Tag Archives: targeting

Identifying And Growing Your Target Social Media Audience

One of the biggest mistakes made in social media marketing is building the wrong communities. What we mean by that is that many brands and marketers build followings of their peers, competitors or incorrect prospects, rather than their target audience. Subsequently, the time spent on social networks engaging, creating and posting content doesn’t achieve the level of desired results that they had hoped.

Why is the proper targeting and growing of your social community so important?

Our experience tells us that any marketing that is being executed, no matter how skillful, creative or unique is always limited by improper targeted of audience. For example, if your intended audience is nurses, yet you attract, connect with, follow and engage with mostly healthcare vendors like yourself, your results will be minimal. Furthermore, if your company is a restaurant in Chicago and you send direct mail advertisements to homes in Boston, do you think your marketing resources will achieve a return?

Social media marketing is very similar from the audience targeting metrics of other marketing mediums in that you need to know specifically who you are trying to reach. By specifically, we mean you need to be able to clearly outline all facets of your prospective social connects three ways:

Geographically – Specific location or locations, including city, state, region, county or country.

Demographically –  Things like gender, age, ethnicity, language, home ownership, employment status, etc.

Psychographically – Personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles

If you do not specifically know who you need to connect with and/or know but are connecting and engaging with others instead, your social media results will suffer greatly. Therefore it is important that the community you build is made up of the of people you need to reach for the product/service you are marketing.

It makes doesn’t it? Please tell me it does… If in fact it does make sense, why do so many do the exact opposite of these things in their social media efforts? The answer is, it is not easy and being humans we often take the path of least resistance, to our own detriment.

Identifying and Growing Your Social Community

Let’s attempt to change the difficulty factor of growing a targeted community through knowledge.

1) Identifying Your Target Audience – The first and most important step to growing a targeted community is to define it clearly. As we stated above, you really need to know who you are trying to reach, where they are located and what interests them. Since we know effective social media marketing is not about you, but rather your audience, then nailing the details of who you need to reach is imperative!

Be very specific about the location(s), demographics and interests of your intended audience. The more specific you are in defining who you want to reach, the more effective you can be. Though geographic and demographic can often be easily determined with experience, psychographic interests can sometimes stump even the most experienced marketer.

There are two tricks to help you identify the more vague psychographic targeting. They are;

  • Competition: One way to determine more about your prospective target audience is to watch your peers and competitors social accounts. Watch for the non-business related topics and interests that drive your prospects to engage, like and share. Taking this further, look at the personal profiles of your prospective customers and take note of the topics that thread through everything they engage with online. The list that results from investigating several prospective customers and competitors social accounts will result in identifying 4-8 key interests or topics that drive your audience.

and

  • Existing Customers: Speak with existing customers and known prospects about their interests on and offline. Discover that drives them in their life. Those are the topics you want to share content on and use to find your target audience.

2) Growing Your Target Audience – There are two distinct ways that marketers should be actively growing their target audience. Attracting new connections and proactively connecting. Having a community that is constantly growing with new connections, while engaged with conversations and relationship building is crucial for numerous reasons and should be a strategic part of any social media marketing program.

Let’s define these two community growth elements.

  • Attracting – If you desire to have organic growth within your social community, ensuring that you are attracting the right connections is imperative. To do this effectively, you will want to be sure you know who you are trying to reach and what topics drive their activity on social media (as we discussed above). Using this information and the other research we suggested, you will want to tailor your content curation, creation and hashtagging to these interests. Be sure that the content you are sharing and the hashtags you are using to attract your following is correctly focused on your prospects needs and interests, not that of your company, peers or competitors.

and

  • Proactive – Supplementing your attraction growth should be an extremely consistent and highly targeted execution of proactive connecting. If you know who you are trying to reach and have defined this very clearly, social media profile searches, viewing friends of your connections as well as connecting with your competition’s following is extremely effective.

At the end of the day, you must be providing value to your community, engaging in conversations and building relationships if your social media marketing efforts are going to see real results. If your strategy is on point, being executed properly and conversations are a daily part of your process, adding audience growth and targeting methods into the mix will add substantial results to your bottom line.

