January 26, 2018 (Updated: May 16, 2023)
Keeping tabs on your audience is one of the great challenges of content marketing. What are their needs? What are they looking for when they come to your website or your store? It’s easy enough to identify a target demographic with which your product or service can have success, but those demographics can shift and your audience’s interests can change. Sure, they may not change as often as trends like fidget spinners and the Kylie Jenner lip challenge came and went, but the movements of your audience’s interests will impact the efficiency of your marketing.
Keeping up with your audience’s interests can make your brand more relatable in its content and more focused in its targeting. But where do you start? You can’t be expected to be familiar with all of your audience’s hobbies and concerns, but you can keep tabs on the interests that relate to your brand. Here are some ways you can keep a constant finger on the pulse of your audience.
Surveys may be the easiest way to keep up with your audience since they allow you to easily reach a large population of interest without investing substantial resources. And rather than having to do guesswork and identify trends on your own, surveys provide hard data that allows you to visualize trends and commonalities across your audience. With that information, you can then frame content around such commonalities to ensure that you reach a broad range of your audience.
Surveys are even easier to conduct today thanks to the Internet. No longer do you have to print and mail hundreds or thousands of letters, costing you valuable time and money. Instead, you can now share links to online surveys on your social media pages and send links to email subscribers. And if you want to streamline the whole survey-creation process, try out tools like SurveyMonkey, which help you build efficient surveys and compile data once surveys are completed.
You also need to recognize, however, that your audience likely gets invited to take an obscene amount of surveys, whether from businesses or from social media friends who are too excited about what Marvel superhero they would be. You need to make your surveys worth taking. Make them engaging and interesting and employ a tone suited for the audience. Help the audience feel like they are helping you better serve them and meet their needs and preferences, like you’re giving them the opportunity to improve their own experience. And if all else fails, incentivize the survey with some discounts or rewards.
Nowadays, your audience is constantly sharing their interests with the world on their social media pages. And while it can sometimes feel like a fault, social media gives users the opportunity to freely share their beliefs and opinions in ways that they may not feel confident doing in person, which you can use to your advantage. In order to keep up with your audience’s interests, you need to regularly post content to your page and invite your audience to follow you, which provides an environment where they can share and interact with your brand.
You can discern your audience’s interest, at least in part, by keeping track of the performance of your posts, tweets, and videos. Those likes and shares speak volumes about what your stands out to your audience among the ocean of randomness that is their social media feeds. When users leave comments on your content, sift through them carefully. Depending on the content, you may be likely to find meaningless or even inflammatory comments, but for the most part, comments will give you direct and feedback from the user, especially if you include direct questions in your posts.
Don’t let the interaction stop there. Respond to comments and you’ll start to build a deeper relationship with your audience. Ask questions that better help you understand the individual’s concerns, or share additional resources that answer their questions or supplement your content. Through such interaction, your audience will see that you care about them and not just their money.
As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes our competitors find success where we don’t. Sometimes they jump on an opportunity that we didn’t see coming, or maybe their content hits the audience in just the right way, where ours may have fallen short. Your competitor’s successes, however, can teach you about your audience, since you likely share the same target. Use their success as a springboard for your future success.
In addition to keeping up on statistics with your own social media content, pay a visit to your competitor’s page every once in a while. Look for posts that have a significant amount of likes and shares and find what your content may have been missing. Do they use more images? Do they use a more engaging tone? Read the comments to see how your competitor’s audience is interacting with the content and how the competitor is interacting with their audience. Comments may also reveal where your competitor is disappointing their audience, giving you the foresight to avoid similar mistakes.
Consider using competitive analysis tools, which sift through your competitor’s social media pages and websites and gather statistics on engagement, reach, and other factors. Many of these tools can narrow analysis down to a single piece of content, going so far as to find the keywords that may have contributed to the content’s success. Such information tells you what your audience is looking for and allows you to tailor your future content accordingly. Competitive analysis tools often also provide a direct comparison between you and your competition, so you can always know how you measure up.
Your audience wants to be understood. They want to feel like whatever is important to them is important to you. Keep up with your audience’s interests and you’ll become a relatable resource, which will not only improve your ROI, but will also expand your brand reach when your audience shares you with their friends. Invest in your audience, and they’ll invest in you.
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