writes copy 22 Dec 2017

10 Free Tools to Help You Understand Your Social Media Audience

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This story originally appeared on Buffer

We often recommend  crafting your social media posts  according to your audience.

But how do you know who the individuals that make up your social media audience are? And how do you know what content they like?

Answering these two questions is essential if you're looking to execute a successful social media strategy. And often, you'll find the answers by turning to data and  social media analytics.

Related:  Never Run Out of Content: More than 70 Places to Curate Great Content

In this post, I'll share a few ways of using data to find out more about your social media audience across the major  social media platforms —  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn  and Pinterest.

How to learn about your social media audience on the major social media platforms

Here's an overview of the tools that you can use to help you understand who your followers are. Feel free to click on any of the social media platforms to skip to its section.

Facebook: Audience Insights, Page Insights  and graph search

Instagram: Instagram Insights and SocialRank

Twitter: Twitter analytics, Followerwonk  and SocialRank

LinkedIn: Linkedin analytics

Pinterest: Pinterest analytics


Audience Insights:  Demographics, Page Likes  and more

The most powerful tool to help you understand your  Facebook Page  fans is hidden within the  Facebook Ads Manager: Audience Insights.

Here's how to access your Audience Insights:

  1. Click on the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page
  2. Select 'œManage Ads'
  3. Click on the 'œFacebook Ads' menu
  4. Select 'œAudience Insights' (you might have to hover over 'œAll Tools')

Or you could access it via this direct link:  https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience-insights.

Once you're at your Audience Insights, select 'œPeople connected to your Page and enter your Page name under Connections > Pages.

Facebook might have, by default, selected 'œAll United States' under 'œLocation.”  If you want a global view of your Facebook Page fans, hover over 'œAll United States' and click on the cross.

Now, let's find out who your Facebook Pages fans are!

Under the 'œDemographics' tab, you can get the following information:

  • Age and gender distribution
  • Lifestyle
  • Relationship status
  • Education level
  • Job title

Under the 'œPage Likes' tab, you can get the following information:

  • Top categories that your fans might like
  • Pages that your fans might like

Under the 'œLocations' tab, you can get the following information:

  • Top cities
  • Top countries
  • Top languages

Here's the other information you can dig into:

  • Activity —  as in Facebook activities and their device usage
  • Household —  as in household size, income, etc.
  • Purchase —  as in purchase behavior

Household and purchase information is only available for audiences in the U.S. currently.

You can get a good understanding of your Facebook fans from all this information. For example, here's what I found about  Buffer's Facebook Page  fans:

  • In terms of age, the biggest group (45 percent) is people between 25 to 34.
  • We have slightly more male (57 percent) than female fans (43 percent).
  • Most of them work in 'œManagement,”  'œSales,”  'œArts, Entertainment, Sports  and Media.”
  • They also like software and internet companies like Hootsuite, MailChimp  and Social Media Examiner.
  • In terms of location, the biggest group is people in the U.S. (31 percent), followed by people in the U.K. (9 percent).

What did you find about your Facebook fans?

Page Insights:  When your fans are online

Besides knowing your Facebook fans' demographics, interests  and locations, you can also find out when they are using Facebook in a typical week and day.

In your Page Insights, under the 'œPost' tab, you have a section called 'œWhen Your Fans Are Online.”  (It should  like the screenshot above.)

Under the section, 'œDays,”  you'll see how many of your fans are active on Facebook on a given day. Under the section, 'œTimes,”  you'll see how many of your fans are active on Facebook during each hour on a typical day. This is a great way to  find your best times to post.

Most of our fans seem  to be on Facebook every day of the week. On a typical day, they tend to be most active between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. EDT. How about your fans?

Graph Search:  Other Pages that your fans Like

While Audience Insights tells you the Pages your fans  might  like, Facebook's Graph Search can tell you the Pages they have Liked.

To do this, type 'œpages like by people who like (your Page name)' on the search bar at the top of any Facebook page.

In the results, there'll be a section, 'œPages liked by people who like (your Page name).”  As the section title suggests, those are the Pages like by your Facebook Page fans. One thing to note is that the results seem to prioritize your friends. So essentially, these are Pages liked by your friends who also Liked your Facebook Page.

So what do you know about your Facebook Page fans now?


Instagram Insights:  Demographics, location  and more

With a business profile on Instagram, the best way to learn about your followers is through  Instagram Insights —  Instagram's free native analytics. (If you don't have a business profile and want to convert,  here's how. If you don't want to convert, read the next section.)

Here's how to access your followers' information in Instagram Insights:

  1. Tap on your profile photo in the lower-right corner of the mobile app
  2. Tap on the analytics button (the chart icon)
  3. Scroll down to the 'œFollowers' section and tap on 'œSee more'

Related:  What to Post on Each Social Media Platform: The Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Social Content

Here's the information about your Instagram followers that you can get from your Instagram Insights:

  • Gender distribution
  • Age range distribution (men and women)
  • Top locations (cities and countries)
  • Times and days when your followers are most active

Tip: If you tap on the bar charts for age range and location, the percentages will be revealed.

Our Instagram followers  are quite similar to our Facebook Page fans.