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Filed under Audience, Brand, Community, connection, Content, content creation, Curation, Hashtag, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

The Significant Difference Between Autopilot and Marketing Automation

This last week we had a BundlePost user state that they wanted their social media marketing on “autopilot” and thought that’s what we did or advocated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing automation and the term autopilot have no relation to one another in social media marketing. One is a carefully thought out and actively managed strategic component of an effective social media program, the other is liken to a drone with no pilot, mission or results.

social media marketing on autopilotIn the commercial aviation industry, millions of dollars are poured into the avionics and systems that keep aircraft in the air, comfortable for passengers and controllable by highly trained pilots. These systems are all integrated together to make the function we all know and understand as autopilot, possible. But what we never see is a plane placed on autopilot, without an experienced captain monitoring all aspects of the controls.

Pilots would never put their plane on autopilot, leave their seat and subsequently allow the plane to cruise unattended. Not only is that illegal and against all common sense and regulations, but it’s incredibly foolish and would be an accident going someplace to happen. On the contrary, there are two pilots in every commercial cockpit even though autopilot capabilities are on board. Both professional pilots are present, strapped in their seats and always ready and able to respond to any circumstance that arises.

Autopilot was never developed or designed to fly an airplane unattended, nor was it ever meant to be used as something to replace an experienced pilot. Advanced technology is designed to help efficiently manage some mundane human tasks, freeing up the pilots to ensure a smooth flight and potential problems or opportunities.

Let’s put some clarity to the differences between these two distinctly different marketing approaches as it relates to social media marketing. We will give six examples of each and provide a little detail as we go.

Social Media “Autopilot” Tactics –

Social media success does not appear by accident, or via automation, rather it can only be achieved through consistently executing proper strategy, activities and human interaction.

Accepted social marketing tactics do NOT include the following activity, tools or automation:

1) Auto-posting content from any source – This is not strategic, safe or effective.

2) Auto-tagging and posting messages – This includes things like newspaper posts that tag people you’ve automatically displayed on your Rebel Mouse or other newspaper pages, “top influencers tag messages” or any other similar tools or systems that auto-post to your pages, profiles or timelines. They are clearly automated, provide ZERO value to anyone (including yourself) and most people know this.

3) Automated Timeline or Direct Messages – We all know these are automated and not sincere as a result. We ignore not only the message you have automated, but we will likely ignore you hence forth.

4) Automated Retweet applications – Some of the newest horrid autopilot technology is the automated RT app. This little gem lets you select specific people/accounts and it will automatically RT their tweets at specific intervals. This is like an accident going somewhere to happen. It’s not effective, don’t do it.

5) Automated Pitch Tagging – We just connected (or have no relationship) and your autopilot solution tags me to pitch your link, blog, website, product or service. Have you ever wondered why email spam is now illegal? You’re doing the equivalent on social media and your brand and results will reflect it if you don’t stop. In fact many (including myself) report accounts that do such spamming, every time it happens. Wonder why your account gets suspended? Now you know.

6) Automated Engagement Posting – Imagine going to a networking event and when you introduce someone to somebody else, or tell someone about another persons book or product, the person you were referring to, took out their smart phone and played a recorded message. Or better yet, imagine that you were having a conversation with someone and a person or brand you’ve never heard of, jumped in to the conversation to tell you about their product all because he overheard you mention the word “fruit”.

Whatever you would do in real life, you should do in social media. Whatever you would never do at a networking event or walking down the street, don’t do in social. It’s not more complicated than that. Autopilot does not get real results in social media and will damage your reputation.

Consider this: If you and thousands of others are using such autopilot tactics in their social media marketing and hundreds, if not thousands are connected the same people, your autopilot tagging and posting are also appearing to the same person. What do you think the impression of your brand, product or service is when your automation is just like everyone else’s automation and being seen by the same person? I can tell you. You just became a brand or person they will not be doing business with.

“If your social media isn’t getting results you need less automation, more human & the right tools” ~@fondalo

Social Media Marketing Automation –

If you expect to get results there are a few social marketing automation functions that you need to be doing. Liken these activities as the aviation autopilot explanation we discussed earlier. You, the pilot are always there in the seat, but the plane’s autopilot can be running these functions for you.

1) Landing Page, Lead Capture, Email Drip Campaign – If you are using social media for marketing and do not have a clear marketing automation path for your prospects, you are undoubtedly not achieving the results you should/could be. Understanding your prospects click-through, registration and sign-up/order flow is extremely important and requires sales automation to be most effective.

