Twitter, Hashtags and the Art of Audience Acquisition

The goal of any marketing effort, whether traditional or innovative, is to capture the attention of a target audience. Marketing with Twitter no different, which is why identifying and connecting with your organization’s target demographics is critical.

Your target demographics are the individuals, companies and organizations that are most likely to interact with the company’s social media account, find value in its content and provide increased traffic to your organization’s prime revenue-generating areas, such as its website.

If you are an association, your target audience is likely your members, sponsors, media in your industry and government officials. If you’re a small, local business, the target audience is probably potential customers in your area. Members of the target audience will also help spread the word about the company and its value to those in a similar industry or in need of similar products and services.

The question now becomes, how do you find these key audience members on Twitter and get them to pay attention to you?

Connecting with target demographics on Twitter can be done several ways, but one main source is through the effective use of keywords to find and spread awareness among influential communities.

Twitter is essentially a search-based platform that let users connect with content that they find useful, interesting or can relate to. For example, if you live in Toronto and are interested in finding the latest news on the restaurant scene, you may search the words “new restaurant, Toronto,” which will lead you to all the tweets from foodies and critics in your area. This is why keywords are so important to finding the areas of Twitter where target audience members are connecting and then capitalizing on this activity.

Determining the keywords through which the company can base its audience acquisition strategy on (as well as its content-sharing strategy) can be achieved by examining three factors:

  1. Amount of Activity
  2. Diversity of Audience
  3. Frequency of Engagement.

Amount of Activity

The search for the optimal keywords to base a strategy around is started by sifting through words and phrases attached to the target audience and applying the first of the three aforementioned qualifiers.

For example, if your association represents chefs, you may search for the hashtag #ChefChat. To determine if this is a strategically-beneficial keyword to utilize in order to find connections and base content around, the first step is to evaluate the amount of activity stemming from this keyword/hashtag.

More is always better in this initial area of interest. The more activity there is centred around this phrase, the more likely it is that members of the company’s target audience are finding the content associated with the keyword valuable. For example, if there are 50 tweets per day using this hashtag/keyword, it is most likely advantageous to continue the evaluation of it for its potential use in an audience acquisition strategy.

Diversity of Audience

The next area of evaluation is the diversity of audience attached to a certain keyword. There may be 50 tweets per day using a certain phrase, but if these tweets are only coming from four users, the audience is smaller and therefore the effectiveness of that keyword is diminished.

Analyzing the number of unique users that are tweeting with a certain keyword is crucial to determining if your organization will benefit by monitoring and using that keyword. The more diversity in the conversation using a certain keyword/hashtag, the more chance to have your message seen and shared by a wider audience and the more opportunities the organization has to connect with new members of the target audience. The outcome of this diversity is a better return on investment because of the wider audience.

For example, if one was to compare 50 tweets using the keywords/hashtags #ChefChat and #ChefTalk and see that the former had 40 different users tweeting compared to the latter’s 15 different users, it can surmised that #ChefChat is a better keyword to monitor and use in a content and audience-acquisition strategy.

Frequency of Engagement

Lastly, the frequency of engagement must be analyzed when evaluating the effectiveness of keywords for use in acquiring the attention of a target audience. Knowing which keywords generate the most engagement will allow your organization to maximize its opportunity to interact with its target audience and receive a better return on investment.

To evaluate the frequency of the engagement, one must keep in mind the number of posts that receive an interaction and the number of interactions per post. For example, let us compare 50 tweets from the keywords/hashtags #ChefChat and #ChefTalk once again. The former generated engagement 75% of the time and received 50 interactions in total. The latter generated engagement only 25% of the time and received only 20 interactions in total. Therefore, #ChefChat is the better keyword to use in the company’s audience acquisition strategy.

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