Four Creative Ways to Research Your Target Audience

When people think of public relations, they often think of the glamorous Samantha Jones-type in “Sex in the City” – but it’s usually much more mundane than that. Don’t get me wrong, we do chat with media on a daily basis, oversee some pretty cool events and travel a lot, but more often than not we are buried deep in research. What are we researching, you ask? Usually searching for the best contacts and audiences for the next client outreach campaign.

While it can be daunting to think about, stepping outside of the box to research a target audience can bring in great results and maybe even find a few customers or contacts you hadn’t considered before!

Here are four creative ways to get to know your audience better:

Social Media
Social media is the perfect place to get in touch with a company’s target audience. Not only should their target audience be following along, but analytics should be dissectible at a touch of a finger.

  • Facebook: Luckily, Facebook has a powerful and free analytics tool—Facebook Insights—that allows you to easily measure the performance of your business’s page.Facebook Insights tracks likes, page views, reach, and more.
  • Instagram: If you have a business account on Instagram, you automatically have access to their free analytics tool, InstagramInsights. Instagram Insights helps you learn more about your followers and the people interacting with your business on Instagram. For example, you’ll find insights such as gender, age range and location. You can also see which posts and stories your audience sees and engages with the most.

Nothing like a little friendly competition to spice things up! By using your competitors’ recent social media posts, articles and followers as a guide, you can compare your content and audience to what they’re doing. You can focus on the followers your competitors have in common to learn more about them and their behavior.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics may not be the most creative way to find your target audience, but it’s an extremely in-depth way to take a look at your audience and learn more about them.

The Audience section provides an ample amount of information about the people who visit your website, such as their age, gender, location, interests, browsers, and mobile devices. It also provides data on how people were driven to your website. This is where you can see your social media referral traffic.

Once you determine what types of services or products you will be providing; you can begin analyzing who your target audience might look like. Is your brand unique, modern and forward looking? If so, your target audience will be completely different than if your brand is professional, traditional and sophisticated. Take stock in your service or product and understand what benefit it provides. Once you’ve listed out your benefits, make a list of people who have a need that your benefit fulfills.

Overall, there are plenty of ways to reach your target audience, but the overarching commonality is really understanding others’ wants and needs. Once you are able to come out of yourself and your business, finding your target audience can be simple.

Think your business could benefit from identifying or learning more about its target audience? Check out our services page!

How to Use Twitter to Achieve Overall PR Goals, Part 2

This is the second of a three-part series.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, Twitter is a great place for PR pros to make connections, brag about themselves, and get inspired. However, “getting inspired” can often turn into “research” or vice versa. We’ve all opened Twitter to do something, closed it twenty minutes and too many hashtags later and thought, Wait, why did I open Twitter in the first place? Today we’re going to dive deeper into this aspect of the platform so the next time you get sucked into memes, you can also claim to be working at the same time.

1. Who, what, where, why, and when – in 280 characters
We mentioned that making connections with reporters on Twitter is a good place to start with your social PR goals, but if you want to leverage those connections, you’re going to need to do some extra leg work.

When we get new clients at Dittoe PR, we scour their websites to learn everything we can about them, understand their brand voice, identify who their customers or audiences are, and why they do what they do. This typically generates a few keywords about their business. Combined with knowing their ideal media outlets to be featured in, and you have a great formula for researching who is active on Twitter in key verticals and publications.

But it doesn’t stop there. The who, what, and where are easy to find. It’s the why and when that can be trickier if you’re not paying attention to the details. Did this contact recently write an article on AI, share the article on Twitter, and is being responsive to comments and retweets on it? That’s a good indicator they’re actively interested in this topic. On the other hand, did you find an article that’s several months old, and not only is the author not talking about it, but they’re at another publication altogether? Time to keep digging.

2. Trending News
Newsjacking is an important part of our work. Reading, listening to, and watching the news gives us insights into what’s newsworthy across many industries. It also keys us into the big national stories that everyone is talking about – tropical storms, politics, you name it.

For many stories, particularly human interest, feel good pieces or trending niche topics, that news often breaks first on social media. Like the story of Plurna, for instance. I saw it on Twitter well before I heard about it on NPR.

It’s not just the good news that appears first, however. Twitter is also a go-to source for breaking news as well. Between trending hashtags, live videos, and the sheer number of people on Twitter at any given time, a wide swath of Americans are heading directly to Twitter to consume, share, and interact with news. You can take advantage of this for your clients and help them reap the benefits. If something relevant to your client’s work is trending on Twitter, you know you need to jump on it so you’re included when the rest of the news catches up with the topic.

