Are you struggling to find the right target audience on Instagram?
Finding your target audience is very important, especially on a social media platform like Instagram. For businesses, having the right audience can lead to more sales. And for influencers, it can mean better clout (and revenue).
But how do you identify the correct target audience for your brand to grow your audience? And where do you begin your search for Instagram users?
In this post, you’ll learn how to define your Instagram audience, how it will affect your Instagram marketing efforts, and how to reach your Instagram audience on the platform.
Let’s get started:
Defining your Instagram audience
Before you even begin your search for Instagram followers, you’ll need to define who your target audience is. The biggest question you’ll have to answer is this:
What does your ideal customer look like?
There are plenty of factors you’ll need to consider. This includes age, gender, location, and interests. You even have to think about your target audience’s personality. Having the right Instagram demographic will help make the search ten times easier.
Use Instagram Insights
Instagram has a feature called Instagram Insights. It’s a tool that shows you how well your Instagram account is holding up in terms of performance. Insights will tell you how your community interacts with your Instagram posts, Reels, Stories, live videos, and every other piece of content you put out there.
But Insights has another purpose. It gives you information about your Instagram followers.
Instagram Insights, as of this writing, is only accessible through the Instagram app. You’ll need to go to Insights > Audience to see your Instagram demographics. More specifically, you’ll find the gender, age, and location breakdown of your Instagram followers.
This information will give you a good starting point. Knowing what kind of audiences you’re pulling can give you a better idea of who you should be going after.
Insights is also useful for businesses that plan on using Instagram ads in the future.
Create a buyer persona
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional profile that best describes who your target audience is. Businesses use this as a guide so that everyone involved in the business knows which people to go after.
Social media managers will also use a buyer persona to define their Instagram target audience.
When you have a buyer persona, you’ll have a better understanding of what type of content your followers want to see. This will help you fine-tune your Instagram marketing strategy. You’ll know which posts will give you the best results.
For example, the people over at Adobe Creative Cloud know that their target audience is creative professionals and those who want to be part of that community. When you go over its Instagram account, you’ll find that its content caters to that target audience.
There are posts that feature artworks and photographs made using different products under the Creative Cloud banner. And there are Instagram Stories featuring artists in the creative field.
You don’t need audience insights to see who this company’s target audience is because the company has done a great job relaying that message on Instagram. You know the buyer personas they used to find potential customers and followers.
Check out your followers
You can single out some of your followers and just see what type of stuff they’re into. You can pick your most active followers or choose them at random.
Your goal is to read their posts, read their comments, and see who else they’re following on Instagram. Find out which posts tend to get their attention. If there’s enough information available, you can also list down the types of places they go to, which influencers they trust, and what topics they like participating in.
Professionals in the social media marketing world know the importance of follower data. A marketing team can start creating strategies once they have a firm grasp of what Instagram users want to see on the platform.
You can upload content for a specific audience once you know details like the age group of the majority of your followers. And to get all the actionable insights you’ll need, you’ll have to look at your followers a bit closer.
Look at your competitors
If you don’t have a lot of followers, you can look at the Instagram strategy of your competitors. See which target audiences they’re trying to reach out to. By going over their content strategy, you should have a clear idea of what their typical customer is like.
You might even discover a potential target audience that wasn’t on your radar before.
It doesn’t have to be your business’ competitors. You can also find inspiration from accounts that you think share the same audience as you. For example, you can look at influencers in your product category and see what their Instagram content is like. What are their followers saying? What keeps them coming back?
Use all of the data you gather to find your own audience on Instagram – these competitor research tools will help you.
Do customer surveys
Look beyond Instagram to find your target audience. If you’re an ecommerce business, you can use data from your website to determine what your Instagram target audience should look like.
You can use customer surveys to find out more about your existing customers. If you end up having a good sample size, similarities will begin to emerge. Depending on the questions you use, you can learn more about your customers’ likes and dislikes.
Use these as your guide when searching for your target audience.
Another idea would be to do surveys on Instagram. Use Instagram polls to get more information about your current audience. You can get details like their age range and interests. If you don’t think polls are the way to go, then ask questions through a regular post.
By asking questions, not only will you learn more about your target audience but also how to engage them more effectively.
Finding your Instagram audience
Once you figure out who your Instagram target audience is, you can finally develop different campaigns in order to get them to follow you.
Here are a couple of suggestions to help you find the right audience on Instagram and boost your presence on the platform.
The use of hashtags on Instagram is a proven method of finding and attracting a business’ target market. It’s also one of the ways you can get the most engagement. Without hashtags, your posts on the platform will not get the kind of views you’ve set out to get.
You should familiarize yourself with the trending hashtags in your industry. If you’re in the beauty industry, you should do better than just using #beauty in your posts. There are plenty of hashtags that your community will use in their posts.
You don’t want to stick to using only the most popular hashtags. The competition will be too high. That means your target audience will barely be able to see your posts even if they follow that hashtag.
If you’re in the bridal hair and makeup industry, do your research to find which combination of keywords will yield you the best results. Mix #wedding with other hashtags like #bridetobe, #weddinghairstyle, #weddinginspiration, and #bridesmaidhair to increase your chances of getting discovered.
Comment on posts
People are more likely to check you out if you interact with them in some way. Leave a meaningful comment on a post if you think that the user belongs to your target audience.
