Having trouble defining your audience? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Last week I wrote about defining which are the right social media platforms for government, non-profit organizations and the private sector. So this week I want to touch on some of the variables that will help you define your audience for these organizations.

Like I stated in “Which social media platform is the best for you? The business, non-profits organizations and Government agencies edition”, one of the first steps is defining what you want to accomplish and after this you need to determine whom you want to reach.

 “An understanding of your audience should drive your entire social strategy. It will help you determine your goals, messaging and tone, and help give a better understanding of social analytics.” Tulani Elisa

So here are three crucial variables that you should consider when defining which segments of the market will be your audience:

  1. Demographics: This variable will help you study the audience you want to reach. You will get a better view of who they are, where they live, what their education level is, etc. In the case of a high-end business like Rolls Royce we would definitely want to look at the income level of the audience, what their schooling level is, etc. When it comes to government agencies a key factor is location of our demographic and in terms of a non-profit organization we might want to look at which generation does our audience belong, are they part of the Generation Y, X or Z.
  2. Behaviour: when we look at behaviour in our audience, we try to understand the audience behaviour regarding our organization or product.1 For example: in the case of a non-profit organization we would want to know if our audience has donated money in the past or if they have participated as volunteers in similar organizations and how regularly they have done it. In the case, of government agencies we want to know how many people read governments’ newsletters and what do they do with this information. For business, we need to understand what is the user status of a segment are they first time or regular users of the product are they loyal to a specific brand and what are the benefits that they are looking for in that particular product or service.
  3. Psychographic: with this variable we will look into what are the activities, interests, lifestyle and values of the segment. 1 If we are a non-profit organization that has an objective to protect the environment, having a full understanding of the interests and opinions of our audience will enable us to see if they currently recycle, do they buy products that have a lower carbon print in the environment, etc. In case of government agencies we would want to know if they vote or believe in the power of voting, do they participate in the rallies or political meetings in their communities, are they part of any political party? Whereas in the case of businesses, we would want to know what they enjoy, what do they do for fun, or how much time do they invest in certain communities.

Doesn’t matter if you are a non profit or private organization, when you fully comprehend the demographic, psychographic and behaviour characteristics of your audience you will be able to determine what are the actions that you need to take to attract their attention, engage them and hopefully finally drive them to action.


1 Market Segmentation, NetMBA.com 

Who is Your Social Media Audience? Really, Who is it?, Kelly Jennex, February 14, 2013

Non-Profits and Social Media: 3 Steps to Defining Your Audience, Tulani Elissa, The Huffington Post, February 21, 2014

Designing a Social Media Strategy to Fulfill Your Agency’s Mission, Ines Mergel, The Public Manager, Spring 2013