social media how toYour audience is the lifeblood of your business, and knowing who they are and what they want is a key to success.

What you might not know is that there’s a treasure trove of knowledge about your ideal audience hidden in the sea of followers and fans you’ve already attracted.

Here are four ways you can learn more about your audience by looking at their social media life.

#1: How Do They Describe Themselves?

Look at their bios on their social networks. How do they describe themselves? What are they passionate about? This may be obvious, but most of the users you’ll run into take this space very seriously, and the short (often < 200 character) bio is a precious piece of real estate.

By analyzing your followers’ bios, you can get a deeper look into the things that they value most highly about themselves.

For example, if they devote a lot of space to their location, you can assume that they have local ties that are important to them. You might want to develop appropriate location-based marketing tactics here.

hack ogden bio pic location focused

Hack Ogden's bio is packed to the brim with local-focused terms.

And if they spend more time talking about their projects or achievements, you might want to look into adding gamification elements to your site.

kevin rose achievement focused bio

Kevin Rose's bio is devoted primarily to his accomplishments.

As you can see, you can discover useful information to improve your marketing when you study social media bios.

A great tool to find out how your audience members describe themselves is Followerwonk.

This tool pulls a report of a startling amount of information about your Twitter followers, which you can use to develop your ideal audience persona.

Check out the bio word-cloud section of the Followerwonk report. This gives you a useful overview of how your followers describe themselves. Use this information to tailor your content to their interests and adjust your marketing tactics.

followerwonk bio word cloud report

While my followers span the business gamut, they tend to think of themselves as marketers.

#2: When Are They Most Socially Active?

Knowing when your fans are online and active is a key component of effective content delivery. Social media moves so quickly that tweets, posts and pins can get lost in the flood of information in your fans’ social streams.

5 minutes of waiting twitter

83 new tweets popped up in my timeline in just 5 minutes.

For example, if they’re most active during normal business hours, you can reasonably assume that social media is part of their job, so in-depth articles focused on advanced strategies and tactics could do well.

And it’s certainly worth knowing when people want to read your content.

A great tool to find out when your audience is most socially active is Tweriod.

There are countless (really, I tried counting!) tools out there that will tell you when your followers are online, but none are as extensive and detailed as Tweriod.

The basic Tweriod report is free, but you can also opt for a more advanced report for a few bucks. The free report is sufficient for most needs, but if you want to get detailed information about the performance of your tweets and not just your followers’ schedules, the premium report is worth the price.

tweriod most active report

The ideal time for me to reach my audience during the week is 12:00 PM PST.

#3: Whom Do They Listen To?

Engaging the top social influencers in your business niche is one of the quickest ways to get your message in front of your ideal audience. A key quote from a prominent member of your niche’s community can spark massive amounts of engagement and traffic.

For example, a story flew around the Internet last year about rapper 50 Cent, who tweeted about a company he’d invested in. His series of tweets bumped up the value of the company he promoted by 240%.

50 cent stock tweet

Can you imagine what a tweet like this could do for your business?

In some niches, the influencers can be easy to pick out. However, these icons are often nigh unreachable for your average business. So how can you find influencers in your niche who are both reachable and influential?

A great tool to discover whom your audience listens to is Klout topic pages.

Klout topic pages are community-moderated, concise and well-curated lists of the top influencers on specific topics. For all the flak about Klout being arbitrary, it’s pretty strongly indicative of the true influencers in the topics it covers.

klout topic pages

Klout has a concise list of the influencers on nearly every topic you could imagine.

#4: What Content Do They Want?

Perhaps the most telling thing you can learn about your audience comes from a look at which niche social sites they frequent. Not only can this help you learn about their interests, it can also help you dig deeper into the kind of content they want by the networks they favor.

For example, if your audience frequents sites like Quora and LinkedIn Answers, they are likely to favor hands-on problem solving and expert opinions. In this case, consider writing content with this in mind to net deeper engagement and more true fans.

quora top followers

The top answerers and followers section on Quora can be a good place to look for your audience. Are they here?

And if your audience frequents sites like Dribbble and Pinterest, they’re likely interested in design, crafts and aesthetics. In this case, you should consider adding high-quality original photography and art to your blog posts.

The best way to find out what kind of content your audience wants is to use your brain. As far as I can tell, there isn’t another tool yet that will examine this on a large scale.

For an easy solution, run a survey on your site with a widget like KISSinsights and ask your audience which smaller social sites they like to visit. Then, take a look at the content that does best on these sites and try to reproduce it on your own site.

Try to identify the aspects of these sites that resonate with your readers. Create content that matches the most successful content on these social sites and see how it affects your audience. And with that information comes engagement.

What do you think? How can you learn about your audience with social media? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • awesome analysis 
    you do great effort in your posts, thanks alot

  • I love checking out new Twitter follower’s bios! That short section gives insight into what that person will tweet about even without having to check their past tweets. Typically, if it can get me to laugh or think for a second, I’ll follow back. Never thought about companies using that same tactic too. Great article, Mitch. Thanks!

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  • Thanks Amy! Glad you liked the article. 🙂

    The Twitter bio is a very important piece of digital real estate. It’s your headline to pull in new followers, so most people take it very seriously. And if they can make you laugh, that’s always a plus too.

  • Glen Kosaka

    Good tips and info. Very useful, thanks.

