Social Media Marketing: Why Targeting Your Market Is Crucial

target marketing social mediaWith all the Google changes and updates, social media traffic is important for quick blog traffic wins.

But to make social media marketing work effectively for you, you need to target your market.

In recruitment (I’m a former recruiter among other things) they have a saying called “spray and pray”. This means the recruiter pings out a pile of CVs without a strategy and prays that one of them gets lucky. This is usually the last resort when it comes to CV marketing.

The trouble with “spray and pray” is we all tend to do this in our own business marketing from time to time, and we shouldn’t.

No matter what type of business you have, you need a target market and speak directly to them. There are folks who want and need your products, and the goal of your marketing efforts is to connect with them. Without a clearly defined target market, you’re “spraying and praying” whilst hoping that you’ll find people who will buy. You have no real idea if you’re aiming too high, too low, or in the wrong direction entirely. And if you don’t have that information how can you adapt and tweak your social campaigns?

What Is a Target Market?

A target market is a group of people that have related characteristics and need, and to whom you direct your social media marketing and product efforts.

It’s a specific audience or a niche audience as it’s sometimes called. Target markets are defined by demographics such as age, gender, location, economic group, social status, family situation, country and the language the potential customer speaks. A few examples of businesses with target markets would be:

  • A shopping network that targets working moms over 30
  •  A resort that targets retirees or golfers
  • A store whose target market is young families
  • A clothing store that targets teens who see themselves as ‘alternative’
  • A winter sporting goods supply store that targets people in cold, northern areas
  • A blog that targets well-to-do expatriates

You’ll notice that in the examples above, not all the information is demographic. For example, take teens that see themselves as ‘alternative.’ Other factors in target markets include psychographic data, like how your audience sees / feels about themselves or see the world around them. This is just as important as demographic information.

Now we know who they are, we now need to look at targeting your social media, and why we need to laser target or drill down.

Why Laser-Target Your Market?

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.   John  Wanamaker

In social media, is no different from any other type of marketing – there is no in between. You either hit or miss.

If you don’t target your market perfectly, you’ll waste your advertising cash broadcasting your message to the wrong people. Again, to take an example above, an ad for your resort for retirees would be pretty ineffective if it showed teens snowboarding and loud punk rock music.

Your target market needs to be specific, because you can’t make everyone happy.

If your Twitter following is based on people with children they will interact with you when you share child related articles, images and videos. They’ll share related topics back with you, but if you started sharing information about cars all the time, they may change their mind and your followers will change. Share the information that your target market is looking for, it will attract them too you.

If you cast your net too wide, you’ll be speaking to people who have no interest in your products or services. They’ll just tune you out like white noise.

Benefits and Solutions

The key to successful marketing is to identify your market’s pain or problem (the very thing that’s keeping them awake at night) and offer a solution. If you know exactly who they are, you can communicate your product’s benefits and the results they can expect in a language they understand. Tell your target market of retirees that are staying at your resort, they don’t have to fight the crowds. Tell your alternative teens that they don’t need to fit in with the squares, and that it’s okay to be different. Create a video and show them that there are no crowds, show them people like themselves having fun at your venue – it’s okay if it only gets a few hundred views if the video talks to the the right people :)

When you know your audience, you can speak in their language, directly to them. Think about Twitter, knowing your audience means you can add hashtags to your tweets and reach the right communities. In blogging you can use keywords and images, as well as the language of your post to speak to your audience. Video, again helps target your audience.

One added benefit is that your target market can relate to each other. By identifying them and marketing to them, you can create a ‘tribe’ based around common interests. This is especially powerful online, you may have noticed this yourself,  where people spend a great deal of time on social networking sites, forums, and blogs, sharing information and if you reach the right people, they’ll be sharing your information.

