Instagram : Reaching Your Target Audience There (Exclusive How-to)

25 Feb 2019
Alan Martin

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Instagram: Reaching Your Target Audience There (Exclusive How-to) blog post

Are you using Instagram to market your business? The mobile photo app is one of the most popular social networks. According to, it will reach 111 million users in 2019.

Here in the UK, there are 24 million users on the network. It is extremely popular with teens and young adults. In fact, 41 percent of the global users are 24-years-old or less.

But that is not the only active audience on Instagram. If you want to take advantage of the app, the trick will be finding and reaching your target audience on the platform. We tell you exactly how to find your target audience on Instagram.

Knowing Your Instagram Target Audience – Find Your Target Audience Online

Instagram Target Audience

Attracting customers through social media can sometimes be a difficult task. Let’s start with a baseline: your company’s already defined marketing persona and social media audience types. This is your ideal customer, the typical person who buys your products or services in person or online.

You do have a defined marketing persona, don’t you?

An effective persona should identify buyer insights that will help you craft content that is more likely to resonate with the type of person you want to attract to your business.

Ideally you should know their pain points, what motivates them and what keeps them up at night, as well as the benefits they most value from what you sell.

With your marketing persona established, you’ll want to find out how your audience differs on Instagram. The only way to do that is with research.

Instagram Target Audience Research

Instagram Research

If you ever wondered how to reach your target audience through social media, the answer to that is simple. You need to do research and understand your clients and prospects first. It’s no different when working on Instagram.

Go to Insights on the Instagram app and tap Audience. There you can see the breakdown of the people who follow you by gender, age and location. This data can be used to run Instagram ads later to reach more people with a similar make up.

Does the audience you see align with your established marketing persona? If not, you should rethink your posting strategy so it will attract more of your target. But if it is close, then you’ll want to understand what type of content this group is looking for on Instagram.

Next you’ll want to identify their interests, likes and dislikes, habits and even how they post. These are things that demographics alone can’t tell you. Of course, learning this information will require some additional research.

Follow Your Instagram Followers

Follow Your Instagram Followers

There are various ways a business can use social media to attract a target audience, and one of them is by following your followers.

Follow your followers and you can learn two types of valuable information about them.

  1. How And What They Post
  2. Who Do They Follow?
  1. Your Instagram Audience: How and What They Post

Let’s start by seeing who is already engaging with your posts. Click on a name and you’ll be taken to that person’s account. There you can check to see what they are posting about, the hashtags they use, and the type of language and captions they write. Create a spreadsheet and log these items.

Then check the accounts of others who engage with your posts and record what and how they post. This will inform you about the type of posts your audience likes. Then you can create similar content. If, for example, your followers use emojis, then you will want to do the same.

  1. Your Instagram Audience: Who Do They Follow?

You can also click on the accounts they follow. Along with the individual users, you will also see the business accounts they follow.

This research will give you some extra insight into who your followers are and what they care about. If you discover that many are following a business that is not your competitor, then you might be able to partner up and do some co-marketing together.

If they follow a competitor, that’s great. We’ll chat more about that below.

Perhaps you notice that these users all like a particular type of post, perhaps a motivational quote. If that’s the case, then begin including those in your posting strategy, as well.

But finding out who your followers follow will give you a deeper understanding of what they want from their Instagram experience. This will help you create a refined strategy that will resonate with your target audience.

Just Ask Your Instagram Audience

When you get a new follower, don’t be afraid to send a DM and ask why they decided to follow you. You can also ask what type of content they would like to see posted? This is an easy way to get some additional insight.

EXCLUSIVE: How To Reach Your Target on Instagram

Reach Your Target on Instagram

In this exclusive guide we will describe ways to reach your target market. Always remember: making sure your target audience sees your posts is an important consideration for your marketing. After all, if they aren’t seen then the effort involved with creating and posting them is a waste of time.

Here are five steps you can follow that will help you reach members of your target group.

