The phrase “know your audience” is so ubiquitous in marketing it has almost lost meaning. When that happens, it’s easy to get complacent about your marketing strategy. You did the work once, right? It wasn’t that long ago, it’s probably fine.
If any of that sounds familiar, it’s probably time to sit down and be honest with yourself about how much you really know about them. Do you really understand your audience?
Has your engagement or activity been declining lately?
Any decrease in engagement activity could be because your content is falling flat, and that could be because your audience isn’t who you think it is. The good news is that if you catch it early, you can adjust your content plan accordingly.
So take a long, hard look at your performance lately, on your blog and across social. Do current stats compare to the same time last year? There are usually seasonal cycles in audience attention and engagement, but if you’re looking over several months (or even years) of data at a steady downward trend, it’s definitely time to be sure you’re creating content for the right people.
Which brings us to our next question.
How updated are your personas?
If it has been more than year since you last looked at your audience personas, it’s a good idea to do an evaluation and an update. You may also want to consider creating specific social channel personas. They’ll probably have some overlap with your customer/marketing personas, but you want to be sure you’re tailoring your social content for exactly the audience it is you want to reach.
If you’re updating or starting from scratch, be sure you’re building from the best data possible. You want to build personas based on:
- Your most active fans and followers: Look at who they are- where do they work, what are their job titles- and see if they fit your idea of your existing target audience. If there’s a big mismatch, you’ve probably just found the reason for any recent decline. (Bonus: Pull out any additional factors they have in common as a way to connect better. Maybe many of your most active followers also share similar hobbies. How can you connect with them over this?)
- Influencers in your industry: Take note those that you both do and don’t interact with regularly, and see if they match your idea of your existing target audience.
- Existing customers: While there’s likely some overlap between this category and the first one, it will be especially important to pay attention to the customers who have maybe engaged with you once or twice on social but aren’t your most active fans and followers. Why not? Is there something more you can do to engage them? What need can you fill that you’re currently missing for them?
- Past customers: Is there a past customer who used to interact with you frequently and then stopped? Did they also take their business elsewhere? Do you know why? Try to figure out as much as you can; this can be a painful process but it will be worth it in the end to see what you can do better. And hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes twice!
Now that you’ve pulled the data and built out specific and separate personas, match them all up with your target audience in each place. If they don’t match, what do you need to adjust? How can you create content to attract the target audience you’re going for?
You may also want to consider that you’re aiming for the wrong target audience and adjust there accordingly.