The Social Media Hacker’s Guide to Creating Targeted Audience Groups

social media hacker

Take out your corncob pipes, herringbone caps, and pea coats – it’s time to tap into our inner social media Sherlock.

serious sherlock
In this guide we’ll cover five mediums we can utilize for creating targeted audience groups. Not only will we have penta-segments, but a surplus of relevant promotion targets for content marketing. Let’s jump in.

1. Segmenting Audiences on reddit

Perhaps the most important aspect of reddit in terms of audience discovery is the “subreddit” feature which allows users to create or search for specified sub-forums relevant to their niche.

Your mission: master the reddit search bar:

subreddit search
If you’re accustomed to Google’s search operators, then you’re already more than half-way done mastering reddit’s. In most cases, the only operators you’ll really be using are:

subreddit:subreddit

subreddit search operators

site:example.com

subreddit search profiles

Blue – The “+keyword” is designated by this color in boxes.  Paired with a specific subreddit or website, we can see all submissions (links or text posts) that have that keywod in the title. 

Green – For the subreddit search, the green underline simply shows that it works by only providing submissions for that subreedit – similarity in the site search, it only provides submissions for the website we enter (in this case, Mashable).

Orange – This shows the variety of subreddits provided in the site search, giving us an idea of how “applicable” and “relevant” a website. Basically, it’s a measurement of how many subreddits (niche communities) a website can tap into.

I listed reddit as the first medium because it still remains an intimidating place to most social media marketers. Stop making it out to be a mystical or scary place. The same type of trolling and public evisceration you see on reddit happens on Twitter and Facebook. It happens on fourms – it happens everywhere on the internet. If you actually look at the scenarios where brands are ridiculuded by the community it’s because they didn’t do their due diligence. Every subreddit has their own rules. Read them. Sometimes there’s no angle for entry, move on.

Follow these quick steps to get started:

  1. Run a brand search for your name/business name
  2. Run site search for your website
  3. Record the subreddits where these submissions are found. There might be zero results – that’s fine.
  4. Run a keyword search for your businesses’ most important keywords.
  5. Record at least ten subreddits where these keywords appear.
  6. Due diligence for each of these subreddits to make sure you have an angle to entry – essentially content that aligns with their upvoted submissions. This is a social signal that the community approves content.
  7. Cross out any subreddits that don’t have an angle to entry. Now you’re left with multiple targeted audience groups that are already relevant and easy to access. All that’s left is your content strategy.

2. Segmenting Audiences on Facebook

For individuals interested in discovering audiences on Facebook, Facebook pages and Facebook groups present themselves as tools for finding members of your target audience all in one place. By using Facebook’s search function, you can locate pages and groups dedicated to a particular topic.

Your mission: master the Facebook search siphon:

Aha! You thought I was going to say search bar. In the case of Facebook, the search bar is extremely self-explanatory – nothing we need to really analyze.

The trick to putting together targeted audience groups on Facebook is scraping process.

Essentially, we search for the most important keywords to our brand or business. Let’s try something a bit adventurous, like Delaware’s Dover Downs casino. We might assume their own Facebook page should have an easy enough time creating fun & enticing posts, such as discounts, free hotel rooms, dinners, shows, etc. So the primary goal is to increase their fan base.

Search for similar casino pages into the surrounding area with a map search for casinos:

map search

The competition is not too congested here, so we might expand a bit north to the hotbed of casinos, Atlantic City:

ac casinos

Now we’re getting somewhere.

The next step is profilingscraping. Pick a few of the popular casinos, such as Bally’s:

ballys competitor search

Perform a basic competitor analysis – go through their posts, special offers, and reviews. For reviews, I’d recommend going to their Yelp pages and reading through the bad ones to see if that’s something your business can do better or even capitalize on with advertorials.

Now comes the ‘fun’ part.

people who like pages

This is your target audience group.

The “ethical” thing to do is to create a targeted advertising campaign that only blasts out to people who like specific pages.

Conversely, you could use a third-party scraping tool to collect all of the User IDs who like a certain page. Then you could merge all of them from each casino into a giant targeted audience group and exclusively target those people. Facebook explicitly warns to not scrape Facebook user IDs, but the debate is controversial as always because their default campaign features and CTR are pretty poor/valueless. If you’re going to spend money on the platform, you should get what you’re paying for, right? It’s your call.

