Beginner Guide

The Complete Guide to Finding Your Instagram Target Audience

You may already be creating some great content for your Instagram marketing strategy. And you can probably get creative with all the cool features like stickers and reels. But are you connecting with your Instagram target audience?

While creativity is essential to marketing success, you won’t get very far if you’re not marketing to a specific target audience. Every aspect of your strategy needs to be tailored to the people you want to reach. This includes everything from the messages you put in to the scenes you create.

Similarly, for your Instagram strategy to work, you need to align it with the needs and values ​​of your Instagram target audience. In this guide, we show you how to find a target audience on Instagram and drive more engagement.


  • What is Instagram target audience?
  • 5 Ways to Find Your Instagram Target Audience
  • 5 proven ways to connect with your Instagram target audience

What is Instagram target audience?

An Instagram target audience refers to a group of people you want to reach with your Instagram marketing efforts. This group will have some shared characteristics that bind them together and make them relevant to your brand. This can be anything from demographics to interests and values.

These are the people you will be creating content and developing campaigns for. And you will adapt your brand voice, message and tone to resonate with them.

For example, Drunk Elephant targets skin care enthusiasts who value long-term skin health. So it makes sense to create Instagram content to promote healthy and beneficial content. It also provides education about the ingredients that contribute to skin issues.

Drunk Elephant's Instagram post showing a clear skincare gel being squeezed onto a hand and a list of ingredients people would never find in the brand's products

Finding a target audience for Instagram is important because it helps you streamline your marketing efforts for a specific group of people. When you’re trying to reach anyone and everyone, chances are your strategy will be all over the place. But with target audiences, you can shape your strategy according to their shared characteristics. This way, your efforts can be more focused and more organized.

5 Ways to Find Your Instagram Target Audience

So how do you get started with Instagram targeting? Check out these five methods for how to find your target audience on Instagram.

1. Create buyer personas

Don’t re-invent the wheel. You can rely on information about your brand’s existing buyer personas to find your Instagram target audience. If you haven’t created them yet, check out our guide on how to create buyer personas.

Have a clear idea of ​​what the typical customer for your business looks like. Ask yourself what your product is and what it does. Who is your product designed for? And what is your audience looking for?

Keep in mind that not everyone may be looking for the same thing. There may be people with different needs and motivations based on their unique pain points. So don’t be surprised if you find more than one buyer persona that is relevant to your brand. Each of these personas can be a different target audience group for your Instagram marketing efforts.

Sprout Social’s Instagram target audience includes social media managers and decision makers. So we mix things up to appeal to these two different groups. We regularly create fun and relatable content for social media managers. We also deliver heavy doses of statistics and insightful content to inform decision makers.

Sprout Social's Instagram post of a man taking a photo on a set with a text overlay saying "POV: You're a social media manager with access to a set"

2. Use Competitive Intelligence

You can learn a lot about your target audience by looking at your competitors’ Instagram audiences. See what kind of followers they have and what kind of posts they are publishing. This type of competitive intelligence can give you some idea of ​​what your Instagram target audience should look like. You can find out if there are any gaps or missing audience segments that you may have missed as you started to put together your own audience picture.

Sprout’s competitive analysis reports let you track your competitors’ Instagram performance. It shows you how their posts are performing and how people are engaging with them. It even helps you track their audience growth and compare it with yours. So you can narrow down your biggest competitors and take a closer look at their audience makeup.

instagram competitor analysis report sprout

3. Use existing demographic data

Instagram Analytics provides you with an analysis of your existing audience demographics. This type of valuable social media demographics insight can inform your Instagram targeting.

Under “Insights,” go to “Followers.” Here, you can see some important statistics about your existing followers including their age range, gender and location.

Instagram followers info showing location distribution of top followers and age range

Combine this data with the information you gathered from your buyer personas and competitor research. This will help you clarify what your Instagram target audience looks like.

4. Use Social Listening

Audience research helps you gain a better understanding of your audience. This makes it an important step in implementing effective Instagram targeting.

One of the best ways to understand your Instagram target audience is through social listening. Unless you know what your audience is talking about and what they are interested in, you will have a hard time figuring out how to engage them.

Sprout’s listening tools allow you to listen to conversations in your industry and about certain topics. This can give you a better idea of ​​what your target audience is talking about and how they feel about a particular topic.

