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How to define your social media audience for 2022

Sophie
12th October 2021

Targeting the right social media audience across all your channels is game changing for driving engagement and increasing leads. Cast your net too wide and your content might not reach the right people, go too niche and you might miss a number of opportunities - but defining the right audience opens up a whole new avenue of highly-engaged potential customers.

Every social media channel attracts slightly different audiences with different expectations, even if your brand audience remains the same.

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Note: If you're stuck on what to post and where to post it - join a free social media strategy session and we'll give you inspiration, tool recommendations, and all the advice you need to get started.

The importance of defining your audience on social media

Even the best content in the world will fail if it doesn't reach the right audience. LinkedIn alone has 760 million users. Having a clear understanding of your audience demographics and the type of content they want to consume, is essential for making sure you stand out from the crowd and talk to the right people, in the right way.

The average tweet lasts just seven seconds, leaving you very little time to create an impact - so unless your tweets are seen by their intended audience, at a time when that audience is actually online, your important news or hilarious comment could be lost forever.

paid socialcan help provide a clear vision of the wants and needs of the people you're trying to target. The huge benefit of paying to place or promote your content is that platforms help you get very specific with audience selection, right down to factors such as age, skills, and location.

2022 is going to make things even tougher when it comes to getting your content in front of your target audience. We are seeing so many new and emerging platforms - as well as added and enhanced features on existing platforms.

Defining your social media audience

Selecting the right audience criteria on your paid social channels can also help extend the reach of your organic content as it will get your brand in front of people who fall within your target audience criteria - but may not be following you yet.

Sadly, a one-off post will not create an audience. Audiences are built over time as a result of regular, relevant and meaningful content - making your organic content every bit as essential as your paid posts.

Which audiences use each social media channel?

Facebook

  • Facebook has more than 2.74 billion active monthly users
  • 56% of Facebook users over the age of 13 identify as male
  • 42% of Facebook's monthly active users are located in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Only 8.9% of Facebook's users are in the US, while Europe, as a whole, only compromises 15.9%
  • 25-34 year olds make up the largest portion of Facebook users

Twitter

  • There are over 340 million Twitter users globally
  • More than 80% of Twitter's global audience is under 50 years old
  • 44% of 18-24-year-old Americans use Twitter
  • The Twitter gender breakdown is evenly split
  • The most followed users on Twitter are Barack Obama, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Rihanna - suggesting that politics and pop culture are firmly on a typical user's radar

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn has over 760 million users worldwide
  • 46-55 year olds make up the biggest portion of LinkedIn's general audience (37%), however, 25-34 year old's dominate when it comes to LinkedIn's advertising audience, likely because of their high purchasing power and early career status
  • 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, versus only 9% of members with a high school diploma or less

Instagram

  • 33.1% of global Instagram audiences are aged between 25 and 34 years old - In total, over two-thirds of total Instagram audiences are aged 34 years or younger
  • 43% of adult women in the United States are on Instagram (compared to 31% of men)
  • There are over 1 billion active monthly Instagram users globally
  • Research found that the top interests on Instagram are travel (45%), music (44%), and food and drink (43%)

TikTok

  • Roughly 50% of the TikTok community is under the age of 34, with 26% between 18 and 24
  • Despite being a relatively new platform, TikTok already has 1 billion active monthly users - and is the fastest growing social media platform. It's a leading destination for short-form content!
  • The United States only represents 5% of TikTok’s global audience, with Chinese users spending the most time on the app
  • 35% of TikTok users have participated in hashtag challenges, while 64% have tried the platform's face filters and lenses.
  • Educational content is taking off on TikTok - over 14 million educational videos were shared on TikTok in 2020. They're even testing a Learn Lab to make it a key feature!

How to define your audience on social media

Look at the broader overview of who's using each social media channel, and compare that to the target demographics for your brand or organization. Bear in mind that 44% of 18-24-year-old Americans use Twitter and select products and services that appeal to that group as your main focus on that channel. Try to make your tone-of-voice, language, and messaging relevant to the demographics of each channel too.

Defining your target audience on social media

When you decide who you'd like to target (are they a social media marketer or even a decision-maker?), find out what channels they're using, how they're using them (are they likely to engage with someone selling, or do they want educational content?) and look at what content formats they interact with most - do they prefer video, images or text?

If you have a younger target audience, TikTok is a great platform to consider - even if it feels unaligned to your brand, amazing things are happening on that channel and it can't be ignored. TikTok is not just for creating dances and funny video shorts (It is still those things, but there is more too!) It's also an opportunity to extend brand awareness for big and small businesses. If making regular content isn't something you are able to commit to, you can still tap into that audience via paid channels.

A great way to get started and gain inspiration is to look at the successes of your competitors. Just keep in mind that your brand has its own personality and following, so what works for others won't always work for you.

Defining the specifics of your target audience is great for ROI from a monetary and an engagement standpoint. Knowing what type of content your audience wants to see also speeds up content creation by providing set topics for you to work with (this is something ContentCal can also help with).

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Note: Need a hand bringing your content to life? Join a free social media strategy session where we'll give you inspiration, tool recommendations, and general advice to help you get started.

Key tasks for defining your social media audience

  1. Persona research - learn everything there is to know about the personalities who buy from you
  2. Platform research - understand which platform you are most likely to find your target audience on, and if your audience is split across multiple platforms, decide how to differentiate your tone, language, and message for each one
  3. Competitor knowledge - get an overview of how other businesses are engaging with your target group. You'll know what you're up against and see what works for them when they create content. Look at where your competitors are having the most success and what they are doing to generate it. You may even have lookalike audiences which makes the process even easier.
  4. Measure and track what you do. Analytics are everything. This will provide data-led insight into what your audience interacts with, how they engage, and where they go to get their content.

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