Why you need to know your audience

Do you know who you want to read your social media posts, your website or your blog?

Knowing your audience is vital if you want to grow your network and your business. If you are posting information which is not of interest to your target market, they won’t read it. Likewise, if you’re putting out content in a style which your audience does not respond to, they will stop paying attention to you.

A photo of a microphone. Who are you talking to? Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

Followers don't matter, interaction does

It doesn’t matter how many page likes you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter. These are vanity metrics. You could be followed by 20,000 people but unless those people are actively engaging with what you have to say, you’re not going to develop a relationship.

You aim on social media should be to build an engaged community. This is your tribe, people who believe in you and are interested in what you have to say. They will respond to your posts, join in conversations with you and click through to your website. From there, if you have created the right website, and are offering products and services they want to use, you can turn them into customers.

What does your ideal audience like?

If you were to meet someone in your target audience in a pub, what would you talk about? Perhaps they wouldn’t be in a pub but in a coffee shop. Knowing what your audience is interested in guides what you talk about on social media and your blog. You should have an idea of your audience already but now you need to think beyond their interest in what your business does and look at the other things in their life.

Are they parents? Do they share a concern about the environment? Would they like holidays in exotic locations? Where do they shop? Spending time to sit down and picture your audience will help you decide what messages will resonate with them. Give them a name, think about what they do, where they go, what they want from life. This is called creating an audience persona. Not all your customers will be the same so it’s worth thinking about three or four people and looking at what they might have in common.

Now you have an idea of what they do all day, consider when they are online and which social media platforms they use.

You don’t have to be everywhere on social media

How many social media platforms does your business have profiles on? You may feel you spend more time doing social media than anything else! You don’t need to be everywhere. Your audience won’t be. Pick one or two channels which you are confident your audience is using.

Are you selling business to business? Look at LinkedIn. Does your audience respond well to images? Instagram might be better for you. Would you like to talk to your audience in real time and discuss issues? Take a look at Twitter. All social media platforms are different and people use them in different ways. Think about which ones the people you want to talk to use and when.

The 80:20 rule

People don’t like being sold to. Your blog and your social media should be entertaining and informative. Only around 20% of what you share should be directly about persuading people to buy from you. Provide a mix of content your audience will respond to. It doesn’t have to be yours. Find relevant, good quality, curated content which you can share on the issues which matter to the people you are talking to.

Be careful not to go off topic and make sure you are sharing things of interest to your audience, rather than you. It’s worth making a list of 6-8 topics which your audience is interested in and then looking for content which fits them. This way you know you will always be sharing information which chimes with the people who chose to follow you, sign up to receive your newsletter or bookmark your blog.

The key thing to remember when you are creating content for your website, a newsletter or social media is to think about who is going to be reading. Create great content which people will enjoy and you will see traffic and engagement increase.

Rachel Extance (photo by Jemima Willcox)

Rachel Extance helps business tell their stories so they can reach a wider audience for their work and ideas. A professional journalist, she knows how to write stories people find relevant and engaging. If you would like help to get your message across, need someone who can write articles for you regularly, or you would like actionable ideas for how to tell more people about what you do, get in touch by emailing rachel@extance.co.uk or contact her on social media.

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