Facebook’s Custom Gender Option a Lesson in Understanding Your Audience

Image: TechCrunch
Image: TechCrunch

As a communicator, you have to know your audience and know them well. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their behaviors? How do they identify themselves? Get that information wrong, and you risk alienating a potential customer.

Facebook has responded to a segment of its own audience by creating over 50 additional gender options. The social media platform expanded its options because it wants its users “to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self.”

To the extent that gender or gender identity plays a role in your communications strategy, you may want to take note of what Facebook has done. When you are developing content for Facebook specifically, you may also want to brush up on the new gender options that are available. But the broader lesson here is not so much about whether you refer to yourself or someone else as transgender, cisgender or neither, but how well you know your audience.

Most brands do not have the audience that Facebook has, so it will probably not be necessary to drill down into 50 different subcategories of gender when communicating with customers. However, all effective messaging starts with developing quality content that caters to your audience’s needs. You must understand your customer and what’s important to them. Then demonstrate that in your communications. And watch your brand become a trusted resource.

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell