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COM 310 - Social Media

This guide is a companion to Professor Boroshok's COM 310 course to guide students through the social media marketing plan project for their selected nonprofit organization.

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. They conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. They do not take policy positions.

Look at the tabs across the website banner and click on Topics. There you might select Generation X, Generation Y, Millennials, Baby Boomers, Social Media, Digital Media or other related topics. You may also use their search box and type in key words. In the first row of tabs, you might select Hispanics or Social Trends to learn more about your target audiences.

Social Media Audience Research

This template may be used as a tool to analyze your potential Target Audience by creating a Target Audience/Customer Persona. Here is an article describing how to use the template:

Target Audience

Your assignment says:

Clearly define and justify at least one recommended target audience for the client. Include evidence of research to back your recommendations. For example, it isn't enough to say “XYZ should target men and women ages 21-35.” Show research to prove that is the right audience to target. What else do you know about those 21-35 year olds? Education level? Income? Married or single? Where do they live? The more detail you can offer, the better you can match up the organization, the audience, and your social media outreach.

If your client already has a clearly defined audience, help them evaluate their decision. Have they made the right pick? How do you know? Prove it with some attributed research.

Who will be the audience for your social media campaigns/messages? Below are some possible suggestions, however your group will have to identify in conjunction with your client, who they desire to reach with their social media campaigns. Then use the information below the  target audience suggestions to conduct research on those potential audiences.

When writing your goals for your client's social media plan, consider using S.M.A.R.T. goals. 

How to write SMART goals (Atlassian, Sept. 2021)

FA22 COM310 Clients - Target Audience Prompts


Consider all those who would be involved in volunteering to spend time with elderly:

  • College students
  • Twenty-somethings without families with spare time to volunteer
  • Early retirees (sixties) with time to volunteer or funds to donate
  • Faith-based organizations such as churches (see history of FriendshipWorks)
  • Organizations such as Councils on Aging, or Girl/Boy Scouts type of clubs, etc. who perform public service
  • Others?

Life Forest

Consider all who might be interested in environmental solutions, and/or planning for their own or family member's burials. Check out the Green Burial Council website.

  • Middle-aged or elder people planning their "death care" options - Children of nursing home residents or those living in senior centers/assisted living environments
  • Schools/colleges with environmental programs or clubs investigating land use options
  • Funeral parlors - particularly those offering cremation services
  • Donors - environmental organizations, government groups, land management agencies
  • Towns, cities, municipalities cemetery boards - to see options for utilization of limited spaces
  • Others?

New Hampshire Veterans Home

Consider the large veteran population and the span of ages representing all the major conflicts the United States has engaged in, along with their families who seek care and residential assistance for their loved ones.

  • Veterans of all ages and abilities
  • Families of veterans
  • Government representatives (to share with their taxpayer constituents)
  • Others?

League of Women Voters - Framingham, MA

Consider all the various ages of women in the Framingham area, as well as all politically active adults concerned with voting and voting rights. 

  • Girls K-12, Future voters (Chunk them up? Elementary school students? Middle school students? High school students? These may be very different demographics to target via social media)
  • Young adults; Thirty-somethings; forty-somethings; Seniors; etc.
  • Womens groups: Book clubs; exercise groups; Girl Scout troops, etc.
  • K-12 teachers/specialists in Framingham area public and private schools 
  • Parents of daughters
  • Donors - politically active adults
  • Others?

Target Audience Demographics & Psychographics

To find out more information about the types of people that would be candidates for involvement (donating, volunteering, joining, etc.) in your client's organization, you may begin by using some of these library databases listed below. For an overview check out the FAQ: How do I find target market information for my product?


Statista is an easy-to-use database to search for statistics, quantitative data, and related information. For this part of the project researching your target audience:

  • Use keywords appropriate to your anticipated target audience like: charity; charitable donations; charitable organisations (YES, spell it with an "s" as this is a European database); school sports, parents in the United States,  pet ownership, performing arts; senior center; etc.
  • Be sure to click on the Source provided in the box to the right of each chart to find much more information and data  
  • Examples:
    • This chart helps you identify which generations use which media channels to donate to charities/nonprofits which will help with your target audience-social media match up:

Chart showing % of each generation in the U.S. making charitable contributions by channel (Website, Mail, Social Media, Texting)

