Knowing the demographics of your target market is one of the necessary steps in any marketing effort – social media marketing is no different.
Demographics is defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary as “the demographic characteristics of a population, esp. as classified by age, sex, income, etc. for market research, sociological analysis, etc.” Other characteristics of people demographic researchers may consider are race, disabilities, mobility, education level, home ownership, employment status, location and whatever characteristic can be used to describe someone.
Understanding your demographic is critical to understanding your target market and thus, the social media outlets you use to market your products and services online. Are you targeting men or women? How old are they? What’s their class? (i.e. lower, middle, upper)
After you have determined your target demographics, you need to research social networks that cater to that group. Wikipedia has a great resource that lists major social networks and also provides each one’s description/focus, estimated number of registered users, registration requirements and also what’s called an Alexa page ranking.
There are other resources out there that detail social networks and their target audiences.
Let’s say you specialize in tutoring and study guides for college students. Looking at Wikipedia’s list, you can consider “Classmates.com”, “College Tonight”, “Facebook”, “Ning” and perhaps “Playboy U”. Combined, these networks can probably expose your products and services to nearly ½ billion people.
So the lesson here, social media marketing has striking similarities…you have to know your target audience’s demographics if you’re going to reach the maximum number of individuals that are conceivably interested in what you offer.