Every entity, whether a company or an individual, typically gathers a community when establishing an online presence. This kinship may already be established, or it can be the resultant outgrowth of activities conducted during the completion of tasks undertaken on the Web. Such groups are not automatically supportive, and like all living things entail nurturing and sustenance for growth, so that they in turn can progress into beneficial societal circles that are able to offer the same value in return.
For firms seeking to avail themselves of the advantages of a virtual presence, suitable social media selection is a preliminary step in the development of an accommodating online community that is capable of loyalty and compassion, one sympathetic to the desired goals determined in the planned marketing activities. But with so many channels available, choosing appropriate social media evolves into a Herculean task, and it’s easy to become stalled in an overwhelming quagmire of indecision.
In the 1960’s, there were two widely available choices of mustard, French’s and Heinz, with little differentiation between the brands. Both were recognizably yellow, and well adapted to mainstream American tastes. By the next decade, another couple of products were available to consumers – Guilden’s Spicy Brown, a coarsely ground variety, and Grey Poupon, the first Dijon mustard to appear on US grocery shelves. It was an idyllic time for shoppers, with enough variety to please palates and pocketbooks. But the halcyon days were not to last, for in the eighties there was a prodigious plethora of mustards from which to choose. Entire aisles were devoted to mustard, and buyers were in turmoil – which is best, what product offers the bigger, better deal? Welcome to the mustard paradox, making it difficult to choose with an ever-increasing miscellany of mustard products.
The same has turned out to be true of social media. How does a business select the most effective communication channels with so many available? Too many and the resources are stretched, the messaging diluted and tending toward repetitive. Not enough and run the risk of failing to capture valuable eyeballs. Like Goldilocks, firms need to find the ones that are just right. Doing so will require research and investigation, targeting the preferred customers with as much precision as can be, well, mustered.
It therefore becomes helpful to know your customer intimately. Development of a customer persona, in which a consumer is described in detail with name, occupation, gender and other relevant demographics, is a starting point. Once completed, finding where this idealized buyer is spending their time online becomes the focus. If they are more visual, sites such as YouTube and Pinterest will be the emphasis of the social media marketing campaign. Professionals tend to tweet and network on LinkedIn. Families and friends find fellowship on Facebook, and millennials are insistent on Instagram. Almost everyone has a favored social networking site, and concentrating the marketing message to this core nucleus will offer the greatest chance of that message being received.
Knowledge of where model consumers for the products and services being marketed congregate on the Web poses best practice for companies. Finding these social media channels requires research and a comprehension of the customer archetype. Overwhelming choices of communication channels can be overcome.
How do you select optimal social media? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And join us again next week on Grannelle!