Without a doubt, social media has become one of the best tools for building brands, obtaining influence, and reaching the masses. We often hear about amazing strategies, groundbreaking tools, and new developments, but what’s the secret? How can we use these strategies, tools, and innovations to successfully leverage social media platforms like Instagram?

We haven’t found a  definitive answer, but through our work, we’ve found that the first step to success is finding a target audience.  

Define your Ideal Customer

If you want to find your target audience, then you need to know who your ideal customer is. In reality, your target audience is just a group of individuals who each represent your ideal customer; sure there will be some slight nuances, but determining an ideal customer serves as the foundation.

To identify their ideal customer, companies should view their products and services from their customer’s point of view. There are millions of questions that can be asked, but what it boils down to is, “what value does my service or product provide my customer?” Once you’ve determined this, you can develop a basic hypothesis and run experiments to determine whether or not it’s true.

Ideally, this is information that your marketing department should already have, so make sure to ask them first!

Engagement Analytics

Engagement analytics are a great way to understand your current following. Ultimately, this information can be leveraged to further identify your target customer and more importantly, show you where you currently stand.

Lucky for you, Instagram provides baseline analytics on their platform which allows organizations to view demographics on their following that includes age, gender, and location.

View Other Pages

Once you’ve reaffirmed who your ideal customer is, it’s time to check out other account pages.

To optimize the research process, companies should classify pages into two categories: competition and aspiration.

Looking at competitor’s pages is a great way to test assumptions about your target market. Take time to view the types of individuals interacting with your competitors content, and then ask yourself, do these individuals fit the description of my target market? If they don’t, you may need to re-access who you believe your ideal customer is.

Aspirations, on the other hand, are pages that you aspire to be like. Once again, view the page’s followers and cross-reference them with your ideal customer persona.

Make Contact

Once you’ve analyzed your competitors and the accounts you aspire to be like, the final step is to make direct contact with your target audience.

There are tons of different ways to make direct contact with your target audience; the first is via direct message. Identify a couple of your most engaged followers and ask them what type of information they would like to see and what they currently like about the content that you post. Since DM’s are so personal, only use this method with followers that are highly engaged.

Another way to ask your followers questions is via surveys. Fortunately, Instagram allows individuals to place surveys on their story’s.

Finally, ask questions directly in your content post. If you ask, there’s a good chance you’ll get some honest answers in the comment section.

Whether you’re a multi-million dollar organization or just an individual looking to build their social media presence, target audiences matter. The same recommendations used in this article are used by some of the top social media experts; so give it a try and the rest is sure to follow!