3. Creativity, Branding and Voice
Apologies to those of you who prefer Hemingway, I’m more Dickensian in my writing. Which is why it may be surprising that I have such an affinity for Twitter because it forces you to be concise. Fitting a thought in the old length of 140 characters was quite the challenge for me, but I also saw it as an interesting creative pursuit. How can I say what I want thoughtfully and wittily in one or two sentences?

We may have 280 characters today, but it’s still a challenge to distill complex information with restraint, meaning those who do it well do it very well. Researching your client that has an existing social presence, analyzing their competitors, scoping out publications to pitch, and looking up thought leaders in various industries is a great way to see an individual or brand’s thoughts, stances, and voice distilled into bite-size nuggets. Use these insights to define your client’s voice – especially if you’re crafting their social media content – and see where they fit in the industry conversation. Being clear and concise while telling your story is ultimately what Twitter and PR have the most in common with one another.

Again, Twitter is never going to be everyone’s favorite social media outlet, but it’s a powerful tool in a PR pro’s belt for research and storytelling.

Massage Heights Case Study

For just over a year, we’ve worked with the Massage Heights franchise in Indianapolis to promote their services, manage social media and provide event planning support. Additionally, we’ve positioned owner and operator Cristina Goebel as an expert in her field by securing byline placements and TV segments to share the benefits of massage therapy, how to lead a successful team and more. 

Below outlines a case study for our work with Massage Heights Indianapolis:


When Cristina and Matt Goebel opened their first Massage Heights retreat at Ironworks Hotel Indy in fall 2017, the location was experiencing good foot traffic, thanks to its brand reputation and an influx of hotel guests seeking an afternoon or evening of relaxation. While Massage Heights Ironworks was building a reputation for providing a wide range of customized massages and facials, many of the retreat visitors were either hotel guests or simply one-time visitors, enjoying the discounted rate of their first massage. The Massage Heights team knew they had a high-end, yet affordable service to offer clientele, but struggled to get people coming back. 

Despite a high drop-off rate, the retreat located in Ironworks was performing well and a few months later, the husband-and-wife team opened a second retreat in Carmel, Indiana. Despite the amount of high-end clientele living in this area, this retreat proved to be much more of a challenge when it came to getting even first-time guests in the door. 

Massage Heights needed to increase foot traffic overall at both locations, with a focus on Carmel, and also increase the number of loyal, returning visitors, membership holders and more. 


Our solution was a three-pronged approach that involved strategic social media management, developing relationships with social influencers and localized media relations efforts: 

Social Media 
Developing and executing a social media strategy for Massage Heights’ Ironworks and Carmel retreats was our number one priority.  

Massage Heights had no issue getting first-time customers in the door at Ironworks, but struggled to get customers to sign up for the long-term membership program and despite name recognition, the Carmel retreat struggled with both general foot traffic and securing loyal members. We knew we needed to reach and educate people in the Central Indiana market on the benefits of continued massage therapy. There was no better place to drive this message home than on social media.

Before partnering with Dittoe PR, Massage Heights was mainly sharing sporadic company updates pushed from their corporate team and not much content specific to the Indy area. We knew that in order to organically attract new followers, our content needed to be local and authentic. We began by following real people with real connections to Indy. We also boosted organic content that was performing well and invited the engaging users to “like” our Facebook pages. 

But gaining followers was just part of the battle. We knew we had to develop content that kept new followers engaged. So, we began conducting weekly contests and giveaways, incentivizing people to follow and engage with us, and creating weekly therapist spotlights, allowing followers to learn more about Massage Heights employees and feel more connected to their massage therapists. 

Social Advertising 
To further build brand awareness for Massage Heights and ensure the local community is aware of the range of services offered, we create and manage 4-5 ads per month on each of the Massage Heights’ Facebook pages. 

By identifying our top performing content and leveraging social listening to find out what questions our followers are asking, we deploy a monthly marketing budget aimed at educating our target audience on the importance of continued massage therapy. We also maximize our monthly ad spend budget by seeking insight from the retreat teams on which services are getting the most attention at each location.  

To get more first-time visitors in the door, we also promote the monthly specials offered by Massage Heights, as well as ongoing contests to encourage more entries. From gift card sales to free services and discounts, these promotions make users in the Central Indiana market more aware of the value-add Massage Heights provides customers on a daily basis. 

