Smarter ways to improve social media targeting
Targeting customers through the social media channel has become more prolific over recent years, with household brands and even smaller start-up companies commonly using tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in and YouTube to successfully target customers, according to Howard Scott, digital marketing director for Sequence Digital.
It is vital, however, that the right social media tools are chosen for targeting each potential audience, Scott warns. For example, Twitter, Facebook and Linked-in users all have very different demographic profiles; there is probably very little point using a tool such as Facebook to reach a target audience of UK professionals aged 40+ when statistics show that over 80% of the UK's Facebook users are aged under 40.
So, after deciding which social media tools to use to get your message across to the right segments of users, the next step is to carefully plan how you're going to approach them, what message you need to put across, and exactly who you are targeting.
There have been numerous examples of major brands attempting to conduct social media campaigns or stunts, many of which have backfired and resulted in a consumer backlash - and even ridicule.
"Always put the consumer at the centre of any social media activity, and try to think as they would think," said Scott. "Innovation for the sake of innovation, like using social media marketing in order to be an early innovator, impresses no-one except perhaps a few of your peers."
Scott therefore suggests several keys to ensuring relevance in social media communications and marketing campaigns:
- Add value Always add value for the consumer, and always think of how they will gain from your activity. For example, a Facebook page which offers discounts and information about your product or service is innovative and helpful, and is likely to increase brand you brand awareness virally.
- Be different Be different and do try to make sure that your social media campaign is one that will get people talking, and one they will remember, no matter how simple.
- Engagement is key Last, but by no means least, encourage your consumers to engage with you through social media activity. Simply talking at them by posting regular updates and messages to whichever platform you use sends out the wrong message entirely. But, if you can actively encourage consumers to get involved in these campaigns, for example by posting suggestions for new products ideas as part of a competition, they will feel that they have some ownership of the brand, and this is vital.
"Social media is all about engagement and interaction, and is not a passive process, so if you are going to embrace it, ensure you do it correctly," said Scott.
Consumers engaging with each other through social media and sharing brand opinion has a favourable reaction, not only because these consumers feel they have ownership of the process, but also because they are more likely to relate to others' opinions about the brand as they seem more 'real' than direct marketing messages.
"Social media is a valuable marketing tool and addition to the marketing mix if used correctly, and don't forget that many mobile phones today have powerful interactivity and will be linked to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in," concluded Scott. "Take advantage of this by developing a downloadable application, which can be done on a relatively low budget and connects you directly with the consumer. And an app needs to add value for the consumer, including useful information and updates that will make life easier and cement their relationship with the brand."