I have been talking to non-profits and others who want to use social media. Some say, “We have to have a Facebook page.” Or others say, “I have a Facebook page, with a few followers.” Or some even talk about hardware, computers or what type of phone or mobile device they use. And so on.
But what practically no one says, “I am trying to reach my volunteers.” Or “I want this kind of donor.” (People do know this when asked, but it is not foremost in their minds.)
I think these well-meaning non-profit leaders have the wrong focus, or you might say, an incorrect approach. The answer is not in the hardware, software or platform. The answer is people.
People – living breathing humans with thoughts, feelings and actions – are your audience. That should be your primary and relentless focus.
For any type of communications to work, the audience (often called the target audience) needs to be square in your mind. Also, you need to create a list of the characteristics of the subgroups of that amorphous crowd.
Here are a few questions you could ask yourself (or your team), that fall under the “Who do we want to reach?” category.
- Are they old or young? Teens or young professionals? Middle managers or entrepreneurs?
- Educated or not?
- Parents or not parents?
- Wealthy? Average income?
- Where do they live? Are you thinking of a particular geography, such as city, state, region?
- Men or women?
- Interests, hobbies or affiliations?
- Do they travel or stay home?
- And so on…
You understand where I am going with this. These elements can shape your audience in your mind and help you to strategize about reaching them.
One trick you can do is build a profile of a typical member of the group. For example, a female teen who lives in Princeton, loves sports and drawing. Where would she hang out online?
Do some research about which social media types that your target audience uses. For example, youth might use newer, trendier platforms such as SnapChat or Tumblr. Younger folks might use more visual platforms, while seniors might be found elsewhere.
If you research both your intended audience and social networks they use, your efforts just might be more effective.
Here’s a link to get you started. Pew Internet & American Life has tons of research on people’s use of social media and technology in general.
Next time, I will cover how to evaluate a particular social media platform and determine if it fits your audience.