Brand awareness and loyalty

8 sure-fire ways to find your target market on Instagram

  • 18 Minutes
Getting a bunch of followers that don't matter to your brand? Get proactive and find your ideal audience with these 8 tips!

We have a hard truth to share: your Instagram follower count means nothing unless you’re turning those users into customers.

Ultimately, likes and followers are vanity metrics. Even if your brand has hundreds of followers, it won’t make any impact on your bottom line unless you have the right kind of users following your brand.

And that’s why it’s important to find, reach and attract your target market on Instagram. By capturing the attention of high-value users (with a strong chance of conversion), you’ll be able to generate stronger engagement, boost the value of your followers and drive stronger results from your Instagram marketing.

So, how do you find and convert your target market on Instagram? Keep reading to discover the value of getting in front of your ideal customers on Instagram as well as eight practical strategies to connect with your target audience on Instagram.

Why is it important to get in front of your target audience on Instagram?

There are roughly one billion monthly active users on Instagram. And the reality is that only a fraction of those users will be interested in what your brand has to say.

And that’s why it’s essential you have a clear understanding of exactly who you’re trying to reach, engage and convert on Instagram.

Ultimately, the more laser focused you are on attracting and connecting with your ideal audience, the more likely you’ll be to drive tangible results from your Instagram marketing.

But the benefits of getting in front of your target audience on Instagram don’t stop there. In fact, there are stacks of reasons to find your target market, including:

  • It allows you to tailor your Instagram content for maximum impact: by having a granular understanding of the needs, challenges and aspirations of your audience, you can serve hyper-relevant content on Instagram that captures and converts these users.
  • It ensures a strong ROI from your Instagram efforts: by strategically targeting the most valuable users on Instagram, you can supercharge your results and convert more users from followers to customers with ease.
  • It enables you to reach high-value users at-scale: rather than pouring thousands in social advertising, a well-targeted organic Instagram strategy can help you tap into valuable pools of relevant users (and serve as a low-cost conversion driver).

Ready to uncover and reach your ideal customers on Instagram? Let’s walk you through a stack of practical ways you can find your target audience on Instagram.

Review your Instagram Insights to understand your current audience

Before we dive into mapping out your ideal audience personas, it’s important to assess who you’re currently reaching on Instagram. By auditing your current Instagram audience you’ll be able to understand the current demographic of your followers.

Whether your Instagram followers have purchased from your brand or not, they represent a valuable research tool for your business.

By reviewing who is already engaging with your brand on Instagram, you can identify patterns or trends in your existing audience that will help you to craft data-driven audience personas (but more on that in a minute).

So, how can you assess your current audience on Instagram? The first step is to dive into your Instagram Insights and review the types of users that are already following your brand.

To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Head to your Instagram account’s Insights tab
  • Under the heading ‘Your Audience’ tap Total Followers
  • Change the data range to the ‘Last 30 Days’ and tap Update

From here, you’ll be served a full breakdown of your current Instagram audience, including:

  • Top Locations: this gives you a snapshot of both the cities and countries your followers are located in.
  • Age Range: you can see both a total snapshot of your follower’s age range as well as a breakdown by male followers vs. female followers.
  • Gender: this pie chart reveals the percentage of your followers that are male or female.
  • Most Active Times: this data reveals both times of day as well as days of the week when your followers are most active on Instagram.

So, how can you leverage this data to your advantage? It’s your job to review your Instagram Follower’s analytics thoroughly to assess the broad demographics of users that are currently following your brand.

Here are a few helpful questions to help you draw insights from this data:

  • What are the top cities and countries my audience is located in? This will help you understand the geographic locations of your followers (which is particularly helpful if your business has a physical presence in brick and mortar stores).
  • What is the dominant age group of my audience? This will help you assess the average age of your followers and help you pinpoint what life stage they are at, too.
  • What gender are the majority of my followers? This will give you an insight into whether your audience is skewed male or female, or if your audience is evenly split between both.

With these insights on hand, you can use this to inform the specific audience personas you’ll map out and ensure these target groups are based on real-world data.

Run a demographic survey

Along with auditing your current Instagram followers, another powerful tool to define your target audience is to run demographic surveys.

In a nutshell, a demographic survey is a set of questions that you ask your customers to better understand who is purchasing from your business. These responses reveal valuable insights into exactly who your customers are as well as their needs, challenges, aspirations and values.

So, what questions should you be asking in a demographic survey? Ultimately it’s a balance of gathering enough detailed information to understand your audience whilst not overwhelming your customers with endless boxes to tick.

To get the most out of your demographic survey, start by considering these questions:

  • What do you already know about your customers? Tap into your existing analytics and see what information you’ve already gathered about your buyers (whether that’s data about their location, age or gender). This will help you cut down the number of irrelevant questions in your survey and ensure you focus on gathering new insights instead.
  • What insights do you want to gather through this survey? Think about your goal for this survey (whether that’s learning about education level, what job they do or how much expendable income they have). This will help you refine the scope of your survey to focus on the most relevant and important questions.

To help you craft your demographic survey, here are some questions you can consider asking:

  • Which age range do you fit into?
  • What is your gender?
  • What is your marital status?
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • What category best describes your employment status?
  • Which price range best describes your total household income in the past 12 months?

In terms of running and sending out a demographic survey, you have a bunch of options to choose from. Remember, where you distribute your survey will depend on your goal and what insights you’re hoping to generate.

Here are a few options you could consider:

  • Sending out your demographic survey to past customers on your mailing list.
  • Running a quick survey via your Instagram Stories usings Question and Poll stickers.
  • Sharing this survey with customers once they check-out on your website.

A practical way to incentivise participation in your survey is to offer a lucrative prize for those that complete it. You could consider giving away a store voucher, exclusive discount code or giveaway a prize to motivate customers or followers to take action and fill out the survey.

Once your survey has been completed by a strong pool of respondents, take some time to review the responses and pick out trends or insights from this data. This will come in handy when defining your audience personas (which we’ll help you create next!).

Clarify who you’re trying to reach with audience personas

This step is one of the most important: creating your audience personas. And here’s why it’s worth taking the time to craft these personas: 24% of companies have generated more leads by developing clear audience personas.

Whether you call them buyer personas or audience personas, the goal of this exercise is the same: to create fictional representations of your ideal customers.

These personas need to be based on customer research and data (which is what you’ve conducted in the previous two steps). By mapping out these ideal personas, you’ll be able to strategically target and reach your customers on Instagram and move them from brand discovery to conversion at-scale.

And remember: your brand is likely to have more than one audience persona. That’s because each key customer group will come to your business for different reasons, and each will have different needs, challenges and motivators to address.

With your customer data and Instagram audience insights on-hand, you’ll be able to easily map out your buyer personas in tonnes of details.

Ready to get started? Let’s walk you through the steps you need to take to bring your audience personas to life.

Step One: Map out your personas’ broad demographic information

To kick things off, you’ll need to list out your personas’ basic demographic data. Start by giving your persona a fictional name, then fill out a profile that gives you and your team a quick snapshot of who they are, including:

  • Their age
  • Where they live
  • What they do for work
  • Whether they’re married, divorced, single etc.
  • What is their average household income
  • Any defining lifestyle characteristics (such as what they do in their spare time, hobbies etc.)

Step Two: Identify your persona’s pain points and challenges

Now, you need to assess what roadblocks your audience persona is facing. By pinpointing the pain points and challenges your audience is facing, you’ll be able to find ways to position your brand, products and services as a tailored solution for them.

To find out what challenges your audience face, take a look at your survey responses to see if any patterns or trends are emerging. It’s also worth reviewing your customer service enquiries, social media direct messages and online reviews to see if there are any common roadblocks emerging.

Step Three: Define your persona’s goals and aspirations

Now, it’s time to understand what goals your audience wants to achieve. This step will help you match your brand’s product features and benefits to the needs and aspirations of your audience.

Again, review your customer services data as well as your survey responses to see what goals or aspirations your personas have.

With these challenges and goals in mind, it’s worth coming up with a few key statements that explains how your brand’s products or services help your audience personas. Think in broad terms about how your brand can help them overcome their challenges and reach their goals, and match up with unique selling points and product benefits with your audience needs.

Step Four: Flesh out your audience personas

Last, but not least, it’s time to bring all this information together to describe your audience persona in practical terms.

The key here is to bring your persona to life and describe them as if they were an actual person. The more specific you are, the better you’ll be able to meet their needs and reach this ideal audience group on Instagram.

Building from the basic demographics data you mapped out in step one, go further and flesh out your persona. This could include:

  • A description of a day in the life of your customer persona.
  • A summary of where they are now and where they want to be.
  • A snapshot of their key objections when thinking about buying from your brand.
  • A list of on-brand phrases and messages that will convince them to trust your brand.

With these audience personas mapped out, you’ll know exactly who you’re trying to reach and target on Instagram and what kinds of content will inspire them to engage with your brand.

Gather insights on your competitors’ audience

While understanding your own Instagram audience and customers is most important, there’s also plenty of value in assessing who is following your competitors on Instagram.

Chances are the users that are engaging with your competitors on Instagram will also be interested in the products and services you’re selling, too.

To review your competitors’ on Instagram, it’s worth reviewing what users are following their account and engaging with their content (such as liking and commenting on their posts).

Take some time to generate some insights from their followers, including:

  • Are the majority of their followers male or female?
  • Where are these followers located? Check their Instagram bios to see if any location information is shared about each follower.
  • What kind of users are following your competitors (e.g. high-profile accounts with 10k+ followers or smallers, private accounts with less than 1k followers)?
  • How engaged are these followers with your competitor’s account? You can work out your competitors average engagement rate using this formula:
    • Total most engagements (likes, comments etc.) divided by total followers, multiplied by 100 = engagement rate (shown as a percentage)

The point of this exercise is to identify what type of users are engaging with your competitors and strategise how you can reach, capture and convert these users into your own customers.

By understanding the type of users that are interacting with your competitors, you can use this information to your advantage and craft content that directly serves their needs. Plus, you’ll be able to use Instagram’s search and discovery capabilities to reach your competitors’ followers with ease (but more on that later).

