In this ever-changing, constantly moving world it has become increasingly difficult for brands to reach the people they most want to talk to –consumers. But at the same time it has become ever so easy to reach these people, too – socially.
We, as consumers, can pick up our phones or tablets or open up our laptops at any point we want during the day. We can poke our heads in to the networks we’re all part of, and we can see what our friends our doing in real time. We also can check out what’s going on with our favorite brands, events and celebrities – sometimes on our own terms and sometimes on theirs.
But what most brands are missing is who we really are, as consumers, and how to speak to us. Why? You think it would be easy to talk to the people who use and buy your products or services. But here is the rub: we consumers are more than just one person. There are millions of different reasons that we all use the product or service that ‘brand x’ offers. To try and speak to us in a universal manner really doesn’t work anymore. Furthermore, you can’t sell me on your product if you’re not sharing about it in a manner that matters to me; if it’s not relevant to me, than why should I care? That’s what brands are up against and it’s up to them to identify what the remedy is for this. Lucky for brands, consumers are laying the foundation for them.
In today’s social world, one of the first steps a brand needs to take is to identify the consumers who are relevant to them. The brand needs to ask: Who is consuming my content? Social media users create detailed profiles and share a lot of information. In looking at their profiles, interests and where they’re from, brands can create the first thing vital to social success: targeted communities.
Identifying consumers by their interests and where they hail from in the social world is crucial for a brand – particularly if a consumer is an active member of their fan base. Brands must look at their audience and begin to segment us (picture the cattle call lines at Southwest Airlines gates) by what we like to do and the topics that interest us. Without identifying who we really are, brands are firing blind, but luckily for them, social media makes it pretty simple for brands to segment us. Once they take a strategic look at their consumers, brands can then reach out through targeted advertising and sponsored posts, but once they have us, they need to keep us by engaging with us.
Speak To Me
Once a brand knows who its audience is, it can engage with us in a meaningful way, right? For most brands, the answer is: wrong. Brands often get caught up in pushing-out messages about what they do and what they determine is important about their products or services. They have the right idea – show me what you do and why you think it’s important to me. But social media users mostly engage with brand communities for personal reasons; we don’t want to be flooded with clutter – mostly because social media is part of our everyday lives. Brands need to reach us by giving us socially authentic content.
Look at your community insights, brand manager. You are able to see where I’m from and what I like to do. For instance, Beats by Dre aligns some of their content with the NFL and Super Bowl contenders by looking at the communities and consumers they serve. Then they go further by creating posts geared toward certain teams in the biggest markets on the biggest stages, and they don’t overwhelm with product-specific content.
People in San Francisco, football fans and music fans are all seeing a unique post that speaks directly to what they like to consume: bass-kickin’ headphones worn by the baller, made for the baller.
The beauty of Beats is that they have so many different consumers: musicians, athletes, movie stars, students, travelers, yet they create content that resonates with each and every one of their communities, which in turn spikes engagement and keeps people interested in what they’re talking about. This approach will turn your community members into brand ambassadors who are most likely to engage with your page, share your content, get more people looking at your page and ultimately grow your community.
You might be thinking: What does this really mean for the long run?
The answer is that strategically targeting and engaging with your audience allows you to provide specific, product-related information in a way that is relevant to your audience, and will ultimately drive them to your sales channel. As a brand manager, “the bottom line” is the biggest metric you’re trying to influence. Once you shift the way you interact with your audience, you strategically market to those consumers and give them specific reasons to buy into your brand and your product or service.
Chad Wittman of EdgeRank Checker really puts it in the best perspective when all is said and done. He says, “Facebook’s… algorithm rewards the brands that create the coolest content.” I’ll take that one step further: Facebook communities reward the brands that create the coolest content. Those brands are sandwiched between happy fans and happy networks, and the conversions they see are increasing every day.