PR Tips & Tactics | Using Social Media to Connect With Your Target Audience


In order to be most effective and get the greatest reach, a target audience needs to be established. This sort of specification can be done through demographics, which is normally the case. Deciding on a target market/ audience can be tough, but through research (whether primary or secondary), you can usually figure out who is best to target. Some methods used in primary research can include surveys, focus groups, or product tests. Some secondary research can include using demographic research, surveys conducted by other companies, or product reviews online from consumer groups.

Once you have decided your target audience, it is important to learn how to speak to/with them. Are your target audience members on Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace? Pay attention to studies and learn where they connect with other people. As a company, connecting with your consumers ought to be a top priority.

According to Pew, 19% of Internet users use Twitter or "another service", which was vague, but Pew states they wanted it to be left open so that anyone who updates a status somewhere can say "Yes, I use Twitter or another service to update my status or see the updates of others". Below are some results from a Pew Internet and American Life Project study that shows where people are spending time online:

Furthermore, Pew indicates that "Young people flock to Twitter". Below, see the users divided into age groups and the percentage that use Twitter:

(You can read the rest of the study here.) With that sort of information, you can know whether or not it would be beneficial to launch a PR campaign that utilizes Twitter, though I think in most cases, utilizing Twitter is beneficial. It shows a more personified image of your company, and can create a sense of belonging for consumers when they can connect and talk with you, a company they may have loyalty and love for.

If Twitter's main users are your target market, do not abuse the potential there. Instead of barraging Twitter's users with advertisements or product placements, use Twitter as a means of connecting with your consumers rather than a means of advertising. There is something to be said for companies that connect with people when they want to be connected with, instead of interrupting their daily lives with ads and product pushes. Be there as a way for consumers to ask questions. Bear in mind that when a consumer asks a question, they are often looking for an answer, so respond! Also, know that people may follow your twitter account to keep up with company news and updates.

You can also use Twitter or another social media tool as a means for holding a contest. (Just remember to keep your promises if you offer a prize.) You can also hold chats where you can have professionals from your team offer advice, hold a Q&A session, or answer product inquiries. Be there as a source of information, and try to make it valuable.

Comments (2)


November 5, 2009 at 10:42 AM


Thanks for this post. I wrote about the Pew study too - my conclusion is specific to targeting Gen Y, which now encompasses moms, teens, and college students - 3 demographics that PR firms and marketers are always trying to reach. I think Twitter is where it's at. You can read the conclusions here: http://blog.monicaobrien.com/gen-y-marketing-trends/

Would love to hear your take!

Ashley Wirthlin

November 5, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Hi Monica,

Thanks for the comment. Your post had some great insights. I agree: Twitter is where it's at, and going to be for some time.

Stay in touch, I'll be sure to keep an eye on your blog.


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