Understanding your Instagram audience can help you focus your marketing strategy in a way that guarantees results. The more you know about your audience’s demographics, the greater your chance of success will be. Leveraging Instagram analytics and insights can help you refine and align your posts to your target audience to boost engagement.

In this post, we’ll explain the importance of understanding your Instagram audience and how to put this knowledge into action. Let’s get started!

What is an Instagram audience?

Put simply, your Instagram audience refers to the users following and interacting with your account. Instagram Insights is a free analytics tool built-in to the platform’s account.

What are the benefits of knowing your Instagram audience?

You can use your Instagram audience demographics as a benchmark to see how well your current strategy is working. Learning about your Instagram audience composition enables you to see whether they include your target personas.

For example, let’s say your business is a women’s clothing boutique based in New York City. You’ve decided to use your Instagram account to attract local women in their thirties looking for style inspiration or to shop. On a basic level, if the majority of your audience is made up of males in the 13–17 age range, something within your strategy isn’t working.

Over 70 percent of Instagram’s active accounts belong to people under the age of 35. However, this data doesn’t help inform you of your current audience. Similarly, there is plenty of information available about the ‘best’ times of day to post on social media. As you can imagine, these statistics and generalizations aren’t necessarily suited for your business and social media goals.

Instagram Insights lets you gather specific details about your audience to fine-tune your strategy for the platform. In addition to learning what age groups most of your followers fall into, you’re able to see which days and times your followers are most active. You can learn more about your target audience, including their interests and behaviors, to improve your Instagram initiatives and influence.

A guide to understanding your Instagram target audience (4 tips)

Understanding your current Instagram audience puts you in a better position to reach your target audience. Let’s take a look at four tips you can apply practically straight away!

1. Create and use target personas to find suitable audience members

Chances are your business already has target buyer personas established. If not, it’s helpful to create a profile of the ideal person you’re looking to target with your products or services on Instagram. Identifying their characteristics and honing in on their specific traits comes in handy when trying to market your business on Instagram.

While demographical metrics such as income and gender are crucial, also look to include information on what problems your business can solve that stand as a roadblock to converting. Once you have a clear idea of the type of person you want to attract on Instagram, you can compare it to your current audience. Instagram Insights is the tool to help you.

2. Access Instagram Insights to view your existing audience

The importance of which Instagram metrics you lean on depends on your objectives. For example, if your goal is to drive traffic and increase conversions, tracking website clicks is crucial. In contrast, if building brand awareness is your priority, your follower count and reach are more pertinent.

Instagram Insights - Followers

To access Instagram Insights, go to your business’ Instagram profile and tap the hamburger menu icon in the top right-hand corner. Click on Insights > Audience, and on the next screen you’ll see four sections: Top Locations, Gender, Age Range, and Followers.

The Audience tab breaks down the gender balance of your followers as a percentage, and detail the age ranges they fall into. You can also view the top five cities and countries where your audience is located. Even using these basic metrics, you can begin to determine whether your current strategy is effective in reaching your target personas or not.

Instagram Audience - Insights "Audience" tab

It also exemplifies why basing your strategy on general statistics isn’t a good idea. For example, Pew Research found that women make up just over 50 percent of Instagram users. Therefore, if your audience is balanced differently, you may want to consider how this ties in with your current strategy.

Following on, the Activity tab includes a section on Interactions. This tells you the number of profile visits and website clicks you’ve received and a further breakdown of time.

The information here can help you optimize posts for more engagement and clicks. Instagram rewards posts with high engagement rates (i.e. likes, comments, and shares), which is why learning about when your audience is most active can be vital.

Finally, note that Instagram Insights is only available for business profiles. To convert your profile, navigate to Settings > Account within Instagram. At the bottom of the page, there will be an option to Switch to Business Profile. Simply click this and follow the on-screen instructions.

3. Research your followers to target your ideal audience

Once you understand your audience demographics, you can use the information to learn more about your followers and their interests. However, while the data provided is useful, you don’t learn much about any one individual. As such, you’ll need to investigate further.

According to Reuters, over 95 million photos on average are shared every day on Instagram. Seeing the photos your target audience engages with is a great way to figure out how your brand could interest them.

Start by ascertaining which of your posts have performed well. From there, look at which followers frequently engage, discover whether any fit your target personas, and research their interests. For example:

  • What type of content are they sharing on their own profiles?
  • What other pages do they follow?
  • How do they caption their photos?

Of course, you should also pay attention to hashtags. Searching and following hashtags relevant to your ideal audience can help attract the type of followers you’re targeting. In fact, one study found that posts receiving the most engagement use between 9–12 hashtags. On the other hand, the top 100 brands only use around two or three hashtags on average. Overall this means there’s a sweet spot for your business – but finding it will require some research and work.

4. Utilize all Instagram functionality to create a unique strategy for your business

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be afraid to interact and engage with users in your target audience. For example, liking someone’s post who is using a hashtag you’re trying to target is a good way to get noticed (and followed). What’s more, use the language and hashtags you see your target audience using, and conduct hashtag research to determine how many hashtags are appropriate for your target audience, and which ones are most effective.

Another strategy is to use Instagram’s ‘Stories’ feature. About 33 percent of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses. As a direct approach, you could simply ask your audience what kind of content they prefer by using the poll and survey features to ask specific questions.

The takeaway is that the more time you spend learning about your followers, the better sense you get for the type of Instagram content they prefer (as well as their interests.) Once you identify patterns and parallels from your research, it will become useful for refining your own strategy.

Final thoughts on understanding your Instagram audience

In order to provide meaningful content that sparks engagement with your followers, you first need to understand who they are. The more you know about your Instagram audience, the better you can tailor content towards them.

As this post has explained, there are a few simple ways you can understand your Instagram audience. Let’s recap:

  1. Create target personas to get a clear picture of who you’re looking to engage.
  2. Access Instagram Insights to understand the demographics of your current audience.
  3. Research your followers to get a better idea of their interests, behaviors, and preferences.
  4. Use hashtags and Instagram Stories to engage with your target community.

What methods have you used to gain a better understanding of your social media audiences? Let us know in the comments section below!

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By John Hughes

John is a blogging addict and WordPress fanatic. He's also a staff writer at WordCandy.co, which produces quality blog content for WordPress plugin and theme developers, hosting providers, website development and design agencies, and other online businesses.

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