Identifying your audience
Understand the demographics and behaviors of your audience

Some useful expressions

  • Target audience:- The group of people your business aims to serve or support. These may be existing customers, or potentially new customers. 
  • Psychographics :- This is information related to people’s behaviors and attitudes. Whilst demographics explain who people are, psychographics help to explain why they behave in a certain way. 
  • Millennials:- The name used to describe people born roughly between the 1980s and the early 2000s. 

How to define your target audience

In the previous lesson “Understanding your target audience”, we asked you to start thinking about your customers (their age, gender, etc.) In this lesson, we will build on this to help you define your target audience.

As we go through these series of blog posts, consider your current customers. Who are they? Why do they buy from you? What are their needs and interests? The key is to look for the common, or shared, characteristics.

Don’t worry if you’re just starting out. Think of your favourite shop or café and consider who their audience may be. Our checklist below will help guide you through the key things to look at.

Let's start with demographic

  • Age: What age group will your audience most likely be?
    Millennials (20 – 30-year-olds) will often interact with businesses through social media in a very different way to their parents (40 – 50-year-olds). Millennials are likely to be more active throughout the day on their smartphone, whereas their parents may only access social media once or twice a week and may prefer to use their desktop computer. 

  • Gender: Are they mostly men or women or is there an equal split?
    Men and women often have different tastes and preferences, meaning a focus on one over the other could be useful to establish early on. 

  • Location: Does your business rely on customers coming into your store or can they make purchases online? If you rely heavily on them coming to you, make sure you adapt your social media activity to those who are local to you. 

For example: It is no use advertising your beauty store in Mumbai to an audience in Bangalore. They are unlikely to visit if it’s too far away!

  • Language: Which language(s) do they speak?
    To improve your reach and engage more customers in a multilingual area, translate your content into the most widely used languages. Think about which language(s) your audience speak and tailor your content to them. While some social channels automatically translate – not all can. To be safe, check twice before posting. 
  • Occupation and income: Are your customers mostly university students, housewives or busy working professionals? You can learn a lot about your audience’s buying behaviour by looking at their occupation and income. 
For example: University students often have less disposable income but may have more time to shop around for the best deal. Working professionals may have more money to spend but less time to spare. Compare the two groups. How do their needs differ? What role does social media play in their lives?

Top tip: Working professionals are known to access social media during their commute to and from work. To capture their attention, try to post during the morning or evening.

  • Marital or family status: Are your customers mostly married? Do they have children, and if so, what age?
    Understanding this may reveal some interesting insights into what really moves your audience to take action. 
For example: Konal owns a barber shop and he knows that the majority of his clients are young dads. Knowing that this is a key part of his target audience, he decides to tailor the content on his Twitter feed to their interests. He posts funny snippets of “father-son” conversations he overhears in his barber shop on Twitter. He finds he gets more followers and more dads start bringing their sons with them to have a haircut together.
  • What about psychographics?
    Psychographic information helps to explain the personal characteristics of an audience – revealing why people behave in a certain way. Think about the unique traits of your audience and what it is that inspires them to buy your products. 
  • Needs: Look at your business and its products and services. What issues or problems do they solve? What value does your business add to someone’s life? The answers to these questions can help you to understand the motivations behind your customers’ actions. 
For example: People buy products from a homeware company because they want make their home a nicer place to live.

This is a useful insight that explains why a customer may use or purchase your products or services. It can help you to demonstrate how your business fulfils their specific needs when you’re talking to them on social media.
  • Interests, attitudes and values: What are your audience interested in and what do they value most? Is it their time, family, well-being or religion? Does your audience have any interests or hobbies that align with your business? Even if they don’t – consider whether this information can help you improve your offering or message. Really understanding what makes someone tick is key to capturing and maintaining their interest. 
Let’s pause for a second. What does your audience enjoy, value or love? Are they food lovers, animal lovers, fashion-focused, career-oriented or sporty? Try to write down 3 – 4 of the most commonly shared values and interests. Then think about how you could use this information to improve your social media activity.
For example: Gym owner Aryan knows his clientele of 30-something professional men share his interest in healthy eating. To engage his social media audience and grow his reach, he shares convenient and nutritious recipes that will suit their busy lifestyles. Soon after, he notices an improvement in engagement and an increase in subscriptions. And his gym is now busier than ever.
  • Lifestyle: Understanding a customer’s lifestyle can also inform your understanding of their needs and restrictions (e.g. time, money or knowledge). This is where your business can set itself apart. By truly understanding how your products or services fulfil your customers’ needs, you can create a proposition that really appeals to your audience. Not only will you understand how to talk to them about it, you will also know which social channels to talk to them on. 
For example: Fashion addict Yogi, is a busy web developer who has little time to update her wardrobe. She recently discovered a dressmaker who shares a weekly collection of new styles on her social profile and takes orders online. Yogi quickly became a regular customer. The convenient service complemented her busy lifestyle and her love of fashion perfectly.

Case Study

Devika Srimal Bappa, an animal lover and a PETA volunteer started Kanabis, a brand for fashionable, affordable, high quality and PETA-approved vegan footwear in 2015 as a substitute to leather based shoes for all animal lovers like her. She thanks social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram where thousands of fans and like minded people have made her socially relevant business a huge hit.

Over to you

There is a lot to cover here, but don’t worry – take your time. We suggest taking a pen and paper and creating a list of your audience characteristics (age, gender, interests, etc.) and think of how you can apply this insight to your social media strategy.
For example:
Age 20-30 – They are active on social media when commuting to and from work, so I should share posts during these times – early morning and early evening.
And don’t forget, you can use your favourite shop or café for this exercise as well.
Top tip: Not sure where to start? Speak to family and friends that fit your customer profile and ask them about their interests and lifestyle.

Key takeouts

  • It’s important to look at both demographics (“who” your target audience are) as well as psychographics (“why” they behave in a certain way) when defining your audience.
  • Demographics will help to ensure you target the right type of people (age, gender, location).
  • Psychographics will help to ensure you deliver the right type of content, using the right channels (based on their needs, interests and lifestyle).