Knowing your audience is one of the most important aspects of social media marketing.
Let’s be real, though. It’s one of the most important things in marketing overall. In writing, too, for that matter. And public speaking. But sometimes with social media for brands, we focus on who our audience should be and talk to them. We imagine the same demographics from our website apply to all social channels when things like Facebook’s updated Insights can give us plenty of . . . insight (there’s just no other way to say it) into who our audience really is, and how they’re actually interacting with us.
In the days of yore, Facebook just told brand pages how many new likes their page had each week, what cities those likes came from, and some basic age and gender demographics. Once promoted posts became a thing, Facebook started to give very specific statistics about how many fans each post reached (and how you could reach more if you’d just boost that post!).
There are now six tabs in Facebook insights: Overview, Likes, Reach, Visits, Posts, and People. While the Overview, Likes, Reach, and Visits sections all have a wealth of great information, for the sake of focusing on who your audience as opposed to how many, we’re going to focus on the last two.
“What is the best time to post?” It’s a question we get asked a lot. And while there are a lot of general statistics out there about when to post, it really depends on your audience. For example, take a look at these two screenshots from two very different brand pages’ Insights below:
Aside from the fact that these two pages have vastly differing fan base sizes, they also come from different industries. Across the majority of our clients’ pages, 3:00AM is a pretty constant low-point, and 9:00PM is a consistent high-point for when people are online. However, if we were to just say “Great! Let’s always post in the evening,” we’d be missing those early-rising business types apparent in the second page. And there are probably brands out there that need to cater to those 3:00AM night-owls. Knowing exactly when your fans are online gives you the advantage of posting just before that timeframe so you can maximize your post’s visibility.
“Photo posts get the most clicks now, right?” Another question we hear a good deal, and it’s no wonder with the Visual Web and all that. If people didn’t respond to images so strongly, Twitter wouldn’t have integrated thumbnails into their feed and Facebook wouldn’t have increased the size of their link thumbnails. But again, let’s look at two pages side by side again.
These show us exactly what we might expect to see: visual posts blow away the lonely status. It’s important to note that of these pages have relatively young audiences (the majority is 25-44 year-old range), because of the graph below.
Who prefers statuses over photos? Well, we won’t generalize, but the audience of this particular page has a majority of the demographic in the 45-64 year-old range, with over half being female. Does this mean older women don’t like photos? Definitely not. Does it mean they might be more willing to read a status without any other visual asset and interact with it? Seems so!
So how do you know who know who you’re actually dealing with? Check out the People tab. Not only will Insights tell you the demographics of your page, but it’ll show you how you line up with the rest of Facebook’s demographics in general. This is where your information is going to be the most unique.
So many young dudes.
And here, so many mature women.
But these are just the people who saw the posts. Who interacted with them? Click over to the next tab “People Engaged” to find out.
The first, male-dominated page has almost the same exact numbers. So the 25-34 year-old age-group is not only the biggest chunk of the fans, but they’re also the most active, which means the page’s messaging is right on target.
Our lady-centric page has similar numbers for engagement as people reached, but our 55-64 year-old age-group is actually more active than the 45-54 even though there are less of them. The target demographic for this page is really 35-64, so while the older end of the spectrum is stronger than should normally be expected for a Facebook page, there’s plenty of room for growth in the 35-44 group.
So what to do with all this knowledge? Delve into it. Take a look at your numbers and see if they’re what you expected. If not, you probably need to change your messaging, whether that means including more straight-up statuses or videos, or reaching out to a slightly different age-group.
And if you’re at a loss on how to do that. . .Facebook would love for you to remember you can target a very specific audience through ads!