by Kenneth Rudich
Social media marketing has ushered in a great opportunity for getting to know your customers and prospects better.
The advantage it affords over earlier segmentation practices like demographics, sociographics, or firmographics is that it offers a unique glimpse into what drives people’s behaviors and decisions, what they’re thinking, how they view the world. It can mean the difference between groping for something substantial, and being given something substantial.
What makes social media substantial by comparison is the organic nature of it. Unlike surveys or focus groups, where the responses assume a bias based on the instrument used, social media operates differently. There is no instrument, just a platform – and it fades into the background while the interaction moves to the foreground. It invites impromptu honesty and healthy expression.
use social media for intelligence gathering
In this environment, marketers are well advised to sit back and listen often. Though you may need to occasionally stir the pot to keep it productive, less intervention is better than more.
It’s similar to comparing an organic garden with one where chemicals are used. Though both need seeding and watering, one gardener will stop there while the other steps over that line. Where one yields potentially tainted food, the other produces it chemical-free. Social media can be like that. If you want it the equivalent of chemical-free, just add some occasional nourishment as needed and nothing else. Leave it alone after that. Let it grow by itself.
Become an artful eavesdropper if you can. By listening, you’ll learn about your customers’ and prospects’ hobbies, interests, dreams, worries, and pursuits. Said another way, you’ll become better acquainted with them. And then you can leverage that information by incorporating it into the marketing of your products and services.
Speaking of eavesdropping, don’t limit yourself to just listening within the confines of your own social media initiative. Get out in the virtual world. Travel around. Be nosey. See what others are doing and saying, whether it’s at a competitor’s site or simply another one that can provide a dose of inspiration for yours. Be inquisitive and ask yourself (to yourself), are they doing something you’re not and should be? Is there a way to better differentiate what you’re doing based on what they’re doing? Are they inadvertently handing out clues about their marketing strategy that you can use while developing yours?
social media-based segmentation
The last video post, “Cultivating Customers with Social Media,” encourages the use of socially-oriented themes within your social media initiative. Assembling the right collection of themes can expand your social circle and keep it growing. These socially-oriented themes provide yet another avenue for segmenting the market in ways that will be meaningful to your customers.