How to Segment Your Audience By Motivation (and Why You Should)
One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing is being able to broadcast to an enormous audience. Facebook alone has on the order of 2.2 billion monthly active users, and there’s practically no ceiling to how many users you can engage.
However, increasing the sheer number of people you reach isn’t always the best course of action. Instead, it’s better to segment your audience by different dimensions, including motivation, so you can focus on them individually and drive more relevant engagements.
Examples of Segmentation
Audience segmentation is an important concept in marketing, but in case you aren’t familiar, it refers to any effort designed to focus on one subsection of your core audience at a time. If you’re segmenting by motivation, that means you’re focusing on a group of users based on why they might interact with you.
For example, if you’re creating content for people who are planning bachelor parties, you could segment that audience by focusing on those who want a clean party, and those who want a raunchier experience. If you’re creating content for business owners, you could differentiate between those who became entrepreneurs to retire early, and those who want to create a legacy for their family.
Why Motivational Segments Matter
So why are these segments important?
- Relevance. First, you’ll be able to create more relevant content for the segment in question. The best content producers aren’t haphazardly creating whatever content they want—they’re directly addressing the needs and desires of their audience. Getting familiar with one subsection of your audience allows you to create content specifically tailored to them, which can increase your engagement and drive better results.
- Competition. More than 70 percent of small businesses are currently using social media, which means you’re going to face a ton of competition. Narrowing your audience to more specific segments means you’ll face less competition, which can increase your total results.
- Analytics. When you create different market segments, you’ll also be able to gather more specific data for each of those segments. Assuming you have a good analytics strategy in place, you should be able to use those segments to gather more specific insights, eventually using better and better strategies to appeal to your followers.
Defining Your Segments
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is defining your segments, both to come up with how to differentiate your audience segments and to determine what types of content will work best for those audiences. One effective tactic here is conducting surveys to your broader audience, asking them why they follow your brand and what types of content they’d like to see in the future. You can also monitor your analytics more closely, evaluating which actions your followers take after becoming familiar with your brand (such as buying specific products or visiting specific pages).
From there, you’ll need to experiment with different types of content and different voices until you find combinations that work for each of your segments.
Applying Your Segments
Of course, you’ll also need to ensure those segments are getting your content appropriately. You can apply your marketing segments on social media with the following:
- Audience filtering. Many social media platforms now offer the ability to target specific audience segments—especially if you’re utilizing paid advertising. You may be able to target users based on age, location, or specific interests, or based on what products they’ve been interested in in the past.
- Hashtags and posting titles. You can rely on a more manual process by using targeted titles and hashtags. For example, if you’re selling toys and you’re marketing to parents, you could use a title like “X Toys to Keep Your Child Intellectually Stimulated” or “The X Toys Kids Want Most This Holiday Season” to market to two completely different audiences. Followers will selectively engage with whichever title appeals most to them.
- Separated accounts. If you want to get serious about marketing to your different segments, you could create a completely segmented account. This requires more work upfront and more ongoing management, so it’s not feasible to do if you have many segments to target. For one or two additional segments and a big enough audience, it could be perfect. Just make sure you’re using them under a single brand umbrella if you want to limit confusion and ensure a consistent overall tone of voice.
- Segmented lists. You could also use social media as a way to segment your audience into different email subscription lists, where you can manage them further. The idea here is to use targeted titles or phrases to encourage visits to different landing pages, where you’ll then collect email addresses in multiple different lists.
The better you understand your demographics’ motivations in following your brand, the more opportunities you’ll have to market to them specifically. It takes time to truly understand those audience segments, and write content that they’ll appreciate, but when successful, you’ll break away from the competition and nurture more engagement with your most loyal followers.
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