Do you know your audience?

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When talking to people about their social media plans, most will talk about Facebook and Twitter. Yes, these are the most popular platforms and we are all aware that Facebook has recently topped the 500m mark.

But is this the right audience for you? Taking a step back from the technology and looking at who your target audience is and where they hanging out is the first step that any organisation should take. You may be surprised with the results and it will certainly impact on your plans. A recent report by The Neilson Group makes for interesting reading, especially if you a team or organisation with international aspirations. It gives a really good insight into the online activities within social networking in some of the world's biggest online users. Research by Ogilvy on the Asian region shows that Facebook's reach is around 59m whilst other platforms attract 68m users. China is completely different since Facebook is virtually non–existent. QQ is the major platform with over 330m users with others such as Kaixin (30m) and Renren (30m) popular choices. You should also how at how people consume their online activities. In Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, the vast majority consume online content via mobile phones. What this highlights is that there is more to life than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thinking ahead to the next FIFA World Cup in Brazil, have you have thought about having a strategy that uses Orkut? Or if you have a major sports event or tour in Germany would you use VZnet Netwerke, or Tuenti in Spain? Yes, Facebook dominates the social networking landscape but if you are concentrating your efforts in other countries to further your fan base or to create business opportunities, make sure you have done your research first. I was lucky enough to have Matt Owen, community manager at Liverpool Football Club speak at a recent event of mine (they host the UK's most popular sports Facebook page at over 2m 'likes'). An interesting point he raised was they use Facebook to predominantly target their non–game attending fans. Not only that but they use tools such as Facebook Insights demographic data when it comes to decisions on overseas pre–season tours (go to where the fans are!). The lesson here is to make sure you work out your business objectives, then find out where your fan base (target audience) is hanging out before you decide on the technology to use. This was an article I first wrote for www. sportsnetworker. com in August 2010. About Daniel McLaren Daniel McLaren is founder of 'The UK Sports Network' and sports consultant at social media agency, Spearfish Labs. He is an experienced events professional and passionate about social media. He is a lover of all sports, a player of a few and an ardent Manchester United fan. He runs several groups on LinkedIn including The UK Sports Network and Social Media & Sport which has a total over 1, 600 members. You can follow his regular tweets on @danielmclaren or contact him at daniel@theuksportsnetwork. com. About The UK Sports NetworkThe UK Sports Network was started in November 2009 by Daniel McLaren as a means to share sports industry best practices, social media insights and the latest developments in sports. Since then almost 850 professionals from all forms of sports life have joined including clubs, NGBs, marketing, PR, media, sponsorship and many others. The UK is playing catch up when it comes to utilising the best in social media for sports professionals. The UK Sports Network plans to help everyone achieve their aims through the LinkedIn group and the UKSN website. You can read about the latest developments in sport, learn something new and comment on The UK Sports Network's views about the latest controversies. The group now has a presence on twitter (@uksportsnetwork) and Facebook as it continues to expand and grow.

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