But you don’t want to leave just any comment. You need to make sure that it makes sense. And when you start engaging, you don’t want your interactions to look spammy. Be sure that it sounds organic.
Tagging locations do more than just tell people where a photo or Reel was taken. It makes your post pop up in relevant searches. It gives your posts better visibility. And it can even help you reach your ideal clients or any specific group based on their location.
This is especially useful for businesses and influencers that are highly localized.
You can retroactively add a location to your older posts by editing each one. Under Add Location, type in where the photo was taken. You should see a list of options pop up. Select one of them.
You don’t want to add a false location to suit your needs though. Misleading your target audience will backfire eventually. You want to stay on their good side.
Tap Done when you’re through with the edit to save your changes.
Collaborate with influencers
Collaborating with influencers is another strategy that works if done correctly. The key to a good collaboration is finding the right influencer. And by right influencer, it means having someone that shares the same target audience and interests as you.
When working with an influencer, you’ll have to make it worth their while. How you do that will be up to you. You can offer some sort of compensation for their time. However, there are some who’d work with brands that they really like for free.
You can also tempt influencers to work with you by giving away something to their audience on Instagram like a discount code or coupon.
You want to work with someone that has a massive audience. This gives you the best chance of getting your name out there. But you’ll have to do more than just post a photo of the influencer on your Instagram account and call it a day. You’ll have to design a campaign that will get new users interested in your brand.
But what if you can’t afford to work with a massive influencer?
Well, in that case, you can work with micro influencers instead. These are smaller creators that have a moderate following on Instagram. Collaborating with them despite their average number of fans is still worth it. Why? Because they’ve got their hands on a niche audience — something you might want as an influencer or brand.
Remember: You’re looking for the right Instagram target audience for your business. So it’s not just about getting in front of a large audience. It’s more about getting seen by people who would appreciate your product and content.
If you’re really having a hard time finding an influencer to work with, you can use third-party services to find one. Tools like TrendHero have features that help businesses connect with Instagram influencers.
If you’d like to find influencers on other platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook – be sure to check out BuzzSumo.
Using any of these, you should have an easier time finding an influencer with the right audience size for your Instagram marketing campaign.
Run Instagram ads
Admittedly, this is not an option for everyone since it will require you to spend money. However, this is one of the best ways of making sure your posts get in front of exactly who you want to see them.
You can use Instagram targeting through ads to deliver posts to a demographic that you specify.
With that said, ads are only effective if you can be specific about who you’re going to target. And no matter how much you pay, ads won’t do you any good if the content isn’t engaging enough. Instagram is a visual platform. If your post fails to impress users, they won’t care about the ad.
Know when to post
You want to post content right when your target audience is most active on Instagram. For people running their business by themselves, this might be easier said than done.
Most Instagram users are active during business hours. If you work during those times, you may be too busy to post and reply to comments.
If that’s the case, you can try using a social media scheduler, a management tool that lets you post content in advance. Most social media marketers use scheduling tools to manage different accounts. The upshot is that you can share at the right time for your audience, even if it’s not a convenient time for you.
Learn more in our guide to the best times to post on social media.
Find industry events
No matter the niche, there will always be an event for it. It could be a conference, a meetup, a benefit show, or a fundraising campaign. Look for events related to your business and find out what hashtags they’re using to promote it.
You can then go on Instagram and see which people are using the hashtag in their posts.
From there, you can do a couple of things. You can comment on the posts you see in order for you to get noticed. If you want to, you can also post related content using the same hashtag to be part of the conversation.
You also have the option to see what other hashtags these users put in their posts and see if there’s an active community behind each one. Try to connect with the most active users. They could be the Instagram target audience you’ve been looking for.
Follow your competitor’s followers
Another strategy you can use is to follow your competitor’s followers. To be honest, social media marketers are split on this strategy. Some say it’s fair game while others think it’s not a good long-term strategy. But depending on your personality, this could be a nice fit for you.
The idea is to go to your competitor’s Instagram profile, see their followers, and start following each one. The plan is to have them follow you back. Because they already follow your competitor, it’s a good bet that they’ll be interested in whatever content you have to offer.
You have to be careful though. You can only follow a certain number of people per day. If Instagram suspects that you’re doing something fishy, they can suspend your account. Those that are still new to this should only follow active users.
Experiment with post types
There are different types of posts that you can use to share content on Instagram. Gone are the days when all you could do was upload square images. These days, you have your choice of standard post, Carousel, Instagram Stories, and Reels. You even have the option of streaming your content live.
You’re going to have to experiment with all these post types to see which ones will resonate with your target audience. For instance, a younger audience might prefer short-form videos over a standard image. You’ll know right away by looking at your engagement metrics. See which of your posts get the most likes and comments.
Frequency is also another factor. How many posts should you upload before you get diminishing returns?
Do note that Instagram has been prioritizing video content over still images as it is trying to compete with other social platforms like TikTok. If you want your content to get exposed to a wider audience, you might want to prioritize videos as well.
If you want to play it safe, you’ll want a healthy mix of all types of posts.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks. And there are plenty of stats that highlight its importance.
The first and most important step to success on the platform is researching and understanding your Instagram target audience.
If you have the ideal customer profile, it’s not that hard to find an audience on Instagram. But you will have to be patient as the process will require a lot of research. Basically, you’ll want to use Audience Insights to define your audience and then use all the tools Instagram makes available to you in order to find them.
Good luck with your search!