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How To Find Your Audiences Online

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How to find your people online no matter your business niche

A lot of business owners come to me struggling with where, and how, they can find their audiences online.

First of all, let’s be clear about something.

Your people are not just your customers and clients. They’re your peers, the influencers in your industry, suppliers, and all sorts of other people that will be able to help you.

Honestly, best practices for finding and reaching your people vary widely by channel. Although many digital networks have similarities, Facebook is different from Twitter, Pinterest is different from Instagram, and so on…

Which is why I’ve done all the hard work for you and broken the different tactics down by platform.

You’re welcome.

Before we get stuck in, remember the golden rule.

When selecting which social media platforms to use for your marketing, focus on the ones where your people actually hang out, because that’s where you’re going to get the results. I suggest you pick one or two and then… be consistent, show up, and take action

The first thing we need to do in order to find our people online is to decide who those people are. Do not skip this step or this will all be for nothing!

This is the process I walk my clients through when we put together their business strategies:

Create a picture of who these people are by writing down everything you know about them. You can do this multiple times for the different strands of your audience.

Pay particular attention to their BEFORE and AFTER. Look at their struggles, pain points and problems BEFORE they buy from you. Then create their reality AFTER they buy from you. How do they feel? What’s their life like? What’s better?

Spend time on this and get really clear.

  • What is their age, gender, and location?
  • What do they do?
  • What do they love?
  • What do they read?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are the benefits they’ll see in working with you?

Once you’ve discovered who your people really are, you need to be prepared to pivot away from who you want your target audience to be, and towards who they really are, depending on what you find out in your analysis.

Now that’s out of the way, we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty, practical ways of finding your people – so get ready to take action.

How to find your people on Facebook

First of all, there are no official ‘rules’ here. If you’re interested in trying out something that you think might work for your business, by all means, go ahead! Facebook is changing all the time and experimentation can work really well on this platform.

Step #1 Define who your people are on Facebook

Having said that, the best place to start is by looking at who you are engaging with already on Facebook.

Think back to the picture of your people you created earlier. Look at your analytics to see if the data supports your assumptions about exactly who they are.

Simply go to ‘Insights’ in the top menu bar. What we care about is data on our fans, under the ‘People’ link. Finally, we have a tab for ‘People Engaged’ – the Holy Grail when it comes to social media marketing strategies. This will give you a really clear picture of who your people are in reality. You might land on a goldmine here by realising a completely different gender or age group are interested in your business.

Step #2 Find out what your people’s other interests are

Taking advantage of the Facebook Audience Insights tool removes the guesswork from your research. There is a simple approach to know which interests work for your business:

“If person likes <interest>, then he/she may likely buy my product.”

For example, say you’re selling your services as a wellness coach and you’ve done well so far with women who are interested in holistic health. You might then decide to target women who are into yoga. This is how you would go about that:

In the Facebook Audience Insights tool, type the ‘base interest’. Categories that work well might include:

* Events (Wellness festivals like Wanderlust)

* Organizations (Lululemon)

* Personalities/Public Figures (Yoga with Adriene)

* Publications (Yoga Journal)

* Websites (Mind Body Green)

Then go to the ‘Page Likes’ tab, and you’ll see there the list of pages liked by your target audience. This will be your pool of options.

I suggest testing your base interests with a paid ad (start small with a few £ per day) run for 3-5 days to see what has the most interest and click-through.

Step #3 Guest post on pages your people like

Facebook Social Graph is Facebook’s search engine found on the top of your screen.

Try searching for pages liked by your ideal people (in the specific location you’re operating in unless you run an onine business). So for example, you might search for ‘women who like yoga in London’.

When we know what pages our people like, we know where to find them.

Identify at least 10 pages you want to target using this method and make sure each of these pages are active with plenty of engagement on their posts.

Then you can look through these pages and find out if any of them allow guest posts – free or paid. For the pages that do, post top-notch information that will drive your target people back over to your Facebook business page and, if you impress them, to your website to check out more of what you’re offering.

Alternatively, comment on posts on these pages with meaningful, relevant thoughts.

Step #4 Join Groups where your people hang out

Groups get a lot of newsfeed visibility and definitely much more than pages. This simply means that you will get more people in those groups to see what you have to offer.

Tip: find groups that would be of interest to your people, not groups that you’d want to be in for your own development.

Don’t just go into these groups trying to promote yourself and sharing transparent “high value” posts. Instead, focus on building true connections and looking for opportunities to help people when they ask questions relevant to your niche.

Step #5 Target a Lookalike Audience with a Facebook ad

A Lookalike Audience is just what it sounds like. Facebook will take a segment of users that you specify and create an audience of users with similar interests and demographics.

