🐚 The Salty Shell: How to Master Your Audience

Published 4 months ago • 3 min read

The Salty Shell


Welcome to The Salty Shell: your dive into candid social currents and navigating success. Was this forwarded to you? Anchor your spot here to sail with me every week.

You can have the best content creators, graphic designers, and copywriters on your side, but if your message doesn’t resonate with your audience, you’re doing it all for nothing.

Grab a pen or open a note, and without pondering, answer: Who is your/your brand’s audience?

How do you know?

Answer these questions based on your answer above:

  1. Who are they demographically? Age, gender, and location - foundational details for targeted content.
  2. What are their interests? Uncover hobbies and passions to align content with preferences.
  3. Where do they consume content? Are you on their preferred platforms? Your audience chooses your platforms, not your CEO.
  4. What challenges do they face? Understand their pain points to provide relevant solutions and insights.
  5. How do they engage with brands? Explore interaction styles for tailored brand communication.

So, is your audience who you say it is or what it really is?

Hopefully, both, but if you don’t know or need a gut check, I’ll walk you through confidently understanding your audience.

You’ve caught the attention of your audience; the stage is yours - delight them. Your community is waiting in the wings, cheering you on and waiting to tell you how great you did.

More often than not, when I onboard a new client and start their audit, everything they’ve told me about their social and audiences seems to be assumed (vs. fact) when I start looking at the data. They assume they know who their audience is - likely based on some out-of-touch board of director’s PowerPoint demands. Yuck.

When you say who your audience is, you better be sure.


It’s important to know the difference between the target and engaged audiences because they’re both very important to your strategy and business.

Target | The specific group of individuals defined by you (and hopefully data to back): demographic, geographic, and psychographic factors that guide content strategy to appeal to this group.

Engaged | Individuals within the target audience who actively engage with you and your content. Engagement goes beyond likes, comments, shares, and DMs.

How are you going to figure this out? You can use a multitude of tools, and you should, but the first, best, and most important way to find your audience is to ask your community manager.

Your community manager is on the front lines with your audiences and community every day. They’re reading the comments, they’re having conversations, and they’re going to battle for you when the Karens come for you in the DMs 24/7.

Your community manager is your brand - think about it. Sometimes, the community manager is lower on the totem pole, but they should be in every marketing, sales, and product development meeting. I can’t tell you how many times I got word a new product was launching, and my response was, “They’re going to hate that,” but it was too late…and guess what happened? They hated it. Gee, if only someone knew.

If you don’t have a community manager or audience insights, reply now and tell me. We need to talk.

As far as collecting data, I’m not giving away all of my secrets but would love to work with you and your team 😉 I prefer manual research, native reporting, Sprout Social, Social Bakers, and Infegy, and I have a few more tricks up my sleeve.

Once you have your audience dialed in, create a deck that anyone can reference. No, not like personas (don’t get me started – I’m anti-personas), but simple slides defining each audience bucket and examples of actual people within your community who fall into that - pull pictures from their profiles that showcase them. Not profile photos, but ones showcasing what they do and like.

The next step in your strategy is to define why your target audience would follow you and why your engaged audience does follow you.

If you want to challenge yourself, tell me why you think I should follow a peanut butter brand on Instagram. What could they do to get my attention and make me think, “Yeah, I want to see them in the limited amount of time I spend scrolling every day.” I like peanut butter, but do I like it that much? See, you have to remember that to you, your brand is the world, but to the world, your brand is. . . well, just another little thing in their life.

Social media audience insights will always be evolving and changing - that’s a good thing! I’ve been in so many reporting meetings where the client is pissed that the audience didn’t stay the same month over month. So…you want growth, but you don’t? K.

I look at top-level insights on a monthly basis and go deep quarterly. They should be the foundation for your strategy, content calendar, online voice and tone, product development, and work in tandem with customer service.

Don’t get caught up in dreaming up your perfect audience; that’s not how it works. Plus, it’s easier to operate on data vs dreams.

If you learned something, share this with your community by forwarding it, mentioning it on LinkedIn, or shouting into the void on X.

My intent was not to leave questioning everything, but I promise it’s okay; the data is there, and I can help you unpack it.

Next week, we’re talking about reputation management!


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Your weekly practical advice, insights and strategic guide to social media, community management, marketing and freelancing. Created from 16 years of social media strategizing and community building. My approach is simple: lead authentically, solve problems, connect, and make a difference.

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