Between Facebook and Twitter, marketers have access to hundreds of millions of consumers around the world.

That, for obvious reasons, has helped make social media one of the hottest areas for marketing investment in the past several years.

But social media marketing isn’t without its challenges. Audience doesn’t always equate to reach, and reach doesn’t always produce ROI.

One of the biggest hurdles in figuring out how to maximize social media as a marketing medium is targeting.

If your brand has 50,000 followers on Twitter, for example, you probably don’t really know who they are, who they’re connected to and what they’re interested in.

Social analytics upstart Visibli wants to change that with its new Follower Intelligence, which is designed to help marketers get to better know their Twitter fans. TheNextWeb explains:

The [server] will let you know what percentage of followers are interested in technology, news and politics, movies and TV, music, sports and recreation, health and beauty, entertainment, books, food and drink, and shopping.

[It] also give[s] insight into the top links shared by Twitter users, the top domains, and trending links. When it comes to specific links, you can see exactly which stories followers are sharing, regardless of the source, as well as the number of hits the links have received.

According to Visibli’s co-founder, “Brands would use this to share better content, segment and target followers, and also decide where to focus their digital spend, since we tell them what sites their followers share content from.” In other words, Visibli wants to help marketers make their social media efforts more effective by making social targeting possible.

The big question for brands, of course, is whether the type of intelligence Visibli provides can actually be put to use in a meaningful way. On this note, it’s worth considering that Twitter is typically used as a one-to-many marketing platform, so even if marketers can use Visibli’s Follower Intelligence to better segment their Twitter fan bases, they will need to figure out how to actually deliver marketing messages to them in a targeted fashion.

That may prove challenging, but arguably it’s something that needs to be done and expect to see more marketers getting interested in who their social media fans are in the very near future.