prepare a fair agreement
Unlike with hiring a contractor or outsourcing some aspect of a business, influencer marketing is not governed by any particular laws. This leaves influencers vulnerable to being exploited and may, understandably, cause many to be unwilling to engage in branded deals.
If you want your campaign to be effective, it’s crucial to build trust between your brand and the influencer. They should be certain that you will fulfil your end of the deal, and you shouldn’t worry about whether they’ll do their job as expected.
The best way to do this is to negotiate with the influencer, ensure both sides are clear about what’s expected of them, and prepare a binding contract that outlines all of the above. Although signing a contract is not mandatory – influencer marketing is not externally regulated – it helps to build trust and protects both your brand and the influencer from being treated unfairly.
5. Give the influencer some creative freedom
The point of partnering with an influencer – so, essentially an expert social media content creator – is to take advantage of their skills as well as their reach. While it’s tempting to try to control how they interact with and promote your brand, at the end of the day, they know best what works with their audience.
Within reason, try to support the influencer in finding their own ways of fulfilling their end of the deal. If you’ve chosen the right person, been treating them fairly, and began building a positive, supportive business relationship, they’ll have no reason to do anything that might damage your brand.