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Discover Your Audience’s Social Media Preferences

By Karyn Greenstreet

When you want to connect with your audience and find prospects for your mastermind group or other products/services, social media offers many benefits. You can post your articles on social media sites, chat with your audience, and teach via live video. However, if you attempt to be highly active on all social media sites, you’ll spend your entire day toggling between them!

Instead, target your energy to those sites where your audience hangs out the most.

But which social media sites should you focus on?

One easy way is use sharing statistics to guide you. Here’s how:

  1. Select several blogs in your industry or in the topics you cover in your mastermind group. For instance, several members of Synergy are looking for project managers as members for their groups. So I googled “project management blogs” and found several Top 10 Blog lists. Look for the most popular blogs and blog posts, as they’re more likely to be shared via social media.
  2. Explore each blog, looking for one thing: do they use sharing buttons on each blog post which allows readers to share the article to social media sites?
  3. Determine if each sharing button set includes tallies of how many times the blog post was shared on each social media site. If it does, look at how many times the blog post what shared for each outlet. This will give you a strong hint about where your audience hangs out.

You’ll be surprised!

For instance, my Synergy members who focus on project managers tell me that, “Project managers hang out on LinkedIn. They don’t use Facebook for their professional work.” The first blog post I found which used sharing buttons showed this:

But be careful! I thought the empty social media totals for LinkedIn and Google+ meant people didn’t share on those sites. What it really meant was that those to social media sites weren’t properly tallying for this particular set of social media buttons. (I tried to share the article via LinkedIn, and the new total never showed up next to the LinkedIn sharing button like it does for the Facebook and Twitter button.)

Since this sharing button plugin wasn’t giving me totals for each social media site, I kept searching.

I found a different project management blog post, one that totaled all the shares for each social media site. And guess what? Yes, the readers shared the article on LinkedIn as expected, but they shared even more on Facebook!

You might make assumptions because you don’t use Facebook for your professional life others won’t either, but clearly project managers do use Facebook to share project management blog post. Don’t let your personal preferences skew your choice where you do your marketing. You’ll miss out on a huge portion of your audience, as shown below:

You’ll want to double-check these numbers to be sure they’re consistent across several blogs and websites. From this one blog post, you might assume all project managers focus primarily on Facebook and LinkedIn. But perhaps this author’s audience prefers those two social media platforms — one instance doesn’t equal the entire population’s choice. Check other authors’ blogs for patterns.

Look at the totals carefully; sometimes there’s an “other” category which indicates sharing via email or smaller social media sites. This is an example from my popular blog post, What Is A Mastermind Group:

The numbers from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn clearly don’t total 35,300. But if you were to go to the actual blog post and click the green “share’ button, you’d see an array of places where people can share, including sharing via email.

Lesson learned: don’t assume you know which social media sites your audience prefers. Look at the statistics for a realistic view of their behavior.


4 thoughts on “Discover Your Audience’s Social Media Preferences”

  1. Kathy Pop says:

    Hi Karyn,
    You also have take the age of the article into account. You may want to check back or keep tabs on a newer post just to see how the shares are over time.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      Agreed, Kathy. When doing market research like this, I would have two criteria: look for articles written in the past year, and highly popular articles which have high search engine rankings. This way, even though the article is older, if it continually gets traffic to it, the statistics should be a fairly accurate reflection of social media choices.

  2. You may know this from your research, but LinkedIn and G+ no longer allow their API to be used to track share counts. That’s why more recent articles don’t reflect shares for those platforms. Twitter doesn’t either, but there is a workaround for that platform.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      That’s good to know, Denise, thanks! These folks at ProjectManager.com must have figured it out, because recent blog posts show both Facebook counts and Twitter counts.

      https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/product-backlog-sprint-backlog

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