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To Succeed At Social Media, Know Your Audience

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Identifying Your Target Demographic Can Make All the Difference

If you're like any other smart small business owner, you're probably all over social media. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. And if you're not, you should be.

The problem you might run into when you're getting involved in all the many (too many?) social sites these days is that your audience can be extremely diverse depending on what platforms you're on. And for that reason, you'll probably need to think more about everyone's favorite marketing word: Messaging.

Think about it this way: Who do you know that's on Facebook? Odds are, since the site is up to more than a billion users worldwide, the answer is "almost everyone." Your grandmother probably has a profile (and posts way too many stories about the government) and every kid you know probably is too. For this reason you might want to play it a little safe on Facebook. You can get creative, but getting too "edgy" — which can sometimes be a different way of saying "interesting" — one way or the other could end up turning some people off.

On the other hand, think about Twitter and who you know on that site. It's mostly younger people, right? Teens, and those in their 20s and 30s, seem to love Twitter and make up a significant percentage of its user base. That means that on Twitter you might be free to use a little bit of a different tone, but you may not reach as many people. That's definitely something you'll need to think about.

Of course, because your business probably appeals to some demographics more than others, focusing on the social networks those types of people use is probably wise. For instance, if a large part of your customer base is people in their 50s or older, you probably already know that Facebook (again, the catch-all) and LinkedIn are their favorite social networks. But if you're focused on young people, having a LinkedIn account probably doesn't do a lot for you. How many teenagers do you think are using LinkedIn? There's probably about three of them. And they probably signed up accidentally.

The key thing when you're using social media is getting your audience to share your posts, so making them as funny or interesting as possible to that specific type of person is hugely important. Try to picture your average customer checking an update on their phone: What's their reaction? If it's not "I want to share this," maybe you need to reevaluate what you're posting.

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