The medium is the message. At least that’s a fun saying that marketers say. There is a lot of truth to it. But it doesn’t paint the complete picture.
In reality what you say, how you say it and, yes, where you say it are only half the battle.
To win, you need to not only focus on what you’re saying, but what the world around you is saying. In this case, the message can be found on many mediums all over the web.
You need to fine tune the way you analyze and measure what people are saying about you, your brand, your products and your competitors.
The truth really lies in the audiences you’re targeting and what they have to say about you, their problems and needs, the industry and the products and services they seek. Will you be the one to figure out what your customers really want?
You need to use these tools and resources to have a complete listening strategy that goes beyond just reading and responding. You need to be a solution.
Here are 7 quick tips to improve your online audience analysis so you can better understand your customers, prospective customers, fans and followers:
1. Use the Built-in Social Channel Insights
If you have a presence on social media, this one is a really quick win for you and your analytics team.
Hop on over to each of the channels analytics tools and familiarize yourself with the insights and various metrics that each provide. On Twitter, they have full section on their analytics dedicated to followers that give you a break down of the audiences, who they are, where they are, what they are interested in, what kinds of other brands they follow etc.
On Facebook, you can use the different audience metrics to see when your fans are online, what they are interested in, what kind of content performs well and what their purchasing habits are like. You can go even further by using Facebook IQ’s ‘People Insights’ page that will allow you to do further research on audience who are similar to those who follow you but who don’t necessarily follow you.
All the different channels have powerful social media analytics tools that give you a pretty detailed overview of who your audiences so take the time to work with your team to document all of it. This is an early step you can take to start to get to know your audiences.
2. Incorporate Google Analytics Data
Digital marketers know the power of Google Analytics. But if your team of strategists, analysts or consumer researchers haven’t been shown the magic, well you’re in for a treat.
Google knows everything.
Once you have your site set up for Analytics, you can learn all kinds of information about the people who visit your site and search for you and others like you in your industry.
If you’ve set your paid search up with the right keywords and optimized your various owned entities for SEO, your brand is well on its way to bringing in people who are looking for the solution or product you offer.
Conversely, you may be pulling in a ton of traffic, only to see much of that traffic leave without buying or finding what they were looking for.
Regardless if your traffic is qualified or not, you need to know what types of people are finding you online, analyze the data on these audience and find out if they fit your target. Only then can you continue to track and monitor the right people and deliver the value they seek.
Google Analytics tells you all about your site visitors: who they are, what demographics they belong to, what types of searches they do, what they’re interested in and what they do at work.
Use this valuable resource to better understand the online audiences you already have.
3. Monitor the Community Closely
It’s important to never lose sight of what’s happening within the community around your brand and within your industry. People will reach out directly to you on your owned channels, and in that regard you should never miss a beat.
You also need to monitor how people interact with each other on these various channels and also on your competitor channels. As you’re tracking this communication amongst the online audiences, do your research and analysis of these people to get a better understanding of these audiences.
Using social media monitoring tools like Reply by Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Sprinklr will help you keep taps on the all the ways people interact and engage your brand online. You can also use tools like Intercom, which help you monitor, engage and respond to visitors to your site. From there you can get to know those who are reaching out to you and incorporate this data into your buyer personas and target audiences.
4. Listen to the Online Community
Here’s the thing about social media channel monitoring and insights: they’re limited. As powerful as they are, they don’t tell the whole story. Data you capture from the networks themselves, or the monitoring tools connected to them, is highly important. But you can go further.
You need to listen to the community… everywhere! Not just on social channels.
There are billions of online conversations, and only a fraction of them take place on social media. Take a look at the conversation about the popular, and often talked about, Netflix series Stranger Things. Only 40% of the online discussions take place on social channels.
Social listening tools like Infegy Atlas capture the billions of online conversations in all corners of the web, analyze them, and spit out results fast, accurately in real time so you can better understand the people who are talking about you.
5. Research Your Competitors
Competitor research and analysis is a part of every marketing and advertising strategy. But when you’re trying to get to know who your online audiences are, you can use the intel you gather on the competitors to your advantage.
The people who are fans of your direct competitors or who discuss them online are exactly the types of people you want to observe and consider a part of your own strategy. So doing quality competitive analysis creates multiple opportunities, such as learning and modeling your own strategies, keeping up to date on their products and events, and seeing how well their campaigns perform.
But they also give you much-needed insights on your own prospects.
Wouldn’t benefit your team if you could steal some of those competitors customers? That’s the goal, right? Go for it!
6. Interview Your Current Clients, Customers or Fans
To understand your online audiences, you need to understand the people who have done business with you or who love you already-- which could very well mean they were (and still are) part of your online audience.
If you’re B2B or smaller business, you can reach out to your customers directly. If you’re a local store, collect people’s email addresses at the point of purchase to keep on hand. Later, you can send out an email blast with a survey or asking for feedback about their experience with your brand.
Ask specific questions like how they initially found you, what they think of your online channels, what they love about your products, what other interests they have or brands they like, what their pain points are, and their thoughts about your campaign messaging.
If you’re a large enterprise brand, use the power of social on top of emails to poll your audience.
On Twitter, you can run an actual poll in your Tweets. On Facebook or Instagram, send your audience to an online survey and offer some kind of incentive-- say a free sample of your product-- for completing the survey. This is a great opportunity because, on these channels you know they’re already experienced users of those networks.
7. Create Remarkable Content That Meets Your Ideal Customers’ Needs
This is the last on our list, but it might be the first step: Picture your ideal customer. Who are they? What do they need or want? How does your product or service meet those desires?
Your online content needs to address all of those potential problems, pain points and needs of the customers you’re trying to reach. And it needs to convey how and why you’re the best solution.
If you do these things, that will help you better understand who are your online audiences are. Are the people who discover you and talk about you online the same as those in your target? Does your marketing content speak the language of those who could potentially do business with you?
The better you connect your message or brand story with the offer, the more you’ll connect and nurture relationships with those people. If you’re putting out information designed to get clicks but they don’t relate to the solution you’re offering, it’s safe to say your audiences aren’t who you’re looking for.
Are you creating social and digital content for vanity metrics such as likes and followers? You may be getting those audience-facing numbers to go up, but if you’re strategy isn’t more focused, you’ll know one thing is for sure: your online audience is not completely who you want them to be.
Once you start creating more relevant content, you can analyze and measure your owned online audience with more accuracy.
With these 7 quick steps, you can find better data to improve your marketing strategies and audience personas. Digital marketing and audience analysis are cyclical. You create the messages, the people find you and talk about you (or buy from you!) and then you analyze them to create better messages and get more people to find you and buy from you.
Each time around the cycle, you get more precise and you gain a better understanding of who your online audiences are.
To get better audience analysis and consumer research, arm your team with the best tools.
Click here to set up a meeting with our team to get a personalized demo of our social media listening and intelligence platform to start understanding your online audiences better today.