You can create a lookalike audience with:

  • Your Facebook page
  • Your email list
  • Visitors to your website

To get started, go into your account’s Ad Manager. From here you can create an audience using ‘Custom Audience’ and upload your data. Facebook will then create an audience similar to your current people – pretty snazzy.

Step #6 Jump on a Facebook Live

Facebook Lives are a fantastic way to get bigger reach on your page, get in front of new people (by asking your viewers to share the live) AND direct them to a web page, product, opt-in etc.

My engagement and reach shot up when I increased my lives, and I’ve found them to be a fantastic way to bring more people to my virtual doorstep.

How to find your people on Instagram

Step #1 Define who your people are on Instagram

Just like with your Facebook strategy, start by challenging your assumptions of who exactly your people are on Instagram. Chances are, your target audience is larger and more diverse than you think.

Aim to understand the conversation your people are having on Instagram. What does the conversation look like around your industry and target topics (not just your brand) on social today? Who is talking, who is driving the bulk of the conversation, and what is everyone saying?

Expand your focus beyond topics related to your brand: once you identify a popular Instagram user discussing topics relevant to your niche, dive into their profile to understand what they care about on a general level. It’s important to understand the whole person, not just the parts that directly connect to your business.

Step #2 Follow appropriate hashtags

Using Instagram’s hashtag follow feature is perfect for targeting niche communities and delving deeper into the specific worlds they find appealing.

  • First, make it a priority to know which topics and hashtags are trending with your people, on Instagram and across other social networks and forums. 
  • Follow industry event hashtags that are relevant to your audience.
  • Use the ‘Related’ Instagram hashtags that Instagram recommends. They appear at the top of your search results. If they are relevant to you, write them down.

Step #4 Play around with Instagram Stories

If you’re not using Instagram Stories yet, why not!? More than half of Instagram’s 500 million daily active users are on Instagram Stories.

They’re absolutely fab for interacting more deeply with your people, generating greater engagement, and staying top-of-mind (and top-of-feed).

What’s more, Stories are ‘discoverable’ which means that people who don’t follow you can find you through those posts. Plus, they’re really fun!

Step #5 Work with influencers in your niche

The stats show that Instagram influencers are the sixth most effective in influencing purchases – this is HUGE!

So, consider investing in an influencer strategy to reach more of your people. Influencers are your way into the communities (and likely buyers) that you’re not reaching today.

Begin by defining your goal: What would a successful campaign look like to you? What do you expect from the influencers? Do you want them to help raise brand awareness or to help drive more sales?

Then decide how you will you keep track of your performance to ensure that you’re reaching your goal. For example, the number of social media impressions, reach, click-through, etc. These will help you measure the level of brand awareness raised by influencers.

How to find your people on LinkedIn

Step #1 Define who your people are on LinkedIn

With a Premium (or paid) account you can see every user who visits your profile. However, you can see the people who have interacted with your posts no matter what type of subscription you have.

Under ‘Profile’ click ‘Who’s Viewed My Profile’. Then choose the ‘Who’s Viewed Your Articles’ tab. You can filter the results by who’s liked or commented on your content. These users are clearly eager to engage – if they’re not already customers, send them an email!

LinkedIn Demographics break down your audience by industry, job title, and location, letting you know exactly who reads your content. Most importantly, Demographics clearly answers the question: are your posts are reaching their intended audience? If you are trying to reach a certain group, for example, founders and business owners in the Health, Wellness, and Fitness industry, LinkedIn post analytics let you see at a glance if your content resonates with them.

Step #2 Use the ‘Advanced Search’ tool

LinkedIn offers a suite of advanced search features that can help you find your people and understand more about who they are.

Try advanced search for finding people by school, company, location, and job title. Or, if you have LinkedIn Premium, try the Advanced Search Features which allows you to refine your results by picking the Groups, Years of experience, Function, Industry, Company size and interests.

Step #3 Look at the ‘People Also Viewed’ sidebar

Don’t you wish you could clone your best customers? Well, turns out you can with the ‘People Also Viewed’ sidebar.

Visit the profile of one of your people and then look to the right. The ‘People Also Viewed’ box shows other users similar to your contact. You’ve just magically turned one prospect into several.

Step #4 Reach out to people in new roles

When a person takes on a new role, they are more open to shaking things up with a new product or service purchase. Swoop in at the right time, and you could land yourself a new customer.

To determine which of your connections has recently joined a new company, click the ‘Keep in Touch’ button under the ‘Connections’ tab. Voila! You can add a handful of new prospects to your list – just make sure to reach out sooner rather than later.

Step #5 See who is commenting on your network’s posts

Next time you’re browsing your activity feed, don’t gloss over the comments underneath your connections’ posts. Many of the people interacting with your prospects and customers will be potential good fits for your product – and they’re clearly active on LinkedIn.

