It seems like common sense that most business owners should know where their target audience is going online, but the reality is that it’s a guessing game for many companies. It’s also one of the most overlooked aspects of social media marketing.
Knowing where your target audience is going on the Web is one of the most important pieces of information you can have as a business owner. It can be costly to advertise and put endless effort into getting a few new customers – and if you understand where to look you can significantly improve your ROI.
Forums are online communities where people tend to gather on specific topics, like computer electronics or fashion. By identifying some of the enthusiast forums within your market, you can discover where many of your potential customers are hanging out. You don’t want to start bombarding these forums with SPAM – rather, you can use these places as an opportunity to share your expertise and establish a reputation that benefits your business.
Similar to forums, blogs tend to focus on narrow topics and attract a following of readers when they establish their expertise. By following the major blogs and authors within your niche, you can discover endless amounts of detail about your target audience, and by getting involved in discussion you can establish your own authority.
In either case, you should focus on discovering the business blogs and forums that attract the most people are most relevant to your niche. With limited time and resources, you can’t always afford to get too involved in the smaller groups.
Social media groups are groups on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn which users with certain interests join up with. They can share information, ask questions and exchange resources. By finding active groups that pertain to your niche, you can get engaged and provide your own expertise as well.
Start out by performing a Google search using your primary keywords and adding keywords like “forums”, “blog”, “community”, etc. Look for the most active and relevant results in the top 20-50 search results (depending on how popular your search terms are). Expand your results by broadening your keywords.
You want to get involved so that you can establish your expertise and start building a network. By providing resources, answers, and links to your website (when appropriate), you can build a name for yourself as an expert in your field.
Certain communities do allow for advertisements in the appropriate place, but always be extremely mindful of following the rules of the group.