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Always On: 4 ways I understand our audience better every day, with Twitter’s Lindsay Bruce

Twitter Business content team members wear many hats. Marketing coordinator Lindsay Bruce predominantly owns the @TwitterBusiness handle, which has more than a million followers.

You may wonder, does a social platform have a target audience for their own social pages? They do!

“Our target audience is any brand or business looking to use Twitter better,” Lindsay said. “Our goal with all of our content, specifically on the @TwitterBusiness handle, is to help businesses understand what to Tweet.”

In fact, the brand is regularly faced with questions about what to Tweet, when to share inspiration, best practices, etc. So the most important thing to Lindsay is making Twitter’s content actionable, and that starts with knowing her audience inside and out.

“The more that I’ve started to understand our audience over the time that I’ve been here, the more strategic I’m able to be about the kind of content that we present them,” she said. “You have a sense of what they find valuable, the kind of questions they have, and you’re able to dial in and focus on the topics that are going to help them most.”

Here’s a look at four things Lindsay does every day to understand Twitter’s audience better.

1. Empathy drives everything

Even before taking on her role at Twitter, Lindsay understood the value of social for businesses.

“In my past life, I was a songwriter in Nashville,” Lindsay said.

She was active on social, promoting shows and releases, and her mom had a card reader on her iPad to help sell merchandise. It was a small business. She was once the audience she now tries to reach. And she brings that experience to her role, making a conscious effort to be empathetic in content. Before posting she asks herself, “Is this actually helpful?” or “Would I Retweet this?”

Lindsay uses the nature of her job to her advantage, diving into comments and notifications every day to learn how her audience communicates, the language they’re using and the vibe they’re bringing to the page. Using everything from Twitter lists to social listening, even clicking into people’s profiles to see what they share, she absorbs it all and matches it.

“It’s always fascinating to see the kinds of things people share and learn a little bit about them,” Lindsay said. “[Social] has to be more of a two-way street.”

Empathy shouldn’t be treated as a buzzword. Data shows that 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them. With social as the premier channel for connection, marketers need to reevaluate how they’re encouraging engagement and if that engagement suits their audience.

Try this: Before publishing content do a gut check and ask yourself, “Would I click on this?” “Am I proud of this?” Taking a moment to consider yourself as the end-user not only helps you cut down on jargon, but is a touch of humanity that ensures your content is thoughtful.

2. Always be testing

Social media is as much an art as it is a science. Many people in your organization may have an opinion about what you should be Tweeting, who your audience is, etc. It’s important to listen, but you also need to confidently speak to your strategy. That’s where testing comes in.

Testing is so often surprising. Lindsay understands that you can’t simply predict results. If you want to see and think about content the way your audience does, you have to put your assumptions to the test.

“Get the data to back up people’s behaviors and what they’re actually going to click on and what they’re actually going to do,” Lindsay said. By testing and measuring the results, “we get a better understanding of where we should be investing creative and design resources.”

There’s no shortage of content to create, no shortage of possibilities, but you can get spread thin. It’s more advantageous to focus on what’s working. Testing tells you what to prioritize and how to narrow down all of your ideas to what really works for your target audience.

Try this: Adopt a test and learn mindset. If you have a new idea you want to try, but it feels off-brand, treat it like a test. Run it by your manager and pose it this way: “Even if this fails, we’re going to learn what our audience doesn’t like, how to move on and officially cross that idea off our list.”

3. Ask the experts

Twitter has an audience that spans the globe, which means Lindsay frequently collaborates with regional marketers to localize their content. But even without a global team, anyone can get value from her takeaways on seeking out the experts within your own team for well-rounded support.

Lindsay realized the need for global support in one of her first meetings with the company’s regional marketing manager in Europe.

“He was talking about how it would be nice if we did Periscopes or live Tweets during his time zone because he misses them all,” Lindsay said. “It started this path of looking at our time of day engagement and trying to figure out, ‘Okay, how do we play with that?’”

The team ended up running a month-long test, scheduling Tweets and pushing out content around the clock to address other markets. And they found a sweet spot.

“It took some trial and error, but we’re more mindful of the times that we’re Tweeting, especially events, so we’re covering as many people as possible,” she said.

Lindsay leverages her global counterparts with expertise in their specific audiences for a more complete understanding of who she’s talking to. It gives her the superpower of delivering content to Twitter’s audience as a whole, rather than as fragmented markets.

Try this: Even if localization isn’t an issue for your team, collaborate with other marketers who may be the experts in different segments of your audience. Set up biweekly or monthly meetings to compare notes on what you’re creating and what can be leveraged to be a little more helpful and reach more people.

4. Make data actionable

Lindsay doesn’t just present insights from the data she collects, she brings opportunities to the table.

“Early in my career, one of my pet peeves was having to bundle up a bunch of data and make it very beautiful, then seeing nothing happen with it,” Lindsay said. “So I started playing around with presenting it differently. At the end of a deck where you’d usually have your thank you slide, I would add bullet points of how we could turn this data into something.”

Seeing is believing. Now when Lindsay presents data, she takes those bullet points a step further and mocks up the kind of content she thinks Twitter can create. Click the Tweet below to see how her team turned five tips to get your brand noticed on Twitter into a more engaging video experience.

“If you just give someone data, it takes extra work for them to think through what to do with it and to even imagine what something looks like.”

Lindsay set up a perfect solution-oriented framework to put data into action, but survey results show that there’s a more pervasive issue with data—marketers aren’t sharing it. Only 29% of marketers share their data with their brand and PR teams, 27% with demand/lead gen marketers and 26% with media buyers. Getting teams on the same page and encouraging data sharing across departments helps marketers develop social strategies that support overall business goals.

Try this: Use cross-collaborative marketing meetings in your organization to not only present your data but to share mockups of what that data can do. A rough proof-of-concept is enough to help people visualize the value of the data collected and put more ideas into action.

How will you understand your audience better?

Audiences are always changing. You gain new followers, you get people that move on. The way that you think of your audience at the beginning of the year may change in the middle of the year. It all means you need to constantly take the pulse of what you’re putting out into the world and how your audience is reacting to it, so you can know them (and serve them) better.

Are you planning to try any of these tips? Share with us on social or in the comments below.

This post Always On: 4 ways I understand our audience better every day, with Twitter’s Lindsay Bruce originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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