A New Way to Understand Your Social Media Audience

Audience research is invaluable and well developed personas provide a broad array of insights into the lives and minds of your target audience, insights that form the basis for your social media plans.

Then, you put your social media plan in place, including sharing great content from others and creating your own. And you hit a fundamental disconnect. Your planning is based on your target audience, but you are measuring activity from everyone. Here are two questions that are difficult to answer.

  • Is the content you share via social media resonating with your target audience or a random audience?
  • What content is most popular with your target audience?

Faced with these questions, you are handicapped, relying on the total figures from tools like bit.ly or Hootsuite or profiles of those that retweet, share or like your updates. Site-side analytics are great for your content, but they don’t provide any site into the content you curate and share.

I’m excited to see my digital media and data background combine with social media measurement to attempt to answer these questions. Today, Bizo announced Switchboard, the first viable attempt I’ve seen to help marketers answer these questions. [No Disclaimer Needed: I buy advertising through Bizo, which means I pay them, they don't pay me, although they probably bought me lunch once].

If you curate content to share, Switchboard lets you answer the question “how do we know the content we share connects with our target audience?” With Switchboard, you see not only how many clicks you have on your content, you also see the firmagraphics, or business profile, of the audience that clicks on the links you share. Here is how you can use this information, using my own account Twitter account as an example:

My target audience is marketing. I write about and share content about B2B marketing, online advertising, content marketing and social media. The content is applicable to a wide range of companies, from individuals to enterprises, but my focus is on companies, not personal marketing. Over the last 24 hours, here are a few of the Switchboard statistics from the links I have shared via Twitter:

  • 64% of clicks are from people in marketing
  • 40% of clicks are from micro companies
  • 38% work in the marketing and advertising industry

Through Twitter, I’m reaching and sharing content that resonates with people in marketing. Given my personal target audience, that is encouraging. However, 40% are at extremely small companies, where professional and personal likely are the same. I need to expand my network and broaden the content I create and share to appeal to marketers at larger companies.

I have always seen this information as a gap, requiring faith that higher click numbers mean your content is more valuable to your target audience, not the broader social media audience it may reach, and I’m encouraged to see a first solution that addresses this gap. Now, time for me to consider what content would be better for enterprise marketers.

Your turn, have you filled this information gap in the past, or has it not been a challenge? Are there other solutions in this category I have missed? Share in the comments below.

If you are interested in testing switchboard, I understand the beta will be available at switchboard.bizo.com shortly.

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  • http://www.upgrademycredit.com Blair

    I am going to test out Switchboard. Thanks for bring it to us!

  • Marcus Schaller

    That looks like a pretty awesome little app. Thanks for sharing it Eric! (BTW, they probably owe you another lunch now)

    • http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com Eric Wittlake

      You are right, it just might be time to ask for another lunch! Thanks for the comment, I certainly like the idea and for those of us in B2B, it could be an interesting way to answer some challenging questions.

      As always, thanks for the comment and the continuing support of this blog, I really appreciate it!

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