But keeping Massage Heights at top-of-mind for consumers in a market that is so saturated with content, we deploy advertisements and boosted posts to people who already like our page, allowing us to communicate with them directly about the benefits of continued massage therapy. 

Social Media Growth

  • Instagram: Started at 454 followers. Currently at 2,012 followers (343% growth)
  • Facebook: Meridian and Main 197 page likes when they started; Currently at 406 page likes
  • Facebook: Ironworks: 524 page likes when they started; Currently 768 page likes

In total, Dittoe PR has: 

  • Shared 1,381 posts across all social accounts
  • Gained a total of 2,003 new followers
  • Earned a total of 1,335,930 impressions and 11,330 engagements 
  • Directed more than 4,740 clicks to the Massage Heights Indy landing pages

“Knowing our initial priority was to increase traffic at our Carmel location, Dittoe PR developed and executed a comprehensive social media plan that created real business results. As our goals and initiatives evolve over time, Dittoe PR is right there, developing new ideas and strategies to ensure we are always reaching and engaging our target audiences. They have truly become an extension of our team.
– Cristina Goebel, Franchise Owner, Massage Heights 

Social Influencers
We can talk about how incredible Massage Heights is all day on our own social media platforms, but getting third party credibility is crucial. So, to help us further connect and engage with Massage Heights’ target audiences in an authentic and real way, we identified and partnered with key local influencers. We manage approximately 10-15 influencer relationships at a time, and levels of engagement can vary from offering a single service to a six-month partnership. We focus on four different groups of influencers; moms, lifestyle, fitness and students, enabling us to tap into the different types of clientele Massage Heights typically works with. 

To drive interest in memberships and express the importance of continued massage therapy, we work with several influencers on a long-term basis, allowing them to share their own personal journeys with massage therapy and the benefits they were experiencing with a long-term membership. Several influencer partners were also invited to demonstrate newly offered services, including Dynamic Cupping Therapy, to build excitement and interest among their followers. 

Influencers also conducted giveaways through their Instagram and Facebook pages.

In addition to working with individual influencers, we also secured partnerships with local groups and organizations. We plan and coordinate an average of 2 on-site events each month with groups such as local bloggers, Yelp and theCityMoms. By getting these influential groups in the door, we were able to educate them on the benefits of massage therapy and the various services Massage Heights offers. These types of events take the mystery out of massages and helps creates a personal relationship between influencers and massage therapists. Event attendees who book a massage while in-retreat are also offered free “elevations” (such as adding Hot Stone Therapy to their massage) to thank them, in addition to receiving membership pricing discounts on services and products. These partnerships have resulted in countless new memberships for Massage Heights and creates a buzz on social media about the company and its services. 

To date, we have managed 23 influencer partnerships for Massage Heights, resulting in 33 influencer posts, 11,210 likes and 1,154 comments.

Media Relations 
While the majority of our efforts were focused on social media and social influencers, we also worked to secure traditional media coverage for Massage Heights that we knew would be most impactful. A lot of our media relations strategy was focused on leveraging holidays and seasons. For example, we secured local TV segment opportunities surrounding holiday shopping and stress, New Year’s resolutions and seasonal allergies, as well as digital coverage in the form of local holiday gift guides and more.

We also helped set Cristina apart from other local business owners in the industry by securing thought-leadership opportunities in reputable local publications, such as Inside Indiana Business and Be Well Indy, discussing topics like the benefits of continued massage therapy and building a strong company culture. 

In one year, we have secured more than 26 pieces of media coverage resulting in over 5 million media impressions and more than $162,000 in publicity value. 

As both Massage Heights locations get busier, our goals and priorities have shifted. We now work to help the organization attract and recruit great employees. This includes posting new job openings on LinkedIn and Facebook, creating a massage therapist spotlight segment once a week on Facebook and Instagram, and constantly developing and promoting new content highlighting company culture and the benefits Massage Heights offers its employees. 

One year ago, Massage Heights came to us to help them build brand awareness and increase foot traffic. Today, they’re consistently booking appointments 3-4 weeks in advance now at both locations and have doubled the number of full-time therapists they employ to meet the increase in demand. 

Massage Heights continues to grow and is currently looking to hire new therapists to keep with demand. In fall 2019, Massage Heights will open its third location in Central Indiana – in Fishers – and Dittoe PR will provide social media, influencer and media relations support for the new location.