Suppose you’ve started a new job in the marketing and communications of a non-profit organization. They have all the usual channels set up and your job is to improve engagement.
The first rule in creating compelling content is to know who the target audience is. Who are the people who see your content and what interests them? What are their problems and concerns? What characteristics do they share?
Email marketing makes it easy to create segments based on user activity. For example, if they open or click on your email. You can even keep track of the topics they are most interested in and other data about them in the record if there is already a reasonable CRM system.
But what about your organization’s followers on social media? You don’t get the same type of data on a personal basis from social media companies. Segmentation to your followers on organic social media is also limited.
On Facebook, for example, pages can only share posts to “top fans” or restrict posts by certain demographics such as location, age, and some interests. You get more options when you spend money on ads. But you really don’t have the ability to catalog, segment, and target people directly in the same way you can with email marketing.
That is, in order for you to do good marketing work on social media as well, it is even more important to get a feel for the types of people who are following your channels right now.
Here are some easy ways (that won’t bankrupt you) to learn about your followers:
Get to know the audience insights tools for each platform
Each social media platform provides you with basic demographic data under insights or analytics tab or tool.
Usually, the advertising tools on each platform give you more details. For example, if you go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience-insights/people and analyze people who are linked to your page, you will get more details beyond the information you will get under “Insights> People” in the page’s management interface.
You can see the status of the relationship, the level of education, what other pages they like best, location by city, how often they use Facebook, and what type of devices.
Is all this information usable? Yes. It may not be clear to you at first, but over time this familiarity will make you better marketers for your audience.
Go to any platform and see what you will find. Then compare them. Do you see patterns or trends, for example, one gender or age group that follow you on one channel more than another? Do you see anything interesting related to buying behavior or other demographics?
Data is always a force, and especially for marketers – even in the world of Non-Profits.
Keep track of the topics or types of publications that get the best engagement
Sometimes you can deduce who your followers are by the type of content that gets the most engagement.
This is definitely not perfect, but you may find that people prefer “basic” content over more “sophisticated” content (or vice versa). From this, you can conclude that your social followers are new to the job or their issue if they like the more basic content. Or they may be more experienced if they like the more in-depth content.
Or you may find that topics or types of posts are much more interesting. Do posts about using your services get more involved or do posts about your work results get more resonance?
The first may indicate that participants in your programs are following you, while the second may indicate donors following you. Combined with other information available from running programs and services or meeting with your donors at events, you may be able to make informed guesses about your audience on social media.
Analyze what your most involved followers are publishing
This only works on more public platforms (i.e. Twitter and Instagram and not Facebook). You can see who likes or responds to your posts.
Click on their accounts and see the type of content they post and who else they are following. What types of hashtags do they use? And in what style do they write? Should you adopt the style?
Survey your followers
You can create a poll in your favorite survey tool and then share it on social media. Use a unique link for each social media platform so you can sort the survey results. Keep them short and focus on the individual questions that are most important to you.
If available, simple built-in features can be used. For example, use Instagram story surveys to understand preferences and interests.
Follow the behavior of the followers on your site
It’s a little more complicated, but if you’re already paying for ads to drive traffic to your corporate site, you’ve probably installed the tracking codes (called ‘tag’ on Twitter and ‘pixels’ on Facebook) from the site’s social media platforms.
You can then create custom audiences or groups of customers on social media sites based on which specific pages they visited on your site.
Again, you connect here some pretty loose points, but it’s better than nothing. For example, if you find that many of your Twitter followers have visited the site pages created for donors compared to pages that are more used by your program participants, you can assume that more donors are likely to follow you on Twitter.
I hope this list will help you better understand who is following your posts. Do you have any more ideas? Feel free to share.