Query builder on Sprout Social with a list of brand mentions from specific profiles

5. Take Advantage of Instagram Polls

If you’re going to research your audience, why not ask them directly?

Make the most of Instagram features like Stories polls to ask questions and better understand your target audience. Ask them to vote on what type of content they like and what they expect from you. Or you can create a poll to nail down the specifics of their likes and dislikes, their interests and hobbies, etc.

5 proven ways to connect with your Instagram target audience

Finding your Instagram target audience isn’t enough if you don’t know what to do with the information.

Once you have a clear idea of ​​who your target audience is and what they want, you can use the insights to boost your Instagram engagement. Here are some tips on how to target and engage an audience on Instagram.

1. Take advantage of the right hashtags on Instagram

The right Instagram hashtags can get you in front of the right audience.

Your target audience should have interests related to your brand and/or industry. This also means that they will use or follow hashtags related to the industry.

It’s your job to make sure you use those hashtags so the right people find your content.

Make the most of Sprout’s listening tools to discover the topics and hashtags your audience mentions over and over again. You will be able to get a detailed breakdown of the amount of conversation and engagement for each hashtag. So you can find hashtags that are popular among your target audience and use them in your Instagram posts.

Sprout Social Listening dashboard showing conversation overview of hashtags with top topics and related statistics

2. Take Advantage of Geotagging

For location-based Instagram targeting, you can make the most of the platform’s geotagging feature. Geotagged posts and stories appear in location-related searches. So this feature can significantly increase the visibility of your posts with the right audience.

In other words, people interested in the content or events captured in those locations will be able to see your post in their search results. Since the content is relevant to them, there is a good chance that they will take the time to watch it and even engage with it.

Check out how adidas Originals adds the Coachella geolocation tag in the following post. By adding this tag, brands improve the chances of their posts appearing in searches about Coachella.

An Instagram post from adidas Originals showing an artist performing on stage and a geolocation tag for Coachella

3. Connect with influencers

Influencers have authority in specific niches as a direct result of their passion and expertise. They have gathered hundreds of thousands of followers whose interests align with their niche.

That’s why Instagram Influencer Marketing is the perfect way to reach and engage with your audience. This would involve partnering with influencers that your Instagram target audience follows and looks up to.

There are several types of influencer partnerships to help you drive engagement:

  • Let them review your product or service
  • Ask them to share your content with their followers
  • Partner with them to run a giveaway contest
  • Have they taken over your social media accounts for a specified period of time
  • Get them to establish your brand or product simply

Sprout helps you identify the right influencers and thought leaders for your brand. Start by looking at trending conversations around specific topics. The Listening Demographics dashboard then breaks down the top profiles leading those conversations. These are the profiles that will make an impact on your target audience and help you increase engagement.

The Sprout Social Listening Demographics report lists profiles leading conversations around a given topic

4. Participate in the Conversation

Participating in the right conversations can help you get noticed by the right people.

Use Sprout’s listening tools to discover trending conversations about your industry and your brand. This will help you identify some of the most active conversations that you can participate in. You can either join existing conversations or create a new post to drive engagement.

The Sprout Social Listening Engagement Report shows a comparison graph for different types of engagement

5. Create Content That Matters to Your Target Audience

Engaging your Instagram target audience is all about creating content that resonates with them. And the best way to understand what they like is by looking at your analytics data.

Find out what type of content gets the most engagement so you can understand what resonates with audiences. Use this information to improve your strategy and develop more engaging content.

Look beyond native Instagram analytics and use Sprout’s analytics tools for deeper insights. These tools will provide you with a post-level breakdown of your content’s performance. You’ll be able to filter the report to narrow down the metrics that matter to you. You can then use these insights to understand the types of content that matter to your target audience so that you can create more of them.

The post-wise performance report on Sprout Social Analytics shows a window with the option to filter by various metrics

Let your Instagram target audience accelerate your growth

Instagram marketing success starts with understanding and appealing to your target audience. And Sprout offers a suite of social tools that you can use to find and engage your target audience on Instagram. Try it free for 30 days to see how it can take your strategy to the next level.

The post The Complete Guide to Finding Your Instagram Target Audience appeared first on Sprout Social.

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