When it comes to understanding your audience, few things provide as much insight as how your audience describe themselves. What are the words and phrases that they use to talk about themselves?

Social media provides this answer to us in the form of profile biographies. Whether LinkedIn profile, Twitter bios, etc., we can learn quite a bit about our audiences if we dig into their words.

Here’s a fun exercise to try. Using any common influence measurement tools such as Sysomos or Followerwonk, export the bios of your followers.

Next, group them by whatever metric you choose; influence score, number of followers, engagement rate, etc.

Feed their bios, their profiles, into any natural language processing software, from a simple word cloud maker like Tagxedo or Wordle, to sophisticated artificial intelligence programs. Whatever you’ve got on hand, feel free to use it.

Here’s an example of the top quintile of my followers:


Here’s an example of the middle quintile of my followers:


Now, compare. What is the difference between higher influence groups and lower influence groups? What is the difference between people with less than 1000 followers and more than 1000 followers? What is the difference between people with low engagement versus high engagement?

If you’re more quantatitively-minded, use any word frequency tool to break out the words by count:


What can we learn from this exercise? If our most authoritative, influential followers are aligned with our target business audience, great. If not, we may want to change our definition of who constitutes an influencer. In turn, that changes who we reach out to, who we create content for, and who shares our stuff.

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