Although Robert Frost found that taking the road less traveled made all the difference, your social media marketing campaign should help everybody find that road and it should lead directly to you. Any good marketing campaign defines points of entry and channels of acquisition, and your social media campaign should be no less complicated.
Often times, social media is seen as a “free” marketing tool and therefore not worth much attention or time. But a good social media marketing campaign can be just as complex as any other marketing initiative and requires just as much attention, if your brand desires to get any ROI out of your “free” investment. But more than that, laying out your social media blueprint requires an understanding of what drives potential customers to your social profiles and how to help nudge them into becoming repeat customers.
Profile Your Ideal Customer
First of all, you can’t effectively market to an incorporeal customer. So instead of trying to be all things to all people, sit down and figure out what your ideal customer looks like.
- What is their age group and gender? (Does gender matter at all?)
- Where do they work?
- Do they have children?
- How much money do they bring in annually?
- What’s their education?
- What do they do in their free time?
Questions like these and similar others will help you flesh out who your ideal customer is and help you create a better social media marketing blueprint. A blueprint that clearly defines an ideal customer will most effectively reach your ideal customer and persuade them follow your social media profiles.
Where’s The Cool Hangout?
Once you know who your ideal customer is, ask yourself where they hang out online. Just about everyone has a Facebook profile these days, but Facebook might not be the best place to reach your optimal audience. Go deeper than the obvious places. Do they use Quora, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Tumbler? Are there certain blogs and discussion boards that your customer is most likely to frequent? When you can find out where your best customers hang out online, you can then start to define your social media entry points.
What Do They Want?
If you have your ideal customer in mind, what do they want? And not just from you, but in general—what do they want in their life?
- Do they want to save money?
- Do they want to improve their skills?
- Do they want advice?
- Are they worried about particular political views?
Questions like these and more will help you understand what they want from social interaction in general as well as from interaction with your brand in specific. For example, if your ideal customer is an advanced software programmer, they probably don’t want entry-level tutorials about how to manage their email. Insights like these will help you better tailor your message and your strategy for converting potential customers into repeat customers.
Giving Them What They Want
Social media is great because it allows brands to target customers in highly specialized ways. It allows brands the freedom to become resource hubs for their customers and followers in ways that was never possible before.
For example, let’s say you own a software company that helps children learn better, and your ideal customers are mothers of children with learning disabilities. What does your ideal customer want? They want help, yes. But more than that, they probably want to express their opinions and frustrations. They probably want to connect with other parents who are in the same situation. And they probably want updates about the latest news and therapies for children with learning disabilities—and not necessarily from your company. Through social media, you can give them links to important information around the web. You can ask questions that encourage emotional expression and in turn provide them with more resources. You can even create discussion groups where parents can connect with one another.
If you can create a resource hub for your ideal customers, not only will they be getting the information and emotional validation they need, but they will begin to trust your brand, giving you greater authority on the web.
Don’t Be Big Brother
All that being said, don’t be a Big Brother. Just because you have control over the design and content of your social media campaign doesn’t mean that you should delete negative comments, restrict movement within your website, or control your follower’s actions in heavy-handed ways. First of all, that’s creepy. And second of all, your followers will catch on and stop participating in your community.