Defining your social media audience
17th February 2021
Defining the right target audience for your social media channels can be game changing when it comes to driving engagement and generating leads. Get it wrong, and your amazing content won't reach the right people, but get it right, and you open up a whole new avenue of potential customers.
The complexity here is that every social media channel has slightly different audience expectations, even if you're targeting the same specific group.
Note: If you're stuck on what to post and where to post it - join a free social media strategy session and we'll give you inspiration, tool recommendations, and all the advice you need to get started.
Even the most relevant, informative and entertaining content can't be successful if it doesn't reach the right people. LinkedIn alone has 760 million users. By not having a clear understanding of your audience demographics and the type of content that will engage them, you're going to get lost amongst the noise pretty quickly.
Similarly, with Twitter, the average tweet lasts just seven seconds, leaving you very little time to create an impact - unless your tweets are seen by the right people, at the right time.
If you're not already using paid social, or want to improve your results, you need a clear vision of who you're trying to target. The huge benefit of paying to place or promote your content is that platforms help you get very specific with audience selection, right down to factors such as age, skills, and location.
The right audience selection criteria with paid social, will also extend the reach of your organic content by getting you brand in front of people who meet your target audience criteria - but may not be following you already. This new audience then becomes more likely to follow you and interact with your posts.
However, a one-off post will not create an audience. Audiences are built over time, so keeping your regular, organic content relevant and meaningful, is every bit as essential as ticking the right boxes with your paid posts.
- Facebook has more than 2.74 billion active monthly users
- 56% of Facebook users over the age of 13 identify as male
- 42% of Facebook's monthly active users are located in the Asia-Pacific region
- Only 8.9% of Facebook's users are in the US, while Europe, as a whole, only compromises 15.9%
- 25-34 year olds make up the largest portion of Facebook users
- There are over 340 million Twitter users globally
- More than 80% of Twitter's global audience is under 50 years old
- 44% of 18-24-year-old Americans use Twitter
- The Twitter gender breakdown is evenly split
- The most followed users on Twitter are Barack Obama, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Rihanna - suggesting that politics and pop culture are firmly on a typical user's radar
- LinkedIn has over 760 million users worldwide
- 46-55 year olds make up the biggest portion of LinkedIn's general audience (37%), however, 25-34 year old's dominate when it comes to LinkedIn's advertising audience, likely because of their high purchasing power and early career status
- 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, versus only 9% of members with a high school diploma or less
- 33.1% of global Instagram audiences are aged between 25 and 34 years old - In total, over two-thirds of total Instagram audiences are aged 34 years or younger
- 43% of adult women in the United States are on Instagram (compared to 31% of men)
- There are over 1 billion active monthly Instagram users globally
- Research found that the top interests on Instagram are travel (45%), music (44%), and food and drink (43%)
- Roughly 50% of TikTok's global audience is under the age of 34, with 26% between 18 and 24
- Despite being a new platform, TikTok already has 1 billion active monthly users
- The United States only represents 5% of TikTok’s global audience, with Chinese users spending the most time on the app
- 35% of TikTok users have participated in a hashtag challenge, while 64% have tried the platform's face filters and lenses
- Educational content is taking off on TikTok - over 14 million educational videos were shared on TikTok in 2019
When defining your own social media target audience, look at the broader overview of who's using each social media channel, and compare that to your own target demographic. For example, by taking into account that 44% of 18-24-year-old Americans use Twitter, you can select products and services that appeal to that group as your main focus. You can also use a tone-of-voice, language, and messaging that will appeal to this demographic.
If you already have a clear vision of who you'd like to target, find out what channels they're using, how they're using them (are they likely to engage with someone selling, or do they want educational content?) and look at what content formats they're most likely to interact with - do they prefre video, images or text?
If your target audience is slightly younger, TikTok may be a platform to consider - even if it feels out of the realms of your brand. TikTok is no longer a social media platform for creating dances and silly clips (ok, well it is still those things), but it's also an opportunity to extend your audience reach. Even if making regular content isn't a priority, you can still tap into that audience via paid channels.
A great way to start implementing this technique or to gain inspiration is to look at your competitors and understand their successes. But do so with the knowledge that your brand has its own personality and following, so what works for them, may not work for you.
Having a clear vision of who you want your target audience to be, generates the best ROI. Whether that be from a monetary or an engagement standpoint. Knowing what type of content your audience wants to see also speeds up content creation by providing set topics for you to work with (this is something ContentCal can also help with).
Note: Need a hand bringing your content to life? Join a free social media strategy session where we'll give you inspiration, tool recommendations, and general advice to help you get started.
- Persona research - learn everything there is to know about the personalities who buy from you
- Platform research - understand which platform you are most likely to find your target audience on, and if your audience is split across multiple platforms, decide how to differentiate your tone, language, and message for each one
- Competitor knowledge - get an overview of how other businesses are engaging with your target group. You'll know what you're up against and see what works for them. Look at where your competitors are having the most success and what they are doing to generate it
- Measure and track what you do. Analytics are everything. This will provide data-led insight into what your audience interacts with, how they engage, and where they go to get their content.
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