In today’s always-connected digital age, understanding your audience is the best way to make courageous social media marketing choices for your personal and business brands. The social media landscape and platforms are changing all the time and with new platforms emerging and others evolving, it is important to think before you jump. Sometimes that means putting aside personal preferences and focusing on what your audience needs from you and where they are spending their time online. In this post we’lll explore the value of getting to know your audience and making your marketing choices based on their needs, not your own. A recent example of this in practice is answering the question, “Should I leave X (formerly Twitter)?”
Know Your Audience
Before jumping straight to leaving (or joining) a specific platform, you need to step back and remember why you are there for your audience. The goals you set for your business or personal brand were likely to connect with a certain audience group. If you went through the process of researching that audience group, you likely chose your platforms to communicate with them where they spend time. At one time you likely knew their interests, demographics, communication preferences, behaviors, etc. Just as the platforms change, so do the above traits of your ideal audience. It is helpful to reevaluate your audience on a regular basis to understand if and how those traits have changed.
Meet Your Audience Where They Are
Each social media platform attempts to cater to a different and likely diverse user base. Your audience may be drawn to one platform over another due to unique offerings or formats. (Yes. I realize that many of the platforms are offering similar formats and features, but if you look deep you will see trends). It can be helpful to delve into platform statistics or even conduct your own surveys to find out where your audience is spending time and what type of content they enjoy consuming or engaging with most frequently. In doing this research, you might also identify trends of like-minded individuals utilizing similar platforms. For example, many people in job search or looking for talent will default to LinkedIn. If those are the audience groups you are attempting to reach but you aren’t present on LinkedIn you are making it more difficult for them to find you.
Business (Goals) Perspective
As humans, we often want to make decisions based on our personal preferences. This is absolutely acceptable if you are making these decisions about your own personal brand and how you want to engage with social media. However, those preferences should not be the driving force behind decisions that affect a brand account. When we look at the business objectives we need to understand the value of aligning with our audience preference. This will help us increase revenue and customer loyalty. Brands that actively engage with their audience on the right platforms are more likely to succeed in a highly competitive digital market.
Understanding your audience and meeting them where they are is vital to any successful online presence. Choosing to say goodbye to a given social media platform should be done only when it is determined that your audience no longer wishes to engage with you there. The next time you are asked if you should leave (or join) X (or another platform of the moment), ask them why they think you should. Then take the time to do a little research and find out if your audience preferences have changed before you pull the plug. If it is time to pull the plug, learn the best ways to sunset a social media account.
Author: Jennifer Radke
Jennifer Radke, CEO of NISM, is a dedicated, passionate, and strategic business leader with 15+ years in sales and recruitment management, leadership, coaching, development, and training. Most recently, she was the owner and chief strategist at Socially Inspired, a social media training and consulting company. In addition, she is an NISM-certified Social Media Strategist (SMS), serves on the board for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota, and can be found speaking and presenting to job seekers and businesses alike, on how to better utilize social media in the workplace. Jennifer believes that lifelong learning is the key to continued growth and that your networks are the best way to expose yourself to new opportunities.