Mintel Academic

  • OPTION ONE: You may Type in Search Box terms appropriate to your client's mission and/or to your anticipated audience
    • Example: green burial - Senior Lifestyles - US - 2022 - scroll down to: Opportunities are strong for brands to help seniors make their final plans
  • OPTION TWO: Instead of using the Search Box, try clicking the "Demographics" tab to the right of the search box, and use the drop-down to select a demographic group such as "Gen Z (1995-2007)" for example.
  • Select appropriate Reports
  • Click on Report title - two choices from here are:
    • Click on drop-down menu under Interactive Databook section to select a topic within report. (Ex: Social Media Associations). Then click "Go to Databook." This will take you directly to survey results in a graph format. Click on "Explore Demographics" above right of any given chart to see a further demographic breakdown (ex: gender) than the age group for the report.
    • Click on Databook under the Download section to download an excel spreadsheet
      • Scroll down list of questions - Click on appropriate ones. Look across spreadsheet to analyze responses under each category at the top 
      • This breaks down into gender, age, race, ethnicity, household income, US geographical area, etc.

Esri Demographics

Tapestry Segmentation 

67 distinctive segments of the US population based on socioeconomic and demographic composition, further classified into LIfeMode and Urbanization groups.

  • To begin, you might select one of the 14 "LifeMode Groups" which range from categories like "Affluent Estates" to GenXurban to Scholars and Patriots. 
  • Click on the LIfeMode Group that might match your target audience
  • You will be taken down the page to a table with that LifeMode group's description with several "segments" to the right of the description list allowing you to further narrow down the category.
  • Click on a segment and a PDF will come up with descriptions Who are we?, Our Neighborhood, Socioeconomic Traits, Age by Sex, Race & Ethnicity, Income & Net Worth, Average Household Budget, Occupation by Earnings, and many other specifics on that particular population group to flesh out this target audience.

Example: Next Wave (Life Mode); Las Casas (Segment)
Cultural differences depict Las Casas, a family-oriented market distinguished by multigenerational households. Their spending reflects their children—baby food and furniture or children’s apparel—and convenience—fast food and family restaurants. Consumer choices also focus on personal style, as well as the latest trends and fashions. Although young and predominantly renters, this market is stable, affected more by immigration from abroad than local moves.

ESRI demographic segment Las Casas: Who we are; Neighborhoods; Socioeconomic traits  Demographic Segment Las Casas: Age by sex; Race & ethnicity; Income & net worth; average household budge; occupation by earnings

Demographic segment Las Casas: Market profile; Housing; Population characteristics; ESRI Indexes  Demographic segment Las Casas: Segment density map of US

SRDS - Claritas 360

The Claritas 360 database is part of the SRDS database and has a steeper learning curve. The following FAQs are a good place to start:

SRDS - Claritas 360 sample search for COM310

Most of your COM310 clients will be trying to market to people to volunteer for their organization, so here is a sample search to learn about a potential audience who might volunteer and cross-tabulate it with their use of various social media platforms: 

  1. Click SRDS in A-Z Database List
  2. Click Claritas 360 in the banner across the top
  3. Log In to Claritas 360
  4. Click My 360
  5. Click Profile Ranking Index
    1. Search “Volunteer” in the search box, click the orange search button
    2. Click “Activities past 12 months Volunteer work…”
    3. Click Next
    4. Click the arrow next to Claritas Profiles
    5. Click Claritas Consumer Profiles 2021
    6. Click the arrow to left
    7. Scroll to Household Demographics and click the arrow
      1. Select Household Detailed Demographics
      2. Select desired demographics (Ex: Age ranges; Household Income levels; Race; Education levels; Employment; etc.)
    8. When finished, scroll down the list to click the arrow next to Telecommunications (Neilsen Scarborough), 2021
      1. Scroll down to select ones that mention social media platforms and all the Social Networking Sites – hours spent… choices
    9. Alternately, you can also choose Psychographics which entail all kinds of personal choices from preferences for purchasing various items; attitudes toward children; how the internet accessed on various devices makes one feel; compare with various household demographics or with Telecommunications preferences.
    10. Click Submit button when finished selecting parameters
    11. When the job is complete, click the top of the 3 boxes that appear, Report Output (Excel), to view and analyze the results

Instead of "volunteer" as your search, you may choose to search for other behaviors such as "contributed" or others relative to your client.

Use the second FAQ above to refine your search to a specific county in New Hampshire for clients within the state.

Bureau of Labor Statistics: American Time Use Survey