Have you ever asked yourself:

  • Which social media channels are my clients and potential clients using?
  • How can I easily find out before spending any money on paid ads?

The last thing you want to do is spend your time and money on a social media platform that your potential clients aren’t even using.

So, it’s important that you find out what social media channel is best for your specific business and target audience before investing time and money into it.

The good news is, you can do research and get a good idea of where your potential clients are hanging out, before you spend any money on advertising.

Be clear on who you’re targeting

At Skyline Social, we don’t just target “businesses who need social media”. That’s not specific enough. And if we did a campaign to target “business owners” in general, it wouldn’t be very successful.

Instead, we focus our marketing on a niche: Small businesses that sell a professional service to other businesses. And then we go even deeper into that niche. Within that category we work with business consultantsagencies and accountancy firms. And again, we go even deeper. Within those categories, we work with businesses that match specific types of psychographic and demographic information.

In your own business, the more specific you are with your targeting, the better results you will get.

Do the research first

Once you’re clear on who you’re targeting, the next step is to go to the social media channels and see what potential reach there is.

Even if you think your target audience aren’t using a particular social media channel, don’t guess. Do the research to know for sure.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve worked with B2B companies who said their target audience are not on Facebook (only LinkedIn), and when we do the research and run tests, we actually get better results on Facebook than on LinkedIn.

When you do the research for yourself, the results might surprise you.

How long will this take?

It will take you about 5 to 10 minutes to research your target audience on each of the social media channels.

So, if you search for your potential clients on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, it will take you about 30 minutes in total to find the social media channels that are most likely to work best.

How to find your potential clients on Facebook & Instagram

Facebook (which also owns Instagram) is the largest social media channel. So it’s a good idea to start there.

The great news is, when you research your target audience on Facebook, you’ll also be researching your target audience on Instagram at the same time, since both channels are connected and under the same company.

Step 1: Sign up for a Facebook Business Manager Account

Step 2: Create an advert account, then import and add your Facebook page to your business manager account (there will be instructions on how to do this after you set up your Facebook Business Manager Account).

Step 3: Click on “Audiences” in the menu at the top of the page

Facebook Audience Menu

Step 4: Click on “Create a saved audience”

Step 5: Start entering your potential clients’ details, such as their location, age and (most importantly) interests.

For example, if I wanted to target business owners in the financial services industry based in London, UK I would search for interests such as: “Facebook Page Admin” (which shows they own a business) and people who are interested in “Business and Finance” as seen below:

Detailed FB Targeting

I’d also do additional research on what kind of authority figures, large publications or events these types of people are likely to follow and see if I can include those in the targeting options.

Step 6: At the top of the page, it says “potential audience”, and will tell you how many people on Facebook match your criteria:

From this example, we can see there are 640,000 unique people who match the criteria – which is great. You want to be aiming for an audience between 20,000 to 1 or 2 million.

What if you can’t find your potential clients on Facebook?

If you can’t find many people on Facebook that would be a good fit for you, then you can try creating a Facebook “custom” or “lookalike” audience.

These are actually two very powerful and cost effective advertising options that can sometimes get you even better results than the method above.

What is a Facebook custom audience?

A custom audience on Facebook allows you to retarget people that have already heard about you. For example, maybe they’ve visited your website or they’ve read some of your content. You can create a “custom” audience and retarget them.

What is a Facebook lookalike audience?

You can upload a list of your best clients or leads and find more similar people. Or, you can find people who are visiting specific pages on your website and then find more similar people. This works amazingly well. Facebook has so much data at its disposal and it’s algorithm is so smart, that as long as you point Facebook in the right direction, they can help you find more of the kind of people you want to target.

It’s definitely worth testing if you already have a list of leads or clients you’d like to find more of.

How to find your potential clients on LinkedIn

The quickest way to find out if your potential clients are on LinkedIn is to search for them using the LinkedIn search box.

Step 1: Use the LinkedIn search box and type in keywords (such as job titles) related to the type of people you want to target

LinkedIn Search Box

Step 2: Click on “People”

Step 3: Filter through the results based on location or industry

Note: Some of these filters are only available to premium LinkedIn users. To see the potential of people on LinkedIn, you can use the longer in-depth method below instead.

Step 4: Look at the potential reach (how many people LinkedIn found)

LinkedIn will limit the amount of people you can see unless you have a premium account, but that’s okay for now. We just want to see the potential reach.

If there is a lot of potential, then it might be worth exploring generating leads on LinkedIn (either organically or through LinkedIn paid ads).

See also: How to find people looking for your services on LinkedIn (organically)

How to find your potential clients on Twitter

You can go to the Twitter ads page and follow the steps to find your target audience but that usually takes a while (especially if it’s your first time using Twitter ads).

Instead, you can use the following tool to get a snapshot of your potential clients reach on Twitter much quicker:

Step 1: Go to the tool Followerwonk and click on “Search Bios”

Step 2: In the search box, type in keywords related to your target audience (such as job titles).

For example, if I wanted to target “business consultants”, I would just type that in the search box.

Step 3: Click on “more options” if you want to filter people based on location or a few other details

Step 4: Look at the number of results

If it looks positive you can then reach out to these people organically or through Twitter paid ads.

Facebook vs Instagram vs LinkedIn vs Twitter: What do the results say?

Now that you know the potential reach for Facebook (which includes Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, the next step is to look at social media channels have the highest numbers.

In our experience, when I do this for clients, Facebook and LinkedIn usually end up being the best channels so we run tests and lead generations ads on both channels. If your budget is limited, then you can start on one channel first and test the other second best channel later.

Take action and test the results

The research stage will only give you an indication as to which social media channels will be best for you. But unless you test the channel and give it a go, you will never know for sure.

So once you know which social media channel is best for you – it’s time to start generating leads.

If you’re not sure how to do this, we provide ‘done-for-you’ social media lead generation. Or, you can check out our free social media lead generation training videos if you’d prefer to learn how to do everything yourself.

Either way, give it a go and start generating leads for your business today!