Knowing Your Audience: An Exercise
Before I started Rowan Made, I freelanced under my own name: Breanna Rose. And for four years, I grew an online presence that was built around myself (which still feels a bit odd if I'm being honest). Because of this, I shared both business and personal posts on my own blog and social media accounts, simply because everything was already intertwined. So when I said hello to Rowan Made and officially ditched working under my own name, things got a bit confusing.
I knew that I didn't want to automatically convert all of my @imbreannarose social media accounts to @rowanmade because my old audience wasn't an exact crossover. I wanted everything Rowan Made related to be rooted in design + business and not about where I ate out for lunch over the weekend or how I was decorating my living room. So ultimately, I decided to keep @imbreannarose as is and start completely new accounts for @rowanmade. I've been building this new audience slowly over the past few years and have learned a LOT about the importance of knowing your audience.
For example, let's take a look at my now personal audience, @imbreannarose. I built up a great following on both Instagram and Twitter prior to launching Rowan Made, but it was half about work and half about my personal life. So now that those particular accounts are used purely for personal sharing, I've noticed less interaction from my audience, simply because some of them may have originally been following along for work related posts. I tried my best to let everyone know about the transition from @imbreannarose to @rowanmade when it was happening, but you can only repeat the same thing so much.
I wanted to share this story about my personal audience for the sake of comparison, because I've found the new @rowanmade audience to be a lot different and more invested. In a good way! Sure, I may not have the same amount of followers as @imbreannarose, but that's not what matters to me. My newfound consistency has allowed me to connect deeper and experience even more interaction with my tribe, which is exactly where I want to be. I've said this time and time again, but you don't have to be everything to everyone. So! If you're looking to get to know your own audience better, here are some tips for doing just that:
01. RESEARCH: Whether you're to starting to grow a new audience from scratch, or expand an existing one, research is always a good place to start, even if it's just for a quick check in. You may already know who your ideal client or audience member is (which is great), but there's nothing more eye opening than a little observation. To do this, try clicking around on some of your current followers, whether it's on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, or whatever platform you fancy. Then ask yourself: Who are they? What career path are they on? What kind of imagery are they posting? What are they saying? What photos and / or articles are do they like or are they sharing? I have a sneaky feeling that you'll begin to see a handful of commonalities. Maybe your audience is mostly female. Or maybe they are entrepreneurs! Either way, this exercise will give you great insight into how to thoughtfully share for your audience, rather than grasping for straws and posting whatever.
02. REFINE: Building off of the above, refinement is a great way to make a good first impression. This means that when a new individual comes to one of your accounts (or website), it's instantly clear what you do and what you like to share. And since first impressions are typically split second decisions, you'll need to capture all of this quickly. On Instagram, this may mean having a short + sweet bio followed by a curated feed. Or on Twitter, perhaps you have the same bio, with an important pinned post up top so that it's the first thing somebody sees.
For example, my Instagram account uses a one sentence bio, while my feed follows a fairly consistent pattern of posts. New visitors will quickly see lots of typography, sprinkles of color + photography, and white space for ample breathing room. That's just my way to curate a feed, but there's many routes one can go. Perhaps I'll have to write more about this topic in the future because it's a good one. ;)
03. INTERACT: The best social media accounts are the ones that not only know and post FOR their audience, but also interact with them. Doing this creates a sense of community while also establishing trust, both of which are important if you're selling a product or service. On Instagram, good interaction can come in the form of thought provoking captions, kindly responding to comments, and commenting directly on a post that makes you smile. On Twitter, you can also share and respond, so the general idea is the same! Either way, be genuine about your interaction and not just a robot. If you make an effort to get to know your audience (and even reach out to others), you'll find that everything grows quite naturally overtime. And perhaps that's for the best.