Internet has created various new avenues of sharing information, interests, and ideas etc. which were unthinkable and unimaginable of a decade back. ‘Social media’ is the buzzword of the day among people across ages in the present day scenario. These computer-mediated technologies not only allow users to interact with each other but also facilitate sharing of content such as pictures, videos etc.
There are varied kind of social media that cater to different kind of segment of audience. Several critical factors determine the success or failure of the social media platform. The ‘reach’ of the platform is one among the several important factors that determine the business potential. When we are discussing about the reach of the platform, we need to discuss about the target audience. The target audience could be students or working professionals or it could be anyone who have access to internet. Statistics show that platforms that have access to wider network of audience have more business volume than those that are limited to a particular segment.
Let’s take the example of Facebook. With 1,590 million users as of April 2016, Facebook is way ahead in its reach among its peers. The increased penetration of Facebook can be attributed to its wider reach of audience. On the other hand, if we take the case of LinkedIn, it targets only a particular segment of people which is the working professionals. With over 100 million users as of April 2016, LinkedIn is in the bottom of the social media rank list. The vast difference in subscriber base of Facebook and LinkedIn proves that target audience plays a critical role in determining the business volume of social media platforms.
As with any business venture, one should tread cautiously and test the waters before launching a social media platform. Prospective entrepreneurs should research and garner statistical information to understand the usage habits of social media platforms. This background research will not only prove resourceful in determining the audience segment but will also be helpful in understanding various characteristics such as ‘how much time they are spending on the social media platform’, ‘what is the most used feature in the platform’ and the content if any that is being shared through the platform. Understanding these characteristics will help prospective entrepreneurs to develop the required features that need to be incorporated within the platform.