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When it comes to social media advice, the majority of the common catch phrases are there for a reason. Tips like “be engaging” and “communicate, don’t broadcast” are sound pieces of advice despite the annoying frequency that they’re used by gurus. There’s one common tip that is more than just annoying. In many ways, it’s actually wrong.

“Know your audience” is a mantra, a driving force behind many blog posts and help videos. For those building blogs or social networks for the sake of having a nice hobby or making money through traffic-based advertising, it’s good advice. For businesses using a blog and social networks to increase sales of their products or services, it’s the type of advice that can send people in the wrong direction. Unless you’re making money directly from your blog, you shouldn’t attempt to know your audience.

Instead, you need to know your customers and potential customers. The current audience is irrelevant.

Catering content to fit in with the current audience will appease them. It will make them more likely to share your content. It will get more interactions and engagement. These are all good things. However, catering content to fit in with them does not help grow your business. Sure, some of the people in your audience might be current or future customers, but unless they’re the majority, the opinions of your audience don’t really matter.

This all stems from a conversation I had yesterday with a client. She has an automotive blog that has accumulated a nice following because of the content that she was posting. It was fun content that included memes of people parking like idiots, stunts, and beautiful pictures of hot rods. The audience loved it. The problem is that the audience wasn’t buying cars from her. They were spread across the world. There was nothing local and only an occasional post about the brand itself.

If you’re blogging for SEO reasons only, then this isn’t a bad idea. The problem is that having one domain linking to your single website isn’t going to give you much SEO juice. The effort is wasted. Your company blog should not be used for SEO reasons to drive links to your website because if you only have one website and one blog linking to it constantly, the effects are minimal.

Your blog should be geared towards building amazing content that your customers and potential customers can enjoy. It should be relevant to them and them alone. It’s nice to reach thousands of people with your general interest blog posts, but it doesn’t drive business. You should be focusing on getting content up that 100 local potential customers will find interesting rather than 10,000 people spread across the world. That general content might draw more overall traffic, but it’s not driving business-relevant traffic. More importantly, it’s not making an impact on the locals that actually are visiting your blog, at least not as much as if you were posting content that they could associate with because of the local nature of it.

Having a large audience is a blessing, but having a good localized audience can help your brand and increase business. That should be your focus.

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