One of the most sensational events in the history of marketing is undoubtedly Fyre Festival. If you aren’t familiar with the failed luxury music festival (and have a couple of hours to fall into an internet rabbit hole), buckle up and brace yourself for an endless barrage of: “Wait, what?” There weren’t many things Fyre Festival got right (see infamous sandwich tweet), but it did manage to soar in one critical marketing principle: Knowing its target audience and knowing them well. What made the fraudulent festival so diabolical was how well the organizers understood their target audience of upper-crust, social media-obsessed millennials, and all the elements needed to attract them to the event. Identifying, understanding, and creating for your target audience(s) is absolutely key when developing any social media marketing strategy. Let’s get into it.
Understanding Target Audience
Imagine getting on stage to deliver a speech in English, but soon realizing the crowd only understands French and every translator is on vacation. Or imagine if Borat 2 was marketed to kids as a family-friendly, father-daughter comedy? Yikes. Knowing your target audience is a fundamental first step in ensuring success for your brand, company, or message. So, let’s ensure you’re armed with all the right steps and processes to narrowing your target audience.
For starters, what is a target audience? A target audience is defined as a specific group of people you want to reach with your brand, company, or message. (PLANOLY Pro-Tip: You can find other helpful social media marketing terms on this blog post.)
For a brand example, let’s look at one of our favorites, Glossier. When the barrier-breaking beauty brand made its industry debut, it was clear whom their minimal, pink-painted aesthetic marketing was targeted towards – diverse, millennial women with an interest in natural beauty. Their target audience has expanded to date, with the brand’s growing product catalog and inclusive marketing featuring male, non-binary, and mature models. All that to say, your initial target audience isn’t always static and may shift as your brand continues to evolve.
Identifying Target Audience
When first identifying your target audience, it’s important to have your brand identity clearly defined and top of mind to help guide your process. To borrow a similar sentiment from one of our generation’s wisest scholars, RuPaul: If you can't define your brand, how in the hell are you gonna market to somebody else? Knowing this distinction is key for refining and strengthening your strategies and subsequent content. It’s why the brands Dial and Aesop, though both sellers of hand soap, don’t have the same target audience or even remotely similar social content.
When identifying your target market, think in terms of a funnel. At the top of the funnel is everyone in the world. It’s a noble dream to aim to appeal to every single person, but unless you’re literally air, water, sunlight, or a Pokéball, you can’t meet or catch everyone’s needs and interests. Your best bet is ensuring your brand, company, or message appeals directly to a set demographic of people. The better you’re able to define and narrow your target audience, the more successful you’ll be in connecting with the people who will become your fans, customers, or allies.
With that in mind, let’s get into the specifics of identifying your target audience. There are at least five key factors to consider when defining your audience, and most can be uncovered by knowing your brand, company, or message’s intent thoroughly – as well as taking a look under the hood of your social analytics. These factors include:
- Spending power
- Marital status
- Geographic location
To help populate these factors at the onset of your strategy, you can ask yourself questions like the ones below to help get a realistic sense of who they are and ultimately how to best reach them through your social content.
- What’s the average annual income for this group of people?
- What age range or generation do these people tend to fall into?
- Where do they live in the world and what type of content do they typically gravitate towards?
- What sort of hobbies, passions, subcultures, or even fandoms interest this group of people?
These questions are important to understand because they inform how a person will respond to you as a consumer or supporter. For example, let’s say you’re a small business owner who makes and sells fabulous wallpaper and fabrics like Drop It Modern. Based on the product, aesthetic style, and price point, you can surmise that your target audience enjoys interior design, has an appreciation for modern art and handcrafted goods, likely holds a college education or higher, and lives in a metropolitan city.
These factors all come together to help guide the social content you create and share. Knowing these elements will help ensure your content is finely tuned to your audience's interests and garner authentic engagement and affinity for your brand and product.
Analyzing Target Audience
For any armchair social scientists or data nerds out there, the analysis step in defining your target audience was made for you! Based on your budget, there are a couple of ways to learn more about your target audience. You can go full Tesla SUV, champagne-budget and partner with an agency that specializes in branding and mining consumer and cultural insights. Or you can pull on your white coat and best blue-light-blocking glasses, open up your brand guide and analyze the social data readily available via PLANOLY's Analyze feature!
As important as it is to have an idea of whom you think your audience is, it’s equally important to assess the current demographics that actually make up your audience by analyzing your social insights. In some instances, you may realize your audience includes additional demographics you were unaware of.
Our Analyze dashboard provides you with an in-depth audit of your recent Instagram and/or Pinterest content, follower demographics, and engagement metrics. Having this data on demand allows you to analyze your content performance in real-time and make adjustments to your strategy as needed. Maybe your #TipTuesday content knocks it out of the park each week, but mostly when it's a product tutorial and less so when it's a shopping guide. That's okay! Don't take it personally. The more you get to know the interests, habits, and priorities of your target audience, the better you can refine your social content and build stronger connections. And that's ultimately what it's all about, right?
Ultimately, the value of identifying, defining, and understanding your target audience lies in how you leverage these insights to create more focused, unique, and impactful content that resonates with your followers.