Harness the power of social listening

Are you monitoring your Instagram channels for brand mentions and customer sentiment? If not, you’re missing out on the power of social listening. And here’s the thing: only 51% of brands are tapping into the benefits of social listening, giving you plenty of opportunity to stay ahead of the pack.

When it comes to finding your target audience on Instagram, social listening allows you to understand the bigger picture about how your followers and customers feel about your brand.

Plus, it helps you understand what trending conversations are happening in your industry and find ways to join these discussions in constructive ways.

By leveraging social listening tools, you’ll be able to look for trending topics related to your products, services or industry. By seeing what other brands and customers are talking about on Instagram, you’ll be able to strategically join these conversations and position your brand as a thought leader in your space.

Social listening also gives your brand the opportunity to understand how Instagram users feel about your competitors, which is what can give your brand and Instagram content the edge.

By tracking how users feel about your competitors and which pieces of their content outperform your own, you can tailor your Instagram content strategy to better resonate with your ideal target market on the platform.

Tap into niche hashtags that are relevant to your target market

Hashtags offer brands incredible opportunities to reach targeted new audiences on Instagram. And the stats speak for themselves: Instagram posts that use at least one hashtag generate 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags.

If you’re looking to get your content in front of new, targeted audiences, a hashtag strategy needs to be a top priority for your business on Instagram.

Essentially, hashtags help to boost the searchability and discoverability of your Instagram content. These hashtags work to categorise and organise your content and help users find your posts through Instagram’s search engine.

By adding the right, relevant hashtags to your post captions, you can get in front of your ideal audience on Instagram (without spending a cent on social advertising).

So, which hashtags should you be using to tap into your ideal customers on Instagram?

  • Find hashtags that are aligned to your brand’s services and products. Think about keywords that relate specifically to your business. Start typing these keywords into Instagram’s search bar to discover related hashtags your brand can leverage, too.
  • Review your competitor’s hashtags and see what tailored hashtags they’re using in their posts. Chances are, these will also be relevant to your business and can help you get your content in front of the right users on Instagram.
  • Look for niche hashtags with good search volume, rather than genetic hashtags with millions of searches and posts. By adding your businesses’ location to your hashtags or using more specific phrasing, you’ll be able to leverage high-intent hashtags.
    • For example, instead of using a broad hashtag such as “#writer” it would be a smarter move to use a tailored hashtags such as “#hireacopywritersydney” to reach users with a strong chance of conversion on Instagram.

Leverage locations tagging to find users by location

Does your business operate in a geographically specific location? Then this tip is a powerful way to find your target audience on Instagram.

Location tagging is a way to improve the discoverability of your content on Instagram. Essentially, it involves adding a location tag to each piece of content you share to the Instagram Feed.

Using a search feature, you can select specific locations to tag in your posts (including suburbs, cities, states and even countries). The key to making this feature work for your business is to use it consistently to boost the visibility of your posts in your local market.

Whether you’ve got a dedicated store in a specific city, sell property in a range of suburbs or host pop-up market stalls in a range of locations, using this tagging feature will ensure local residents see your content when searching on Instagram.

To add a location to your Instagram content, simply:

  • Tap into your latest Feed post
  • Tap the three dots on the top right on your post and hit ‘Edit’
  • Then, simply hit ‘Add location’ and search for the location you want to tag your post in
  • Once you’re ready to publish, tap ‘Done’

By tagging your posts with curated locations relevant to your business, you’ll boost the chances of local shoppers finding and discovering your brand on Instagram.

Collaborate with high-value influencers

When it comes to finding your target audience on Instagram, leveraging the reach of high-value influencers can be a powerful tool for your business.

But in order to see tangible ROI from an influencer partnership, you need to carefully consider which influencers you team up with on Instagram.

When it comes to boosting engagement, the stats show that micro influencers tend to generate stronger engagement (3.86%) than mega influencers (1.21%). So, it’s worth handpicking a selection of smaller influencers with a niche following to help your brand get in front of valuable new users.

Ultimately, selecting the right influencer is about identifying which accounts share a similar follower pool to your ideal customer. This means auditing potential influencers to see:

  • The age breakdown of their followers
  • The gender breakdown of their followers
  • The locations their followers reside in
  • The average engagement rate their posts receive

Once you’ve found the right influencers to collaborate with, it’s time to decide how to partner with this talent. A few practical ways to partner with an influencer including:

  • Sending them a product or giving them access to a service to review
  • Asking them to create bespoke content using your product
  • Running a contest or giveaway in collaboration with your brand
  • Allowing them to takeover your Instagram Stories for a day

By joining forces with high-value influencers, you can boost your following on Instagram and help to build new relationships with users that are likely to be interested in the products or services you’re selling, too.

And that’s a wrap. When it comes to finding your target audience on Instagram, the key to success is to have a clear understanding of who you’re trying to reach and attract. By mapping out your audience personas and understanding their needs, goals and motivators, you’ll be in the best position to serve the right content to reach and attract these users. Plus, by tapping into the platform’s search and discovery tools you can ensure every post you share has the best chance of being seen by your ideal customers on Instagram, too.

Photo of Kyra GoodmanKyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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