2) Content Curation Scheduling – You must have enough relevant, valuable content in your social streams every day. It’s part and parcel effective social media. I am not referring to Retweeting or sharing other people’s curated content, but discovering and posting content that resonates with your audience. Though you should sometimes RT and share, you need to build thought leadership around the topics that drive your audience, and that requires you to aggregate and curate content they want. Scheduling these posts is a requirement, unless you have unlimited time and aren’t going to do the things that actually get results, like having conversations and building relationships. (I am being very sarcastic here. You must engage with your community if you expect results) You can either spend time posting content, or engaging and driving ROI from your efforts. Content curation scheduling is imperative!

3) Community Growth Targeting – Using tools that will help you identify your target audience and connecting with them enables you to grow your community and leverage the Social Media Connection Cycle. Finding and connecting with your customers and prospects across the social graph is extremely important. Doing it manually is cumbersome and extremely inefficient.

4) New and Evergreen Content Scheduling – When you create content in the form of blog posts and articles, you need to share that to your streams so your audience is aware. Posting it once is pointless, so you need to strategically schedule new and evergreen content multiple times when it is created as well as on an ongoing basis.

5) Scheduled Marketing Messages – If you have knowledge of something you will be doing on a specific day/time, scheduling your status update about it ahead of time makes perfect sense. Periodically scheduling marketing messages about what you do, that link to your landing pages (without tagging anyone) is appropriate and efficient. If you have done your other social strategy and activities effectively, you will earn the right to do so and people will read, click and share them.

6) Scheduled Graphics – If you are creating and posting graphics and photos to various social sites, you will want to ensure that you’re being consistent and frequent. You can’t be at your desk all the time and you shouldn’t be spending desk time doing such manual tasks. Scheduling this kind of content to your various social accounts is efficient and appropriate.

Wrap Up

There is a massive difference between social media marketing automation and autopilot. You need to know the difference and stop sheepishly replicating the activity other people are doing, when most of them are as broke and ineffective with their social media results as you are. Stop being part of the blind leading the blind and start understanding social media for what it is, not how the popular majority are using it (unsuccessfully). If you’re going to replicate what someone else is doing, you had better be darn sure that it is actually effective on the dollar and cents level and more importantly isn’t hurting your results instead of improving them.

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Filed under Audience, automation, Blog, Brand, BundlePost, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Smart Phone, Social Aggregation, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

Reality Check: Daily Required Social Media Marketing Activity

I am frequently seeing articles explaining how to do social media marketing in 30 minutes or an hour each day and decided it was time to deliver a reality check. Unless you are a social media “guru”, “author”, “celebrity” or #fauxpert that has never done social media marketing outside of self promotion and has a huge social following, it’s time for a reality check. Any expectation that real results, revenue and return on investment for any SMB or marketer will be achieved by following such advice is foolish thinking.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but effective social media marketing is a detailed combination of technology integration, creativity and a whole lot of activity 24/7. It’s not working when you want, getting weekends off and forgetting to check your feeds, mentions and conversations for days at a time. We call that kind of activity and dedication social networking, not social media.

That’s great if you are an enthusiast that is not using social media channels for marketing, but then again I don’t write for enthusiasts. My articles are always focused on the average brand, SMB, individual marketer and social media agencies. It’s what I know and do, not a hobby or a subject matter I have become known for and use to generate book sales, speaking gigs or ad revenue from blog traffic.

Our goal is to change the message of the industry that is dominated by the folks outlined in the above paragraph into that of real effective use of social media by people who have and actually do it. It’s one thing to consult Starbucks or most other major brands on social media because you sold a ton of books about the subject. It’s another thing to actually create and execute a strategy for the majority that make up social media marketers like small and medium brands or individual marketers and get results. Heck, my 14-year-old daughter could consult Starbucks or most other major brands on their social media marketing. They do it wrong and don’t have to do it right. They have billions in media and marketing dollars that drive their brand on and offline.

While articles that tell you that you can get results with minimal time and effort in social media are incredibly appealing to the masses, I am hear to tell you that it takes work.

*Note – Social media agencies, consultants and coaches – keep reading. There are some reality checks for you as well. :-)

In an effort to both deliver a reality check as well as a real guide of activity, following is a list of SOME daily activities that are required to get results with any social media marketing program.

1) Content Posting: Every day you need to have relevant valuable content for your audience in your stream. Content that gets them to engage, like, comment and share. Not just posts about you or what you do, but information, news and articles your audience will find relevant.

How much content? Here is a basic list of posts per day on a few of the networks you are likely working with:

Twitter – 15-20
Facebook Personal – 4-8
Facebook Page – 3-6
LinkedIn Personal – 5-10
Groups – 1-4
G+ Personal – 10-15
G+ Brand Page – 2-5

Every industry, audience and brand is different, but this will give you a sense of some minimum levels that are required.

