Who is Your Target Audience on Social Media?
It may seem so simple it doesn’t bear stating, but social media is founded on social interaction—on communication between you as a content creator and your audience. If you want to build an online community around your brand, see an increase in engagement, and grow your business online, you have to start by understanding your target audience. Once you have an idea of who you want to reach, you can target them more directly with the content you create. Ideally, your followers should feel like you are seeing them, like you’re engaging in a dialogue with them through your posts. If you can develop a connection with your audience, you can turn people who happen to see your posts into people who want to do business with you!
So, who is your audience? Lots of people see your content, fewer people engage with it, and fewer still go all the way from seeing a post to sending a DM or clicking through to your website. Your audience is not anybody and everybody on social media; you want to identify a niche and occupy it. You can start by thinking about a broader demographic or behavioral categories like “millennials” or “parents of young children” or “men over fifty.”
Although you can sell to everyone, you can’t target everyone. You want to think about which categories represent the bulk of your clientele, your best potential customers, and then about whether the content you post reflects their interests and values. A real estate agent who sells homes to families could feature local kid-friendly restaurants, parks, and family-centered events on their feed. An agent who finds apartments for young couples could spotlight nightlife or suggest date spots. Your brand colors, fonts, and design can reflect the age and aesthetic sensibilities of your audience—even your emoji usage can be tailored to the demographic you want to reach! For example, 😂 conveys laughter among older audiences, but when Gen Z laughs online, they’re more inclined to use 💀 —as if to say, “I’m laughing so hard, I’m dead!” If you make jokes and references in your captions, make sure they’ll land with the people you’re targeting.
You’ll also want to consider the timing of your post. Get content up just before noon for 9:00-5:00 office workers going on their lunch breaks, or post in the late afternoon if you’re hoping to reach college students just out of class.
You might worry about becoming too hyper-specific with your branding, and fear alienating people outside your target audience if your content is too niche. However, excessively generic content runs the risk of not resonating with any audience—your social media marketing strategy has to strike a balance between these two extremes. The more personality you can inject into your content, though, the more memorable it will be. We’d recommend leaning more towards niche content than generic content, especially if you’re targeting younger audiences. If you make a niche post that someone in your audience doesn’t initially understand, you can use that confusion to your advantage; there’s a good chance they’ll poke around on your page for more clues as to what you’re posting about! If you are someone’s first exposure to a new trend or internet in-joke, your account acts like a gateway to a larger online community. You should try to create something that people want in on. This doesn’t mean you should aim to confuse with your posts, of course, but don’t be afraid to jump on the latest viral craze! Memes, popular shows and movies, and even celebrity gossip are all fair game.
If you can invest in audience research, you’ll be able to target consumers with even more specificity. You can learn which platforms your audience use, what sort of other content they come to those platforms to find, and much, much more. Even without paying for research, though, you can pay attention to your audience and learn a lot about how they behave based on how they engage with your content. Stay as responsive as possible, and understand that the segment of your audience you’re most interested in reaching could evolve over time. If your content starts to really resonate with people outside the target audience you had in mind, it never hurts to reevaluate your strategy. Think about leaning into a new niche if that new niche could make for a richer, more active online community. At the end of the day, what you want is to build relationships online. Once you are a consistent, recognizable presence in your followers’ feeds, you’ll become part of their habitual social media use. You don’t just want to be “an account”—you want to be one of the accounts, with an audience that knows what to expect from you and would miss your content if it vanished from their feed. To get to that point, though, you have to start by knowing exactly who it is you’re trying to connect with. Find your niche and fill it!