We all like to think we know our customers. That we have them completely figured out, that surely they think like us, and that we are as familiar with them as we are our own GamGam.
While this is what should be true, it frequently isn't. How do you know you have a good handle on your customers? Are you just assuming that you know your industry very well, and therefore you also know your buyers well? We hate to be a Debbie Downer, but just because you know your product, or your industry, through and through, doesn't always mean you have an innate understanding for your audience. On the contrary, knowing your audience takes time, strategy, and a dedication to The constant pursuit of more knowledge.
But your audience is more than just a basic profile. While factors like gender, age, and location are important, those aren't the things that motivate a person to buy. They're relevant factors that should certainly be considered, but these are only a part of the pie. Equally, if not more important are questions like, what do they care about? What are their pain points? What common values do they all share? These are the questions that will allow you to tailor your messaging far beyond a "Hey girl," approach, and instead speak directly to their innermost workings.
As Your Business Evolves, so Will Your Audience
God willing, your business is different from the day you set it loose on the world, wide-eyed and scared to death. You were a lot different then, and was your business, as was your audience. Odds are your product is better, your process is more streamlined, and your prices are higher. As these things evolve, it's important to tailor your messaging to who's currently listening. If you haven't reassessed who you believe your audience to be since launching, it's probably time to erase what's on the whiteboard and start again.
One of the best ways to get to know your audience is through an active social media presence. We highly recommend curating a strong following through valuable content that prompts a high engagement level from your audience. When you've built a platform that your audience readily interacts with, it's that much easier to tap into that sample to gain valuable information about who they are, what they care about, and what they're interested in when it comes to your business in particular.
Instagram especially has gone above and beyond when it comes to creating tools you can use to pick your audience's collective brain. Through the story function on your profile, you can ask them direct questions with an open answer field for a broader feedback strategy. Or, if you want more curated data, put Instagram's poll function to use. You can over two different options and let your audience vote on which they prefer, or which applies to them. Even better, Instagram's latest story tool, the quiz feature, allows you to offer audiences multiple choice answers to choose from.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Sounding like a lot? We promise it's not. Let's look at each in practice. Let's say you want to know if the majority of your followers are male or female. The poll tool will let them pick male or female, even breaking down their answers into a percentage for you. Perhaps you want to know something more broad, like what kind of tutorials your audience would like to see from you—for this, you'd be best assisted by the open question tool. See if there is a pattern in the tutorials requested.
This will tell you not only what most of your audience wants to learn about, but likely why they follow you as well—if they're asking for a tutorial on it, they view you as a thought leader on the topic. Now we'll take the same tutorial example and apply it to the quiz. Let's say you got three tutorial topics repeatedly, but you only have the time and resources to create one. Offer the three different tutorial subjects in each field of the quiz multiple choice answer, and measure which answer got the most selections. See that? Not so difficult! Indeed, you have a simple, direct access window into who your audience is right at your fingertips.
Pro Tip: Turn on the "Share to Facebook" function on your Instagram for even further reach across your social platform.
When's the last time you really checked in with your audience? Has it been a while? If so, we highly encourage you to take the time to sit down for a few hours and reevaluate. We're always too busy for such things, but we promise that doing so will make your messaging more accurate, and therefore, your time is more valuable every time you engage with them.