  • Jerusha

    Wowser! I had no idea there were so many tools to help with developing the brand/targeting the right customers. Thanks so much for this information. I shared this article with my LinkedIn groups.

  • Apple Pie

    Very great tips, thanks


  • Sandy

    Another really good, meaty article!  That’s why you have such a loyal following.  Keep up the good work!

  • Drew Frey

    Thanks for the great article @twitter-158941275:disqus 

    One of my favorite tools to get to know (in real time!) my Twitter followers even better is @socialbro:twitter 
    It’s an an incredibly powerful tool that breaks all kinds of useful information down into bite-sized chunks that makes it easier for me to better understand who’s following me, when they’re following me and what’s interesting to them. 


    Drew Frey
    Community Manager, @SocialEngine:twitter 

  • You’re quite welcome, Glen. 🙂

  • No problem! And thanks for the LinkedIn shares, sounds like you prefer articles with a business-y slant. 🙂 (How’d I do? Was I right? 😉 )

  • Heh, thanks! Glad you found the info useful and robust. SME does a great job of vetting and editing, so that’s probably why it turned out so well. 😉

  • SocialBro is a great tool. I’ll have to give it another look; I haven’t invested as much time into it as I should have.

    At any rate, thanks for the comment, Drew!

  • Not a problem. Thank YOU for your comment. 🙂

  • Great article. Kissmetrics delivers a great product, would highly recommend it. 

  • This is an awesome post.  I never knew that there are so many useful monitoring tools before I read this post. Before now I was searching on the web for a list of useful tools to use on my own website.  I will try out some or all of them tonight.  Thanks Mitch for sharing.

  • I like your comment post, great article about getting audience via social media

  • Electra Ford

    Love coming here because the posts always introduce me to useful online tools. I really appreciate that Followerwonk has a free version to get familiar with before subscribing to get additional information on your followers.

  • Parihar Ajay86

    Thanks for such a wonderful article.

  • Thanks for the wonderful article. The part on who does my audience listen to will really solve some problems that I have in my sites. One of the metrics I measure in my business is the content that my visitors tend to consume more once they land on my site.

  • Many thanks for your comment, Drew! 

  • Hi Mitch, I’d love you to dig into SocialBro! Give us a shout if you we can help you in anything 🙂

  • Could you tell me more about gamification elements and why you link it to projects and accomplishments in the bio? Great article; I’m builiding my Twitter community and this will be very helpful!

  • Beth Thouin

    Great post Mitch. Understanding your audience is the first step to relevant content! Lanoba is another tool to help. Lanoba allows companies to analyze aggregated and individual social profile data of their customers who log into their websites. This is an amazing tool to get to know your know your clients in a social way 🙂

  • Drew Frey

    No problem @facebook-1644423075:disqus 

  • Knowing who your audience is, where they’re coming from and what they’re looking for is so important, and so often overlooked. I’ve been researching fan bios lately which has been so insightful to learn more about the people who engage with my brand most vs the readers vs the follows, etc. Great tips…thanks! 

  • Indeed they do. They also have quite a bit of informative content on their blog. Definitely worth looking into.

    Thanks for the comment, Ian!

  • No problem. Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

    Let us know if you find any interesting tools on your search.

  • Followerwonk is one of my favorite tools. It’s incredibly powerful and the free version can get you pretty far, though it’s certainly worth the coin when it comes to the paid version. 🙂

    Thanks for reading, Electra!

  • Excellent! Glad the article helped solve a problem for you. 🙂

  • Thanks for the tip, Beth! I’ll have to look into Lanoba… sounds very useful. 🙂

  • No problem! 🙂 I’m glad you liked the article. Nailing the right audience is often the difference between a good blog and a great blog. Best of luck to you!

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  • Davidse123

    Perhaps before assuming that ones target market, an analysis of the audience might be done. If the audience is saturated with peers, associates, academics etc. who are not your market, the results might be misleading. One can do this in # 1. If your audience isn’t your target market you may want to stop there, save time and money and look in another direction.

  • Vivienne

    Great article. Are there similar tools available for Facebook? Thanks!

  • Very nice article, Mitch! It’s so true: you can’t churn out effective marketing if you don’t know WHO you’re marketing to. Just finding the right voice for each of our clients is half the battle (producing the content being the other), and it’s so important to hit that nail on the head before you start hammering away with any other details. We still need to spend more time looking into tracking tools ourselves, but at least we’re starting to work on revitalizing our OWN marketing for the first time in years (funny how a marketing company can lose focus on itself while taking care of its clients, eh?). 😉

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  • Nana

    Great Article indeed, and thanks for posting 🙂

  • CX

    Excellent article, Mitch! Thanks for all the great insight!

  • you are very welcome

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  • Great info!

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  • It just came to my attention that this week is my 4th year on Twitter so to “celebrate” I put my account through several of these tools. I appreciated Followerwonk’s details about the longevity of accounts I follow and that follow me (very few newbies on either score, in fact this was one of the only results that wasn’t a bell curve). It was also interesting to see that Tweriod contradicted the info Followerwonk suggested to me about when my followers were most active…Next up: removing inactive follower accounts. Looking for tool that does that…

  • Love what you shared here Mitch.  Some great food for thought for tapping into your target audience.  Thanks for sharing.

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  • C

    Interesting article but this seems heavily into Twitter, which I’m not on. Any comments about FB or LI would be appreciated….that probably is another article