I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve run into social media marketers and they automatically want to know about traffic generation. Forget about niche research, forget about consumer intelligence, don’t worry about setting up the right site to get in front of the right target audience’s eyeballs.
Let’s just skip straight to the “good stuff”. That’s the kind of mindset that I run into all the time, and that’s why a lot of people struggle in this game.
You have to understand that until and unless you find yourself barking up the right tree, you’re just going to be chasing your tail. I know I’m using a lot of dog analogies, but these are the most appropriate. Most people are simply just chasing their tails and wasting a whole lot of time doing stuff that doesn’t really add to their bottom line.
A lot of these, and I would guess all of them, can be quickly dispensed with if people only did niche targeting ahead of time. In other words, know your audience. Since you have a clear profile of who your target audience is, the next step is to go to these different social media platforms and find them there.
Believe it or not, whatever it is you are promoting, regardless of how esoteric, obscure or weird it may be, there are already people on social media platforms talking about or showing interest in whatever you are promoting, I know, it sounds crazy, it sounds weird, but it’s absolutely true. Your job as a marketer is to find those audiences on these social media platforms.
The way to do this, of course, is to identify your business’ target audience. Sadly, most marketers don’t even bother with this. Instead, they just look at social media marketing as a simple task of finding traffic. That’s it. That’s the name of the game. That’s all there is to it. If you want to be successful, you need to be clear about who your target audience is.
And believe me, this is not always easy. You’re going to run into the temptation of making “educated guesses” about who your target audience members are.
Most of the time, that doesn’t work. Thankfully, there is an easier way. The more you take random shots in the dark, making all sorts of wild guesses, the more money and time you will lose.
There is a shortcut here: Find your competitors. Seriously. Just find them. And, let me tell you, regardless of how weird, esoteric or seemingly “unknown” your niche is, there will at least be one competitor on social media.
Find that organization or business and let them do your niche and target audience research for you. Since they’ve already started and they are already speaking to your audience, find out who your competitors are and look at their social media profiles.
Reverse engineer who they’re following. Pay attention to who they’re targeting. Look at how they categorize themselves. In the most simplest terms, pay attention to the hashtags they use with their content.
These clues should be enough to give you an idea of where to start. This way, you get a head start. You’re not completely stuck in the dark and absolutely clueless as to what to do. Instead, you have some objective tried and proven information you could work with.
Pick Your Target Niche
You have to remember that every business can be positioned in at least one of two ways. The bigger your niche, the more angles you would have at your disposal. You can look at different sub-segments of your niche.
You need to understand how this works because you might think you have a clear niche, but it may well turn out that there are many different layers or tiers to that niche. There might be different sub-segments there.
You should have a clear understanding of what your niche is generally, and what sub-segments exist within that larger niche. Again, you can reverse engineer your competitors to take a stab at this. Regardless, you need to do this. You need to get this information.
Now that you have an idea of what your target niche is, go to the different platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Now, look at whether these places have sizable content areas or messaging areas like Facebook pages, groups, Google Plus communities, Twitter hashtags, Pinterest Pinboards, and existing YouTube channels.
Pay attention to these places and see if your niche is big enough on those different platforms. If you notice that a particular platform doesn’t really feature that much content for your specific niche, this is a red flag. The demand may not be there. The audience size might not be worth your while.
On the other hand, if you see there’s a lot of videos regarding the topics that you’re going to be hitting, this may be a good sign. But you need to do another level of analysis. Pay attention to the number of competitors you have.
If there seems to be a huge number of competitors fighting over the same niche, then this is going to be a problem. But if it turns out that there’s a lot of content targeting your niche, but they’re only produced by a handful of people or organizations, this is an encouraging sign.
Also, pay attention to how active your target audience members are. Look at the content that’s being shared regarding your niche. Do you see a lot of engagement? Do people share this stuff? Is the hashtag quite prevalent?
Look for these and other objective indicators of activity. When you wrap your mind around these indicators, then you should have a clear idea of whether you should target your niche at a particular platform or whether you should ignore a platform altogether.
List Out Your Niche Indicators
While you’re doing reverse engineering, pay attention to how your niche is indicated on platforms. These involve hashtags, categories, keyword targets, labeling patterns, and tags. Use these to do the analysis I described above.
Again, in any niche, there are sub-niches, so your goal here is to find a sub-niche or a way of positioning your content so you don’t run into a ridiculous amount of competition.
You’re still tapping into a sizable pool of demand, but you’re not making things impossible for yourself by running headlong into well entrenched professional competition. You will probably need to keep experimenting with different sub-niches until you find one that is promising enough.