A word of warning…

I talk a lot on this site about defining your audience, reaching your ideal reader, locating your target market because it’s important that we reach the right people with out marketing messages. When defining your target market, be careful about making assumptions and playing to the stereotype. Marketing is a science and you need to look for objective data and the best way to get that is to research your target market and they’ll tell you what they like, what they think, and what they want from you.

And when that happens, all you have to do is deliver the goods :)

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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007, and is the author of many quick start marketing guides, turning Sark eMedia into a publishing business.

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Dr. Erica Goodstone - last year


I have focused on a few different target markets, depending upon what I am currently writing about or offering. I have focused on health and healing, healthy aging, blogging, success, intimate relationships and sexuality. I have different web sites, different blogs and different opt ins. Although my main life’s work is about creating intimacy, many of the other topics are offshoots of that. And then there is this whole online world that I have been immersed in for years. But you are so right – when we finally focus deeply in one area, that’s when the business magic starts to happen.


Dr. Erica
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Clint Butler - last year

When I first started online it was this step that held me back from really succeeding online. The next step, which I think it just as important, was building a relationship with my target market. I really didn’t understand either topic and I was one of those spray and pray folks. But back then my method of choice was safe lists and traffic exchanges.

Safelists did make me some money. But the truth of the matter was I was better off walking into a Justin Berber concert and hitting a cowboy.
Clint Butler recently posted…Live The Dream 3 – Michelle And Bill Pescosolido Talk FacebookMy Profile

Holly - last year

You are so right! And if you don’t go about it the way you have mentioned, you won’t get what you want… However getting it figured out and then doing it can be daunting if you are new and aren’t really sure what exactly it is that you are to do!! Great post!! Still working on it!!
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Mach - last year

The Social Passport app allows merchants to offer deals and other incentives in return for Social Media actions by their customers. The actions are triggered instantly by QR code scan or NFC tap. Merchants are able to take deals, contests, loyalty programs, and other campaigns that they already engage in and receive marketing by their customers in return. On the back end, merchants now have access to boatloads of information from their customers social media networks allowing them to now target their deals to specific demographics. The app accomplishes targeting specific markets and catering incentives for them in specific.

marquita herald - last year

Very interesting Sarah – I’ve never heard the phrase ‘spray and pray’ before but it’s stuck in my head now like a catchy tune. I’m in the process of researching a new market for my next book so your tips will come in handy.
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Melanie Young - last year

Being new to marketing, there has been a definite learning curve. Sarah as always I love reading your posts and learn so much from them.
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Nile - last year

Targeting your market very much comes into play for even bloggers. Obviously a sports blogger is not trying to target mommy bloggers not interested in sports. In blogging, it is “finding your target audience.”

If you have a mini niche, that laser targeting is extremely necessary. I had a client who was a retailer and trying to sell his ebooks to other retailers. However, he kept failing to find his target audience. I actually had to dig deep and research his niche in order to find where he would fit best. He could have done it, but he did not have the time and obviously was paying me to do that legwork.
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Yorinda - last year

Hi Sarah,

this post is one of the best explanations of the ‘target market’ I have come across.

You are so right, ‘marketing is a science’. Learning their needs, pain and language is probably one of the most important steps in marketing.

Thank you so much for sharing this!

To your Success!
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Alice - last year

Hello Sarah,

Knowing your target market is SO very important.

Before someone begins to market they have to find out who their customer is.

I agree with what you said here “Your target market needs to be specific, because you can’t make everyone happy.”

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Leslie Denning - last year

Hi Sarah. This is a great post on a very complex topic. I am going to take a look at your other articles on this subject, because that is something that I’m working on right now. You really provide the ‘right stuff’ on your blog. Thanks so much.

All the best,
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Sadie-Michaela Harris - last year

Brilliant post. I’m a firm believer in the more targeted our marketing the greater the conversions.
You’ve given a really clear and concise overview of this huge topic meaning it’s easily digestible and super shareable. Lots of people will take something away form this post. Thanks :)
Sadie-Michaela Harris recently posted…Big Trends in UK Mobile 2012My Profile

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