  1. Check Your Competitors
  2. Use Hashtags
  3. Post What Your Audience Likes
  4. Post When Your Audience is Online
  5. Use Instagram Ads


  1. Check Your Competitors on Instagram
    Check Your Competitors on Instagram

Start with companies that do what you do: Your competition. Do some research to find out what type of content they post, photo styles, hashtags used etc. Then take note of the engagement they get on their posts. Do they receive a significant amount of likes and comments on a regular basis? If so, consider posting similar content on your account. Since you share the same target audience, it should have a similar impact.

Take a look at who follows your competition, as well. Follow them and engage with their posts. Don’t be afraid to make yourself known, either. You want them to notice you so they will follow you back…and they will!

Another tactic – and this is a bold one – is to find posts by your competition with likes and comments. Then you can engage with those people on that post by liking and commenting on their remarks. It’s all about sharing the social media love while being noticed at the same time.

  1. Use Hashtags
    Instagram Hashtags

Finding success on Instagram is all about choosing the right hashtags. If you do it right, you could find your content showing up as a top post in searches, or even featured in the Explore tab, which can significantly increase your reach with your target audience.

It can be useful to set up an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet, to record the hashtags you discover during your research.

If you’re not sure what hashtags you should be using, has some good tips on finding the right ones for your business.

You can also see what hashtags are currently being used by your existing followers, and if appropriate you should make a note of these too.

Begin searching your hashtags and look through the results. Like those posts that are relevant to your business. After liking, click to the user’s account and like and comment on images there. You can even follow that person if you think they are a good fit with your target audience. Chances are, they will follow you back.

This method will help you find Instagram users that share some common interests with you, thus creating a more meaningful connection between your business and that person.

Note: When using hashtags in your posts, make sure they are relevant to the content being shared. Instagram may penalise you if you hijack popular hashtags for increased visibility, so just don’t do it. It also looks spammy, which does not create a very good impression of your business.

  1. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel- Post What Your Audience Likes

    Post What Your Instagram Audience Likes

Sometimes you post a photo and the world just loves it! Take note of those types of posts and create similar content. Then see what your audience has really liked over time by looking at your engagement rates.

Do this by going to your profile and tapping on the three-lined menu at the top right. Then select Insights > Content > See all > Engagement. This will show you a list of all your posts sorted by the amount of engagement each received. Now you can plan to replicate those with good engagement.

If you don’t get a lot of engagement on your posts, it is worth going back to your competitor research to find out what type of posts in your niche get the most interaction, and test a similar approach with your own content.

As a general rule of thumb, try and avoid being too salesy! Instagram users are on the platform to look at attractive and engaging images, not to be sold to.

  1. What Time Is It? – Post When Your Audience is Online

    Post When Your Instagram Audience is Online

Posting when your target audience is online just makes sense. After all, you want them to see your posts. You can find this information in the Audience section of Insights.

There you will be able to see where the majority of your audience is geographically located. Below the Age Range and Gender data, you can see when they are active on Instagram. This information is broken down by hour and day. Let it guide when you post.

  1. Use Instagram Ads

    Use Instagram Ads

You can also reach your target audience by advertising or promoting posts in Instagram. The platform offers several different ad formats. Pick the one that best matches your company and your offerings.

Using the targeting options will also ensure that your ad gets in front of the exact audience you want to reach. You can learn more about advertising on the platform at their website. 

When it comes to setting up your Instagram ads, you have a couple of options. You can create your ads from within the Instagram mobile app, but the options available to you are limited, or you can use Facebook’s Ads Manager.

I recommend you use Facebook’s Ads Manager, because this gives you better targeting options.

Note: When setting up an ad using Facebook’s Ads Manager, make sure that at the Ad Set level, you select ‘mobile’ only, in the placements section, and then you can choose whether you want to place your ad in the Instagram newsfeed and/or Stories.

Wrapping It Up

Instagram is different from other social networks. To really understand it and gain traction with your target audience takes time. You won’t figure it out in an afternoon. Consider it an on-going process, one that you will continually refine.

Alan Martin is a social media speaker and coach with Chat Marketing.

Having worked with clients from various industries, we’ve learned that sometimes you need to think outside of the box to find the most effective targeting options.

Do you want to find out how we can help you increase leads and sales with Instagram? Contact us here to arrange a chat.

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