If you are reading this article, you are part of my target audience. You are most likely a female Realtor specializing in residential sales. You may be between 35 and 55 years of age, and you use social media to some extent. You are very interested in defining your real estate target audience so you can maximize your social media marketing efforts.

Many of us believe that our target audience is everyone, and this is not the case. Sure, a friend of a friend may know someone, and you could get a referral that way, but we just can’t target the world. If you’re serious about social media, then pay attention; you must choose your audience with much thought and knowledge.

Who is your target audience? Think about your client base over the last year. Are they local? Are they from out of town? How old are they? Are they first-time homebuyers? Members of the military? Have they relocated with a particular corporation? Where did you meet them? Now think about whether there is a way to expand your current client base. Your target audience doesn’t have to be one set group. Your target customers can be several groups.

Let’s say, for example, that your client base in 2014 comprised mostly military families who were not local. You still want to continue to take part in helping military families in their quest for homeownership, but you also want to expand your reach. That’s where your content becomes vital.

Now think about expanding your target audience to reach more clients. Many military service members who are active duty are also first-time homebuyers, so it would be easy to expand your reach to include first-time homebuyers. They do not necessarily have to be military personnel; you can write posts about how to purchase your first home or the top 10 ways to save money for a down payment. The “buying vs. renting” idea is content that can be included to target both audiences.

If you continue to think outside the box, you might decide also to focus on first-time homebuyers who are relocating from out of town, another area of expertise you might have cultivated due to your work with military families.

Now think about the target audiences we have identified so far:

  • Active-duty military personnel with a spouse.
  • Buyers ages 25 to 34 (the median age for first-time homebuyers is 31, so this is a reasonable range).
  • First-time homebuyers.

Your typical target audience member may look a bit like this: A male, age 27, who is married and active-duty military. He has a child on the way, and his family is looking for a first home where they will raise their child. The home doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to provide a good school district with a fenced-in yard.

Now that you have your target audience defined, you must consider where to put your social media efforts. Not every channel is appropriate and can provide the maximum benefit. Finding where your target audience “hangs out” online takes a bit of research and effort but is well worth the time.

Go to Google and type in the name of a military base that is close to you. Just for reference, let’s use Camp Lejeune. Once you review the results you’ll see a Facebook page dedicated to Camp Lejeune. You’ll also notice a website for MCCS Lejeune – New River. If you click on the website, you’ll see they have a Facebook page, Flickr account and YouTube channel set up — and this is not the same Facebook page you found in your first search. The more in-depth your research, the better luck you’ll have.

Have you used hashtags to find your target audience? Hashtags are a great way to find who you’re looking for on social media. Go to Google, type in #camplejeune and examine the results. You’ll notice Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Vine posts using the hashtag #camplejeune.

Take a look at each of the social media outlets with this hashtag to see if you could create content that would interest your target audience.

If you need help with expanding your hashtag to reach your audience or to find out who the top tweets are using your hashtag, try Hashtagify.me. I typed “camplejeune” into the Hashtagify.me search field, which showed me the top recent tweets that used the hashtag. It’s useful for researching Twitter accounts, and it also includes a listing of other related hashtags to help find my target audience.

Create your profile on the social media avenues that are best suited to engage with your target audience. Create useful content that will keep them coming back for more. Be there to answer their questions. They know you are in the real estate profession from your description, so just listen and provide them with great content and answers.

Christina Garabedian is the CEO of Social With Tina, a social media marketing firm.

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