Over one billion people worldwide use Instagram every month and finding your target audience on Instagram might seem a bit overwhelming. But, on the contrary, you just need to learn a couple of tactics to search your ideal market on the platform. And this is exactly what we’ll cover in this article.
Instagram has the highest brand engagement rates, coming in at 4.21% compared to Facebooks’ 0.07% and Twitters’ 0.03%. This is one of the main reasons why over 25m businesses are on Instagram, with 80% of users following at least one brand.
But using Instagram for marketing can be effective only if you approach the right people with the right strategy!
You need to do your research and get actionable insights into their interests, preferences, and behavior. Knowing who they follow on Instagram, what hashtags they use, what content they find interesting. Also, crucial demographic information like their age, location, gender, etc.
All this information will help you determine how to target your niche market on Instagram.
How to Find Your Target Market on Instagram
Before spilling out all the ways that can help you identify your niche on Instagram we need to make sure that you’ve got the right target audience in mind in the first place!
Don’t spend a ton of time creating a customer persona if you already know who are your most profitable customers. You just need to have a clear understanding of WHO your product is designed for.
For example, Notion is an app that gives users the option to organize components such as notes, databases, calendars, and reminders.
So, their target audience is a) busy professionals that like to b) organize their notes and tasks and c) boost their productivity.
Check your competitors’ followers
Competitors’ followers are people that like the types of products you sell but (probably) haven’t heard of you yet. That’s why it’s the simplest way to find your target audience on social media.
Here are some of the things you can learn from researching your competitors’ audience:
- What types of posts and content bring the most engagement. There are 11 different types of Instagram content that brands experiment with to see what works best with their fans. Here I’ll list a few but you can check all of them in this article: quotes, lifestyle posts, open-ended questions, behind the scenes, fun facts, promotional posts, video content, or giveaways. When you research your competitors’ posts and their engagement you’ll find what works best for your audience too.
- Check how often they post on Instagram
- What hashtags bring the most likes
- Get insights into their followers’ demographics
Since we already mentioned Notion we’ll continue with doing a brief analysis of their competitor on Instagram. One of their direct competitors is Evernote which is also an app for business professionals that like to get organized. If we check their Instagram account we see a lot of travel-themed image posts but if we check the engagement we notice something interesting. The content with the highest engagement rate (comments) is a video with a business-related theme.
This can save you months of testing to see what resonates with your followers. And all you need to do is spend 30 minutes to go over your biggest competitors’ social media and their posts!
An awesome tool that I use for analyzing competitors on Instagram is the Preview App which gives you instant summaries of their top-performing posts, hashtags, best time and day to post, etc. Their basic plan is free so you can do a preliminary analysis of your competitors’ performance.
Pro tip: target your competitors Instagram followers with ads
Here’s a strategy that a lot of brands use to reach a huge chunk of their market. While there isn’t a targeting option in Facebook Ads Manager that allows you to target followers of competitors, there’s an amazing workaround with the help of custom audiences.
Custom audiences is a Facebook Ads option that enables you to run ads on people that are in your customer email list. You simply import your list in Facebook ads manager, Facebook finds Instagram users among your list and lets you target them.
However, they don’t ask you to verify that the list you own is actually from your customers or subscribers.
Meaning, if you can get your hands on the email addresses of your competitors’ audience you can run ads only on those people!
Influencers Club is an Instagram email extracting service that can easily go over every Instagram follower of your biggest competitors and provide you with a list of their email addresses. Also, their use AI and machine learning to make sure that every email you get is from your targeted locations, gender, age, and interest. Additionally, they make sure that the list is cleaned from invalid email addresses (catchall, bots, fake accounts, etc.).
Use these types of ads to directly communicate why you’re better than your competition. Offer discounts and then create lookalike audiences from people that interacted with your ads or converted into your customers.
Check out this article if you want to learn more about targeting competitors’ followers on Instagram and Facebook.
Other than targeting them with social media ads you can also do email marketing (duh) to reach them through the most effective channel available.
Use the form below to share with us your competitors’ accounts and get contact data from their audience.
Follow your competitors’ followers on Instagram
Another social media growth hack that you can use to get in touch with the fans of your competition is simply by following them.
However, I suggest doing this only if you’re a small business with a really niche audience. The reason for this is because there isn’t a clear way for your to scale using this approach.
Instagram is pretty strict when it comes to the number of follow requests made in a day. Generally, when you follow (or unfollow) more than 150-200 users in a day using a relatively new account they can instantly suspend your account (don’t ask how I know).
The best follower apps that can help you grow the number of followers with a real targeted audience on Instagram is:
Use Instagram insights for followers demographic data
Instagram insights is a native analytics tool that provides data on your followers’ demographics (age range, location, gender), their actions with your account, as well as the performance of your content. This is just the kind of data we need to better understand our followers and get the right audience on Instagram. However, only Instagram business accounts (not regular ones) have access to this feature that is available on the mobile app.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7usrwLqGV4&ab_channel=FiveMinuteSocialMedia-JerryPotter
So, if you have a business account here’s how to check out your followers’ demographic data:
- Go to your profile using your Instagram app.
- Tap the Insights action button.
- You can also go to Menu in the upper right corner, and tap Insights.
- Tap the metrics under the Overview section or specific content you’ve shared for a more detailed breakdown.
Within the Audience tab of Instagram Insights, you’ll find 4 key sets of information about your followers:
Gender – The percentage split of your followers.
Age Range – The age brackets of your followers.
Top Locations – Where your followers are from on Instagram.
Followers – The most active times of your followers, by an hour of the day and days of the week.
“Stalk” your most engaged followers
Stalking. Something that you should never do in real life, but is worth doing when you do Instagram target audience research.
These are the people that not only follow you but actually like what you share on your feed!
Here’s how to start:
- Go to your last post
- Select users that commented or liked your post
- Once you’re on their profile, check what they like to post
- What hashtags they use
- Notice what kind of captions and language they use (also very important)
- Check who they follow
Knowing what your audience is doing on social media is the most valuable information we’re trying to get. You might discover that they follow your competitors or other relevant accounts you don’t even know. Or some interest that’s popular among the target audience that you haven’t considered before.
For example, not only do they follow you but they also appear to be passionate sports fans. Or, fashion design lovers that follow the #designerclothes hashtag or some relevant influencer.
How can we make use of this information?
Say you get the impression that your fans apart from liking your content, also follow several motivational-quote accounts. To make sure your content resonates with your best followers you can also share a motivational post/video once in a while.
Instagram polls – if you don’t know, ask!
There’s a reason why political marketers spend so much time organizing voter focus groups. It’s a short-cut to getting data on what your target audience likes and dislikes.
Instagram polls are a great way to avoid any “assumptions” and find out what would be the best content for the people that follow you.
How to create Instagram polls?
- Take a photo or video for your story
- Select the “poll” sticker and place it anywhere you like
- Write a question
- Customize the poll choices
After you post your story your audience will immediately start voting and you can see real-time results.
Here are some suggestions on what types of questions to ask with Instagram polls:
- What kind of content do they prefer
- What’s their favorite Instagram page or influencer
- Why they follow your account in the first place
- What format they find more engaging (video, carousels, etc)
Use post captions to ask your followers what they like
If we take a look at the captions of this car influencer we can see that she did exactly this with0 her audience. The post has 1 358 likes and over 400 helpful comments from her fans.
“What kind of content should I post on here? I’m curious to what you guys wanna see :)”
You can use pretty much this same line to ask your audience what would be most interesting for them.
How to find your customers on Instagram
Influencers Club has an enrichment program that lets you discover who among your customers or subscribers is active on Instagram.
Let me explain.
Influencers Club has the largest database of Instagram user data (80+ contacts). Collecting every user information that’s publicly available such as personal email addresses, phone numbers, Instagram bios, number of followers/following, Instagram category, and of course, Instagram handles (check free data sample with all 28 data points).
Having that kind of information makes it easy for them to take your current email database of customers and subscribers and check theirs for matches. Depending on the type of niche you’re in the match rate can vary between 5 to 15 percent.
Enriching your current database with social media profiles and their number of followers, helps you find your most popular customers. These customers that are IG users can help you spread the word about your brand three times better than regular influencers! The reason for this is that collaborations with people that don’t really understand your brand and like your product doesn’t seem natural to an audience.
On the other hand, when one of your own customers promotes your brand it looks like a genuine and friendly recommendation.
This is definitely the easiest way to find the best target audience that you should engage with on Instagram.
A little DM never hurt anybody
No one is going to sue you for reaching out to a new follower via direct messaging to ask why they decided to follow you. The other thing you should ask is what kind of content do they expect from your Instagram page.
But, carefully select who are the followers you DM. This should be someone that interacts with your page (like or comment) regularly.
Here’s a simple DM template that you can use:
|“Hi! We’ve noticed that you started following us and seem to like our posts, thanks so much for the love! Quick question: what kind of content would you like to see us post? We’re trying to deliver the best XYZ to our followers, and your feedback would be much appreciated!”|
Use social media listening tools
Social media listening is the practice of tracking conversations on social media about and around your organization or brand name. You can also track keywords related to your niche or peer organizations.
These tools can help you easily engage with people that have questions, issues, positive or negative comments. The goal is to identify your target audience and get in touch with them to draw their attention to your Instagram profile.
Other benefits of using social media listening tools:
- Create more relevant content for your supporters
- Plan more targeted social media campaigns
- Improve your overall social media strategy
- Provide better customer service
- Improve your products
- Launch new products that your audience is asking for
Here are some social media listening tools that you can use:
- Boardreader tracks forums, websites, blogs, and messaging boards. It’s a powerful free social media listening tool that not many have heard of or actively use, so use it to your advantage!
- Union Metrics has a free Instagram account checkup from lets you see how you’re doing on Instagram using the last 30 days of activity on your account. The free tool also questions about your Instagram account like what’s the best time to post to Instagram, what hashtags should you use to get the most engagement, and what kind of content should you post more (or less).
- Google News can be used to search for your brand name, as well as a set of keywords for your areas of interest, include competitors. To make it even easier, fund the RSS feed at the bottom of the search results page and add it to an RSS reader of your choice. If you’d like email alerts straight to your email inbox, you can also set up email alerts, choosing “As it happens” as the fastest way to be kept updated.
Test Different Types of Content
As of 2021, there are many different ways that you can post content on Instagram, with the newest addition to the platform being Reels, a place where creators can post short form video content. Besides this new feature, there are all of the old ways of sharing content such as: Posts, Carousels, Stories, IGTV, and Live Streaming.
If you want to get the maximum out of Instagram, at first you must use every single of the above mentioned features to test and see which one works best with your targeted audience.
Before deciding what type of content you will focus on, I would like to recommend for you to try and post at least 5 – 10 pieces of content with every single feature including Posts, Reels, Carousels, Stories, IGTV, and maybe even have some Live Streams on your profile.
You can make a simple Google spreadsheet where you can keep track of the performances of your posts. You can write down the number of likes, comments, impressions, and the reach every post achieves. After having 5 – 10 pieces of every content type, you should compare the results and see which two or three types of content work the best for you and then double down on those.
On top of you seeing which type of content performs the best for your target audience, Instagram’s algorithm likes when you use every single feature they have and it might promote your content even more. It’s a win-win situation.
Here is a little hint from us: make sure to use every new feature that Instagram rolls out as soon as possible. That’s because Instagram wants to test their new features and promote them as much as possible, so the people who use these features get their content promoted too.
At the time of writing this, the latest example of this is Instagram’s Reels feature. Reels videos are getting so many impressions organically on the platform, no matter if they are posted by a big or by a small account, because Instagram wants to test and improve this new feature that is set to compete with TikTok For Your page.
Another important thing that you can do to post more content without spending much time at it is repurposing already made content. The biggest content creators on all social media platforms do this, and if you want to grow your Instagram followers you should also do the same.
For example, if you host a 60 minute live stream on your page, you can later create a 5 minute IGTV video talking about the most important stuff that you mentioned on the live stream. Afterwards, you can segment this IGTV video in easily digestible 15 seconds clips that you can post on your Story, Reels, or both.
You can also use the same information that you shared in the video and create a text and image carousel where you will share the content in a photo format for the people that like reading more than watching a video.
By using this example, you can easily find one topic and create more than 10 pieces of content that satisfy the different needs of your audience.
Create Shareable Content
A good way to reach more of your targeted audience is by creating content that is easily shareable, so people in your target audience can share it between them.
For any piece of content to be shareable, it first must be a compelling topic because people only share something that ignites their hearts and minds and it makes them want to inform other people about it too.
For a content to be shareable, it must have an eye-catching headline because it is one of the most important factors when people decide if they want to share something or not. In fact, headlines are so important that they can actually trigger a person to share a post on their own. A recent study shows that 59% of links shared on social media aren’t even clicked.
That’s why you should always include headlines whether you are creating photos or videos. When writing headlines, make sure to be clear about what the reader will learn and what will get as a result of that reading. Also include numbers because they often catch the reader’s attention.
See What Has Been Working & Replicate The Success
To create something valuable, you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel. In fact, most new creations are just improvements of something that already existed.
The same concept applies to social media too. You don’t have to create something from scratch, you can just take a look at what your competitors are doing and just do the same, but do a better job.
After you start posting yourself, you can check your own statistics and see what posts are doing the best. If you use the method we mentioned earlier of testing different types of content, after posting for about a month, you will have a clear birds-eye view of what works the best for your target audience.
You having some content on your accounts means that you can easily backtrack the engagement rates of your posts to understand what kind of content your audience find most interesting. And most people know this, but what they do wrong is they experiment and try to find something new that will perform even better when they should just focus on what already works for them.
You don’t need new, groundbreaking ideas. You need to create content that your target audience is genuinely interested in and is eager to interact with. Afterward, your goal is to find similar, lookalike audiences by posting content that is already proven to be successful.
To find what already works the best for you, go to Analytics and click on the Engagement button. If carousel posts give you the best results, post more of them. If Reels do the job for you, focus on them. It’s simple.
No matter if there is a local aspect to your business or not, if you want to reach more of your targeted audience, you should always make sure to add a location tag to your photo.
If you have a local aspect to your business, you should use location tags to strengthen the connection between the content and your brand name when they get extra exposure and show up in the popular hashtag feeds.
However, if your business isn’t location-based, for example, let’s say you have an online store, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use location tags at all.
For example, if you have an online store that is selling women activewear, you are wasting many impressions if you don’t use location tags because you could use them to tag different gyms in the USA because women that are interested in going to the gym and actually look at photos taken at a gym are also interested in activewear.
This example clearly shows that you should tag photos at popular locations where your target audience might browse events and other photos that are in their interest.
Posting at the Right Time
If you want to find and later reach your Instagram target audience, you must post your content when your audience is online, because no matter how good of content you have, it will all be wasted if nobody sees it.
It doesn’t make any sense to publish your content when your audience isn’t online, because Instagram’s algorithm decides if it is going to promote your content to new audiences based on the performance of your post in the first 30 minutes. That’s why you want most of your existing audience to see your content as soon as you post it, so they can help you reach new, lookalike audiences too.
Your location shouldn’t matter to your time of posting, because for example it doesn’t make sense to post your content according to the Eastern time zone, if most of your audience is in the Pacific time zone.
The best way to know when you should post your content is to go to your analytics tab and check where most of your audience is based. With this you can decide the time zone of the majority of your audience.
After that, you can get even more specific information from the analytics tab that shows when your audience is online the most.
Doing these two steps can help you accordingly adapt your posting schedule to your audience’s online behaviours.
How to Reach Your Target Audience on Instagram
Knowing where your audience is on Instagram means very little if you’re not sure how to go about reaching, interacting, and engaging with them.
To do that, continue reading some of our best tips.
Hashtags provide targeted exposure!
Regular users and brands use hashtags (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Instagram post mainly to help them show more easily in Instagram search.
Here’s an example of how Etsy uses hashtags to show their posts in front of their target audience.
When someone does an Instagram search of “handmade”, Etsy’s image will be part of the results.
When used strategically, they provide you with a ton of benefits. They can be used to get your content in front of a larger social media audience, raise awareness about your brand, target a very specific group of people, boost your SEO, and use hot trends and topics to your advantage, among other things.
Pro tip: Use hashtags not only on regular feed posts but also your Instagram stories.
To find relevant hashtags on Instagram for your brand use:
- Suggestions in Instagram search. Just like with Google search, when you start typing a certain query on the Instagram search you immediately get related suggestions.
- Influencer Marketing Hub Instagram Hashtag Generator.
- Hashtag Generator #HashMe.
- Research your competitors.
- Research your followers.
What if your targeted Instagram audience is local?
Again hashtags are a great way to get exposure for your event or local store. But instead of regular hashtags, here we need to tag our Instagram post with a location.
Or if your business is operating locally then you need to go a step further and search your industry + city name to narrow down your # search. This way you can get connected with people in your town!
No matter what industry you are in, there are events related to it. They could be conventions, conferences, or even some virtual seminars. Whatever the events in your industry are, find the event hashtags and make sure you follow them on Instagram.
But you should do more than just plainly following the hashtag. You have to be active, like photos that are tagged with the event, comment on those photos, or even go and talk directly through the DMs with the people that posted that content because they are your target audience.
Take some time and read what they are saying, answer their questions, offer helpful advice to them, compliment a user, or even ask questions about the event. Whatever you do, make sure to be present in the conversation and act as a real human.
Taking some time every day to engage with these or any other hashtags will usually result in a boost of followers for you, and the best thing is that they are your target audience.
Find influencers in your niche
Nowadays pretty much everyone is trying to find a way to become an influencer. The entry barriers on the market are very low and it has led to an oversaturated marketplace! But this is a great opportunity for brands. Let me tell you why:
A couple of years ago Instagram realized that celebrities are used for an enormous reach and that’s negatively affected them as an ads platform. In explanation, macro-influencers were more becoming more attractive than Facebook and Instagram ads.
So they changed their platform a bit.
Now, as one account gets more followers their social media posts reach a fewer percentage of their followers.
But, this means that brands can use multiple smaller influencers for more reach and engagement at a lower cost.
What options do you have when it comes to finding micro/nano influencers in your niche?
1. Find influencers among customers
Have you ever wondered whether some of the people that bought from your store are influencers? Well, if you’re a Shopify store, there is a great app that lets you find influencers among customers.
People that like your products probably have an audience that will too!
2. Find influencers among your (or competitors) followers
Use Influencers Club to scrape your Instagram followers and find who among them have more than 2k followers. Other than the number of followers of your audience you get verified email addresses that you can use to reach out and ask for a collaboration.
This same strategy can be used to find influencers among your competitors’ followers.
To get started, check out Influencers Club’s pricing.
3. Use hashtags to find influencers
We previously mentioned how to use hashtags to reach your target audience on Instagram. But they are also a great way to find influencers in your niche.
If you know what are the most relevant hashtags in your industry you can check the profiles and see whether someone might be a good fit for your brand.
For example, the #jewelry hashtag has over 93M posts. Not all of them are relevant to your brand but with a bit of research, you can definitely find the influencers you need.
A more specific example would be the #gaming hashtag, where you’ll be able to find the top gamers present on the site.
Create a list of the best profiles and DM them manually or with the help of DM automation tools.
4. Influencer discovery platforms or free resources
Influencer platforms are designed to help brands find, communicate, manage and see the ROI of every influencer collaboration.
Here are some of the best ones that we recommend:
- Influence Co
Or, you can use some great free resources to find micro-influencers. Here’s one we created: Free List of 150 Micro-Influencers in Every Niche [Emails Included].
Once you identify the right influencers for your brand, you can approach them with several types of partnerships depending on your goals. You could:
- Have them review your product or service
- Get them to share your content with their followers
- Partner with them to run a giveaway contest
- Have them take over your social media account for a set time
- Get them to ingeniously position your brand or product
5. Spread the love with @mentions
The most interesting way to reach your niche community on Instagram is by interacting with your peers and target audience by @mentions. Find popular Instagram users that your followers like and tag them in a story or a post in an authentic way.
Chances are pretty good that the mentioned person will reshare your post to their audience!
Boom! You’ve just got exposure to your target audience and deepen your community roots.
Rinse and repeat.
Use Instagram to build relationships with your audience
Understanding your audience, what they like and don’t like to see on Instagram, will empower you to strengthen your engagement strategy.
Every one of the tips given above can help you find, research, and engage with your audience on Instagram.
But, maybe even after reading this gigantic article, you’re not sure whether you’ll successfully target your best audience.
Well, do you like to skip the whole process?
As I mentioned above, you can get the email addresses of Instagram users that follow your competitors or relevant Instagram influencer in your niche. Don’t hesitate for a moment to book a free consultation with our team to learn more about how we find those emails and how you can use them to scale.
The research you do about your Instagram target audience is a work in progress, which means that the more time you spend in the given industry, the more you will learn about your target audience and then you will adapt your content strategy accordingly. All of the tips that we have shared in this article can be easily adapted to any specific business or niche, but whatever you do with them, don’t expect to see overnight success. Instagram marketing is pretty complex and it takes a lot of time to attract and build a core & loyal audience. The most important thing for you is to continue creating new content, that is as original and creative as possible because, in the long run, that’s what wins on Instagram or anything else in life.
The research you do about your Instagram target audience is a work in progress, which means that the more time you spend in the given industry, the more you will learn about your target audience and then you will adapt your content strategy accordingly.
All of the tips that we have shared in this article can be easily adapted to any specific business or niche, but whatever you do with them, don’t expect to see overnight success. Instagram marketing is pretty complex and it takes a lot of time to attract and build a core & loyal audience.
The most important thing for you is to continue creating new content, that is as original and creative as possible because, in the long run, that’s what wins on Instagram or anything else in life.
GET INSTAGRAM EMAILS
If you are interested in learning more about how you can get validated Instagram data, make sure to schedule a quick call with our team, where you can discuss the details related to your targeting.