“Knowing your audience” is not a new idea in marketing, it predates the internet and probably even newspapers. But in recent weeks two experiences, one social and one professional, have changed the way that I’ve approached what “knowing your audience” is actually about:
First social: Out at a bar, I found myself in two conversations with two people I had never met before. The first was a fellow tennis player and was from my hometown; we talked about our joy of playing tennis, the US Open, and the things that we liked or missed about home . The second person I was chatting with was a music enthusiast, so we didn’t discuss tennis or New Jersey at all, but talked exclusively about music. In either of these instances, was I misrepresenting myself as either a tennis fan or a musician? Or course not; but I was picking and choosing the hobbies of mine to highlight as a way to better engage myself in conversation.
This idea came full circle in a meeting the following week: Sitting on the receiving end of a sales pitch, someone at the table asked the presenter for his “elevator pitch”; we’ve all heard it, describe who you are or what you do in 60 seconds or less. And the presenter’s answer, though simple, surprised me: “Well that depends on who I’m talking to.” At first impresssion, that seems like a cop-out. Someone who’s unprepared, or unable to sum up their work in a concise and easily digestible way. But as I thought over that response I realized that this presenter realized what I realized after the above two conversations:
Knowing your audience is about being relatable. In the very crowded world of social media, where thousands of small businesses are competing for space on your news feed, the brand that is able to relate to their audience the most will be the one who receives the most engagement and sees the best results. This doesn’t apply just to the words you use, or the ads you run, it applies to the time of day that you post, the current events that you choose to comment on, and the overall style of your posts. Thinking critically about who your audience is, what they like, what they’re watching, doing, spending time and money on, and dedicating their energy to on a daily basis will help to make each piece of content you post more effective and will improve your overall social media strategy.