Reaching Your Audience


Recently, the president of a prominent museum asked me which social media tool she should use to reach her audience. It’s a great question that all of us should be asking on behalf our own businesses and organizations. Pick the wrong venue and you’re unlikely to connect with your audience. You wouldn’t go to a grocery store to find football fans, especially at game time on Sunday. Well, maybe in the beer aisle.

In my research, I could not find any single source to answer this question definitively. Instead, I compiled data from a variety of sources and made my best apple-to-apples adjustments to the numbers that follow. Shout out to the folks at Hubspot for providing more than their fair share of such stats (

Do your own research to verify any of the following information before relying on these results. Among other things, the numbers are constantly changing. In reviewing, notice some fun facts I’ve included in the ‘comments’ column.


Service Users Primary Audience Female Male Comments
Facebook 2.0 B Gen X, Gen Y (AKA millennials)   53% 47% 75% of users spend >20 mins per day
YouTube 1.0 B Gen Y, Gen X   45% 55% YouTube + Netflix account for 55% of Internet bandwidth every evening
Instagram 600 M Gen Y (90%)   61% 39% More than half of users follow specific brands
LinkedIn 433 M White collar and B2B professionals   47% 53% Will become increasingly interwoven with MS Office
Twitter 317 M Gen Y   40% 60% Most users (53%) never tweet
Pinterest 317 M 18 – 64 year olds   73% 27% The “half-life” for a pin is >150,000 minutes vs. 90 mins for a Facebook post (wow!)
Snapchat 301 M 12 – 24 year olds   58% 42% Users spend >30 mins per day
Reddit 85 M 64% < age 30   33% 67% Moderated; sales content discouraged


Tell me what else you want to see in this chart and I’ll expand it.

These are numbers but there’s more to consider. Have you ever seen the quotation, “Chase two rabbits, catch none.”? If you pursue multiple audiences that have different interests, you’re creating a lot of noise for all of them.

In the case of a museum, potential audiences might include patrons, donors, potential board members (If you aspire to be on the board of a non-profit organization, plan on being a MAJOR DONOR too. I’ve been there, LOL.), art dealers, artists, and no doubt others. By targeting separately audiences individually, your content and interactions can be more valuable and more time-efficient for each of them, making audience attraction and retention less challenging.

Few organizations have the resources to pursue all (or even most of) their potential target audiences. Indeed. Pick your most valuable population first and serve them well. If you still have available resources, serve the next audience, and so on. It reminds me of another quote: “Do one thing well, not two things poorly.”

Pick your most valuable population first and serve them well. If you still have available resources, serve the next audience, and so on. Click To Tweet

If you measure the revenue and cost of your social programs, you may find that some merit greater (or lesser) investment than initially predicted because the initiatives generate impressive returns on investment (or not). Which brings to mind another quotation: “Let data be your guide.” And, “What gets measured, gets done.” And, “Never inundate your audience with too many quotations.” (I just made up that last one).

Yet another factor to consider in selecting a social platform is its cost. While you can set up a Facebook Company Page for free, only approximately 1% of those who ‘like’ you will see your posts in their feeds. I can’t imagine a less efficient way to communicate with an audience that has already opted in.

But wait, Dave. When those 1% ‘like’ my post, don’t their friends see it too? Yes, but are their friends your target audience? I thought not.

There is a way to fix the 1% visibility problem: You must pay!

Mark Zuckerberg is running a public company and he told his users that “Facebook is free and always will be.” Where will he make money? Right!

Today, there are multiple advertising modes on Facebook and most other social networks but do never buy social advertising on faith. Figure out what “conversions” you’re attempting and estimate their corresponding values. Then you can calculate the ROI. Did I already mention, “What gets measured, gets done.”?

I’m not sure how to end this blog, except to mention that I didn’t mention Google+ in the table above. I use Google+ for a small, private group of less than 100 members and I love it. However, Google+ lost 57% of its user base in 18 short months. Maybe it should be renamed “the failing Google+”. Interestingly, Google has tried social networking four times (does anybody remember Orkut, Wave, or Buzz?). If Google+ does fail, I’m almost certain that Google will be back for a fifth try, or an acquisition. Twitter anyone?

Regarding the failing Google+, regular readers may remember that a little over four years ago I said that Google+ looked to be on track to become the second largest social network. Not exactly. But I do this column for free and you might recall one other quote: “You get what you pay for.”

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