2) Content Creation: Like it or not, you have to not only share content relevant to your audience, you also have to create your own content. Blog posts, videos, images, infographics, etc. You can’t lead in an industry where you are not contributing to its message in new ways. This is not an occasional required activity, it’s every single week.

3) YOUR Content Posting: Once you have created content, you need to post it. The good news is that the more content you have created the more content you have available to post daily. I believe content you have created and posts that are about you and what you do should make up about 20% of what you post every day.

4) Content Sharing: Part of social media marketing is sharing other people’s social posts that you and your audience may find interesting and valuable. This serves two purposes;

  1. It delivers additional value to your audience beyond what you found and posted.
  2. It lets others know that you appreciate what they post and wanted to pass it along.

5) Real and Real-Time Posting: These posts are above posting and sharing content and are just about being real, human and approachable. These are often just text and consist of what you are thinking, the weather, where you are and what you are doing. Don’t forget that people connect with people in social media. Don’t be a logo or a robot. Nobody can like or build a relationship with either of those.

6) Community Growth: Every day you need to be growing your community of fans, followers and friends that are your target audience. If you build it they will come doesn’t work in social media. Though doing the above 5 activities every day will help you consistently grow your community, if you are using social media for marketing, that community size needs to increase. Therefore every day you need to be searching and finding your target audience on all of the social networks and connecting with them. Don’t wait for them to find you.

7) Community Outreach: Within your community you need to continually reach out and engage. That is no different from being at a live networking event. You start conversations and get to know them. You share their content and information with others and build a relationship. This must be done daily to be effective with social media marketing.

8) Response/Engage: The opposite of outreach is responding. When someone likes, shares, comments on your posts, acknowledge them, thank them and star a conversation. If someone mentions you in social media, respond.

I have a lot to say about this section, but in order to keep it a blog post and not an article I will say that timing matters. When someone mentions you or comments, they are there, online, right now. Waiting hours or days is missed opportunity and will never see any real results.

9) Follow Backs: When someone follows you on Twitter, Circles you on Google Plus or Friends you on Facebook or Linkedin, you need determine whether you want to reciprocate or accept. I recommend that this is done every single day. We do it twice per day ourselves.

*Tip – if you’re using social media for marketing, follow, friend and connect with those that are your target audience. If you are a restaurant in Tennessee, friending or following someone in the UK doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

10) Data/Statistics: You need to know what is working and what isn’t. Paying attention to your statistics, results, analytics and data on a daily basis is required. Knowing this information enables you to adjust the what’s and when’s of what you are doing and set realistic goals and targets. Not knowing means you are not getting anywhere.

11) Planning/Strategy: Every day you need to be planning and adjusting your strategy. Using what you learn to improve results in social media marketing is no different from anything else in business. Test, measure and adjust… DAILY.

More Reality Checks for Marketers:

So if you think that real, effective social media marketing can actually be accomplished in 30 minutes or an hour per day, I invite you to think again. This is why there are so many social media agencies out there and more popping up every single day. Not too many people have the time, knowledge and ability to execute all of these thins on a daily basis. If you can’t either or are not getting results, I suggest you speak with a qualified social media professional agency as well.

*If you are paying $99/mo for “social media” from some online company, you’re being robbed. It takes far too much time, tools and activities to really do social media marketing right that results in real business.

More Reality Checks for Social Media Agencies:

If your agency is teaching social media marketing instead of doing it, before taking some unsuspecting persons money, be sure they understand what it really takes. Stop taking money from people to teach them things they will never have the time, skill or experience to execute well. Anyway you slice it, it’s stealing…

*As a consultant or agency that teaches social media, the person you teach is rarely the CEO that paid for you. Be aware that the admin, intern or junior employee you train, will soon be in love with social media marketing just like you and will be starting their own agency when their employer pulls the plug. Stop creating competitors for yourself every six months, while making pennies for doing it. Do the hard work for clients and get them real results by delivering effective social media management that has value and recurring revenue.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more required in social media marketing like strategy, targeting, social selling, conversations and more. But true to form, I am not here to condemn or be hurtful. My only goal here is to increase the effectiveness of social media marketing in general and change the message to real results, not scores, followers, likes or speakers. Go do this!

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Filed under Agency, Blog, Community, Engagement, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Google Plus, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter