One of the most daunting challenges of digital marketing is trying to locate your target audience online and then having the ability to rise above the noise and create a clear line of communication between both parties.
This challenge is particularly demanding if you operate in the public sector because the complex nature of the environment means it is harder to both locate your target audience and communicate with them in a manner that resonates strongly.
There are many reasons for this, and it depends entirely on who you are (or who you represent) and what you are trying to communicate. For example, the difficulty a politician will find in picking the correct message to communicate will differ from the official account of a healthcare organization, which may struggle to know who to target.
Despite this, it is certainly possible to find your public sector audience and create a line of communication between you, especially in the age of social media.
This is how to use social media to find your public sector audience:
It should be part of a cohesive communications effort
Firstly, it is important to note that if you are going to incorporate social media into your marketing and communications, then it needs to be integrated into a cohesive strategy. While social media platforms are undoubted as widely used as ever, there are far too many for you to have any meaningful presence, so focus on a select few and bring it under the banner of a wider communications effort.
For example, you may have a Twitter and Facebook account, but if you post wildly different messages to each, you will risk watering down your message and losing followers. Thus, while it is crucial to adapt your marketing message to suit each platform (for example, focusing on images on Instagram, soundbites on Twitter, and longer-form paragraphs and a community focus on Facebook), the content itself must be parts of the same whole.
To help with this, you could hire the services of a digital marketing agency that specializes in the public sector, such as Eleven Marketing.
Use social media to start a discourse between you and your audience, but don’t let it be your sole focus
Social media can be a brilliantly useful tool because it allows you to create a clear line of communication between you and your audience. In the public sector, this is particularly important, as you are directly accountable to the public.
Therefore, regularly communicating on social media – and talking directly to your audience – will strengthen the bond you have and make you appear more trustworthy.
However, avoid the temptation to become obsessed with social media, believing it to be the only form of communication you should be focused on. Having a strong website is crucial, too, as is going out into the real world and interacting with your audience that way.
Your chosen social media should reflect both your own brand identity and the needs of your audience
While almost everyone knows that social media is a powerful tool, what is less understood is the vital importance of choosing the right one to use.
After all, your target audience will likely be made up of certain demographics who tend to congregate on particular platforms. For example, if you are trying to communicate with teenagers, Tik Tok is likely your best bet, while older people tend to stick to Facebook.
However, this choice has to be balanced with your own brand identity. For example, if you are much older than the target demographic of a certain social platform – or it is inappropriate for you to indulge in certain forms of content – then it is best to stay away from it and choose a platform that better reflects your status.