What is Social Media Audience Segmentation?
Published 02/11/2021
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Social media segmentation is an approach to consumer segmentation based on social media consumer data. It’s the process of dividing your social media audience’s key characteristics like shared interests, online behaviour, affinities and conversations into smaller segments.
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Users share an unprecedented amount of data online—every minute they post 300k+ new stories on Instagram, 147k+ new photos on Facebook, 500 hours of video on YouTube. As a business, you can use this information to understand your audience and target consumers better than pre-social-media marketers ever could.


But how do you make sense of so much data?


With social media audience segmentation.


In this post, we’ll explore exactly how social media audience segmentation works and how your brand can use it to power a data-driven marketing strategy.


What Is Social Media Audience Segmentation?


Social media segmentation is an approach to consumer segmentation based on social media consumer data. It’s the process of dividing your social media audience’s key characteristics like shared interests, online behavior, affinities and conversations into smaller segments. They are constructed based on social media data—posts, interactions, follows, profile information, and connections. Social media consumer segments look at the broader market, not just your existing customer base.


Why Is Social Media Audience Segmentation Important?


Social media is a treasure trove of information about your current and potential customers. But, you might be asking yourself:


Do I really need this data?


Here’s why the answer is yes:


Traditional consumer segmentation uses demographic information like gender, age brackets, or household income levels. However, this overlooks significant aspects of who consumers are and what kind of content they would best respond to.


It also lacks contextual information. For instance, you might find out that your low-carb pasta sells better among 30-to 34-year-old women, but it doesn’t explain how the group’s identity is expressed and how it plays out in the marketplace.


Is it because they are looking to lose weight? Are these mothers who want healthier alternatives for their children? Are some of them interested in the ketogenic diet and its health benefits?


Ultimately, social media audience segmentation is about providing a unique and exclusive experience to consumers at every step of the journey. And, it works:

When Nespresso wanted to tell its sustainability story, it used sub-audiences within the eco-friendly community. By targeting them with tailored messaging, they increased social media engagement by 68%.


Danone switched to ‘tribes’ for segmentation, grouping people by their passions, and it boosted ad recall by 40%. Discover how you can understand the tribes in your audience here.


Are you ready for powerful segmentation through social media? Here is how to do it.


How To Conduct Social Media Audience Segmentation?


There is so much data on social media that it can be overwhelming when you’re first getting started. Fortunately, segmenting your social media audience doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.


Here’s how you can segment your social media audience:


Go where your customers hang out. Learn about the demographics of each platform and leverage them. For instance, Pinterest has more female users, TikTok attracts a younger crowd, LinkedIn is a space for career-related social content. The trick is to use the correct channel for each segment based on their past activity and attributes.


Use audience filtering to narrow down target users. Facebook lets you post to specific people based on their location. When you opt for paid advertising there are much more advanced options available for audience filtering, such as lookalike audiences and excluding your existing customer list.


Leverage social media groups. Building a community around your page fosters a personal connection with followers and creates a space for them to share opinions and concerns. LinkedIn and Facebook are especially suited for leveraging social groups and the groups can be closed or open.


Post at the right time for different audiences. If you have clients across time zones, it makes sense to adjust your posting to reach the most people in your target countries.


Choose the right audience analysis tool. Taking the above steps begins with accurate segmentation, and this is where audience analysis tools like Audiense come in. By its nature, audience data is fragmented. It comes from multiple channels, there are various subtypes of followers, the information is abundant but not organized.


An audience analysis tool will filter through the information on social media to give you marketing personas you can then target. The personas are fictional people—not real customers and they represent your target audience. You will learn about your audience’s demographics, interests, influencers they follow, affinities and more. This will help guide everything from your brand voice to the social channels you use.


Audience intelligence software breaches the gap between raw information and actionable insight. It helps you make marketing decisions to connect with your current and potential clients in a more efficient, meaningful way.


What Are the Benefits To Segmenting Your Social Media Audience?


Data-driven marketing comes with multiple benefits for brands and their audiences. The main perks of segmenting your social audience include:


Target the correct prospects as sponsors


When organizations identify social consumer segments to engage with, it’s easier for them to pair with a sponsor that aligns with their values and social audience. By asking questions like: Are the regular seats consistently sold out over the higher-end option seats? Do a large part of my audience love to travel or do they prefer to attend events that are based locally? Organizations are able to use social media data to explore the difference between these types of customers to create social consumer segments. This allows them to create targeted sponsorship campaigns that drive sponsorship revenue, increase ticket sales, improve marketing ROI and expand knowledge of fans and their motivations.


Unearth new opportunities with in-depth insights


Demographics only scratch the surface, as David Boyle from audiencestrategies.com explains “basic demographics is a terrible way to describe people”. He believes that it’s an inefficient method to decide what products and services to market to people, and instead prefers segmentation based on needs, as it’s like “waving a magic wand over the data and watching insightful groups of people emerged as a result”. Meaning, rather than dividing audiences only by their age group, gender and location, data derived from social media looks at their interests, affinities, connections, values, etc. This provides brands with a complete picture of who their audience is and allows them to identify radically different needs and behaviors—providing insights like areas of improvement, customer related problems and which customers have the highest potential value. In return, these insights can be used to customize content and uncover new market opportunities.


Relevant marketing campaigns


Social media helps take the guesswork out of marketing. The better you understand your customer base, the better you can tailor your marketing strategy to create audience-segment-centric strategies. When you use social data, you get predictable results, and decision-making becomes much easier. While a generic marketing message (“Buy our product!”) rarely sticks, targeted advertising makes people feel seen—and it boosts conversions in the process. This deepens customer relationships and builds loyalty.


The bottom line


Social media audience segmentation is a game changer for brands that want to go beyond basic demographics and deeply tune into their consumer’s needs. Using social media data they can gather information, organize it into segments, and then turn it into marketing insights that drive market growth.


Try Audiense Insights for free to leverage social media data to reach unexplored niches, segments and create targeted campaigns.

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About The Author

Audiense is the world’s pioneering Audience Intelligence platform, helping marketers and consumer researchers to be innovative and develop relevant audience-centric strategies through proprietary social consumer segmentation.

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