Twitter is one of the best ways of building a picture of your audience’s activities. All you need is a simple hypothesis, a little familiarity with free trending applications, and some patience.
Who is my audience? There are two answers. The first is nouns. “Women. Londoners. Junior managers.” The second is verbs. “They read biographies. They holiday in the sun. They are confident with money.”
Verbs are always better. Verbs are easier to picture, easier to be specific. Easier to be creative. Doing words.
Unfortunately finding out what your audience is doing is much more difficult than finding out which blunt demographic categories they fall into.
At one of our creative economy workshops last week I heard a great way of using Twitter to listen to behaviour in real time. One of our Take12UK participants (@jennyinchbald) talked about a project where she needed to understand what was going on in the minds of viewers of a primetime TV show.
She identified a set of hashtags that related to the show and primed them into a Twitter trends application. Then she watched as the show unfolded, and as fans of the show swapped gossip about the show they also revealed more about themselves than merely which celebrity couple was dancing the best.
“It was great. It was like they were sitting next to each other and chatting while the programme was on.” They swapped beauty tips. They commiserated personal tragedies. They talked sports results. Within a couple of hours, Jenny had enough qualitative information about her target audience to give a colourwash of reality to what might otherwise have been a stereotypical roll-call of demographics.
Image – infographic of this blog post, courtesy of wordle