Plus, their comments are the perfect jumping-off point for forming a real connection around the topics you both care about.

How to find your people on Pinterest

Step #1 Define who your people are on Pinterest

(Getting the picture about why this first step is so important now?) With Pinterest, if you have a (free) business account, you can get a picture of the people you are connecting by using Analytics (find it in the top-left corner of the screen and select Audience).

View the Demographics tab to see pertinent information about your audience, including where people are from, their gender and the languages they speak.

Once you have a good understanding of who your Pinterest audience is, you’ll be able to create relevant content for them. 

Step #2 Discover and appeal to your people’s preferences

Check out your Pinterest analytics to see your best-performing pins and boards, discover how people are engaging with them, and what their other interests are.

Knowing what other interests your audience members have can help you create content that’s more relevant to the audience you have on Pinterest, helping you find them quicker.

Try to find ways to incorporate your audience’s other interests into your content. For example, if you run a food website but notice that a large percentage of your audience is also interested in travel, you can create pins like or “Healthy snacks when you’re on the go” or “How to eat like a local around the world”.

The more you adapt your content to appeal to your target audience on Pinterest, the better you’ll be able to connect with them.

Step #3 Help your people find you with SEO

Though Pinterest users will often scroll through their main feed or the feeds of selected topics, I want you to start thinking about Pinterest as a search engine your people use to find content they’re interested in. It’s important to add relevant tags and keywords to your pins.

Create boards for all of the broad topics someone might search for in your niches, and write comprehensive descriptions for each one. Make sure you include long-tail keywords (which are longer, more specific phrases) as well as keywords that people will search for to find you. The same goes for your pin descriptions too.

This will help your people find your content when they’re searching or browsing through feeds of a related category.

How to find your people on Twitter

Step #1 Define who your people are on Twitter

To define who your people are on Twitter you’re going to find out who mentions your brand the most and responds to the content you’re putting out there most frequently.

Do this by:

  • Finding the hashtags most often used in tandem with your owned hashtag or brand handle, then searching those hashtags on Twitter to source ideas for your content calendar and to better understand what your people care about.
  • Using a listening solution to find out specifically who is talking about your brand: their age, gender, and geographic location.
  • Publishing content on a schedule that will hit them at the right times. Run analysis then modify your Twitter calendar to publish content at the times when your audience is active on the network.

Step #2 Use third-party tools to find new people

Make life easier for yourself by finding new people using third-party tools. One of the first places to start your search for relevant people is at one of the many Twitter directories out there.

Here are some to get you going:

  • ManageFlitter (bio searches, keeping track of followers)
  • Socedo (collects and analyses millions of tweets each day, allowing you to find your people based on conversational and biographical keywords found in their Twitter pages and LinkedIn profiles)
  • Klear (simple interface allows you to find key figures in any niche for influencer targeting)

Step #3 Leverage other people’s Twitter lists

A great source for new people to connect with is other people’s curated Twitter lists.

Twitter users often create lists or subscribe to other people’s lists to improve their signal-to-noise ratio. As long as people make their lists public, you are free to subscribe to them, quickly getting access to dozens or hundreds of vetted Twitter users.

Step #4 Use the advanced Twitter search

Twitter’s Advanced Search is great for finding people on Twitter via the keywords or hashtags in their tweets, the people mentioned in their tweets or by their location.

You can search for terms related to your business, product or services. And if you have a location-specific product or campaign, you can narrow your search by location.

For example, if we go back to the wellness coach looking for yogis to sign up for a coaching package, we might search for could search for ‘women talking about yoga or wellness in London’.

How to find your people in other online corners

Are your people all about YouTube or obsessed with podcasts? Maybe Snapchat is where they play, or they prefer the longer-form content of blogs.

Knowing this information is pivotal if you want to reach them. The listening and analysing you’ve done on your other platforms will help you discover where else your people hang out online.

Here are a few more ideas to help attract the right people your way:

  • Pitch yourself as a podcast guest, guest blogger or YouTube interviewee to someone in a complimentary niche – you’ll get yourself in front of a ready-made, relevant audience.
  • Read online industry publications and haunt the comment threads… engaging in conversations with the people who are there too.
  • Consider a joint venture with a connection who works with your ideal people (but who does something different to you). Make it an irresistible opportunity for the both of you.
  • Start your own online community and offer other experts the opportunity to come and do high-value guest spots.

Finally…

If people know who you are, connect with your story, and feel the passion in everything you do, they’ll be excited to work with you or purchase your products. They’ll come back to you again and again, and refer you to their friends as a go-to in your niche.

When it comes to finding your people online, stay focused on who they really are and how you’re serving them. The results will follow.

 

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