There is a third alternative, which is profiling. Manually go through some of the profiles of people who liked the page to put together mini demographic profiles. This can influence any future content marketing and become a go-to group for social monitoring.

If we want to get meta with social media marketing and want to find users interested in social media marketing, searching “pages named ‘social media marketing’” would generate a list of pages on that specific topic. By selecting a particular page, you can discover conversations and individual members of your target audience. The same strategy applies for finding groups, such as searching “groups named social media marketing” will generate a list of groups relevant to the same topic.

3. Segmenting Audiences by Forum

Put Google on the bench for now and head on over to Board Reader – a renowned forum/post search engine.

For this example, we’ll try an eCommerce automotive businesses that sells toyota car covers. Start simple with a generic term:

car search

This is just to show you the full breadth. We can hone down a bit to “toyota car” and filter by posts:

toyota car

It might take some time, but the sleuthing process here is pretty self-explanatory:

  1. Perform targeted keyword searches for relevant forums and sub-forum groups. A forum about cars is a hit but only the “toyota” sub-forum will be targeted/relevant.
  2. Record every relevant forum and sub-forum.
  3. Treat each of these forums as we did with subreddits. Due diligence! Remove those that don’t have a proper angle for entry.
  4. Now you’re left with targeted audience groups.

Strategies might involve setting up alerts to monitor whenever a keyword is mentioned on that forum (with Google Alerts of Talk Walker) and making an acceptable reference to a relevant product or discount.

Additionally, for all the data sponges out there, the Board Reader trend search is extremely powerful:

forum post frequency

The advanced search features allow you to gauge consumer interest and identify buying cycle patterns.

4. Segmenting Audiences by Blogs

As for discovering blogs, Google Blog Search is a feature of the search engine that makes it easy to search for blogs based on a specific category.

In order to utilize this search tool, simply search a general topic, a specific company name, or the name of a particular blogger.

For instance, if we wanted to uncover opportunities for disability, we can run a basic search:

disability law blog search

This provides us with a targeted list of blogs we can reach out to for:

  • contributions
  • networking
  • service listings

Additionally, we might find it beneficial to contribute our team/client’s expertise in the form of education or simply for listings. We can broaden the term to law:

law options

Cornell has a section – a large database – of attorneys. This could be a simple way to gain more authority while funneling in one or two additional clients from their attorney search.

Whether you wish to study your competitors, reach out to influencers or join in on the conversation, Google Blog Search is your best bet for segmenting the blogosphere.

5. Segmenting Audiences by Super-Influencers

If you want to access specific Twitter influencers in your niche, the first step is segmenting.

Tools such as followerwonk and BuzzSumo can be utilized to find the most influential people on social media in regards to a particular topic.

Followerwonk is a Twitter-specific social media tool that allows you to search for Twitter profiles based on an industry name, keyword or another category. From there, the tool will display a list of individuals meeting that criteria and allow you to sort the list according to filters such as follower number and social authority.

For example, a business that sells american made amish furniture might think it’s customary to search for “furniture.” This is great for a competitor analysis and we can mimic the Facebook strategy by analyzing competitor followers. However, we want to target influencers with social authority.

So who would write about furniture?

interior design search

Designers. Interior designers to be exact. We can pitch the most relevant/best fitting influencers – maybe in a sponsored feature (for example) and gain access to their targeted and relevant audiences.

BuzzSumo operates in a similar fashion, as it includes a feature dedicated to discovering Twitter influencers and sharers.

Simply enter a topic or keyword and the tool will generate a list of influencers. This list can then be filtered based on their page rank, follower count, average retweets and other factors. Both of these tools present themselves as easy to use solutions for discovering influencers in your field of interest.

buzzsumo targets

Now we have a super-influnecer; a NY Times reporter whose beat covers content marketing topics. If we sift through his articles we can craft a better angle that ties in the baby boomer generation with marketing. Boom!

Alternatively, we can search for the best content marketing articles being shares recently and view the influencers who are sharing. If we write similar content, we have a good shot of interesting them.

hey rand

All that’s left is the pitch.

There are a variety of tools and strategies available to individuals wishing to discover specific audiences in the digital space. Depending upon the medium, each one offers different features and tools that make it possible to narrow your search and find specific groups of users. Consider the aforementioned audience segmentation methods when implementing your own social media strategy.

Good luck sleuthing!

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Jesse Aaron

I'm a blogger, homebrewer, and community manager. Aside from writing, I have a passion for music and design.

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