The following is the first installment in a four-part series on the Guide to Smarter Social Engagement, where you will learn necessary preparations for smart engagement with your audience, tools to employ, as well as best practices for optimal results. In the first installment, learn to identify your audience, what they expect from brands and their habits.
There are several elements that comprise a total audience picture that are all essential in achieving smart social engagement. Enterprises must move beyond just audience listening, and should incorporate a thorough understanding and identification of their audience in order to effectively communicate with users and customers.
How a brand interacts with its audience holds as much importance as knowing who they are and what they feel about the brand, as is where the communication takes place. Once a brand accumulates audience insight, it’s time to apply the information in an effective and efficient social manner.
IDENTIFY: WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
It’s not enough anymore to simply gather demographics on your audience; we are now in need of more detail, of psychographics. “Psychographics means interests, affinities, proclivities, biases, sexuality, occupation, education, intentions, politics, health, and thousands of other attributes, [like how many children someone has and what their age groups are]. Targeting is explicit. Also, the ability to add in layers of financial qualification is critical. There’s no reason to market to users who won’t be able to afford your product or services,” reveals Founder and Evangelist of aimClear, Marty Weintraub.
Collecting psychographic data is time-consuming, but worth every effort. Although some social media management software can help the psychographic data collection process begin, and it can also give you lots of insight into how people live, majority of collecting this data is manual and requires time.
For years, marketers have traditionally segmented their markets by generation, and products and services were mass marketed, hoping to convince most buyers that they related to it somehow. Today’s consumer has evolved, is informed, vocal, and expects social engagement with brands of choice. They also group themselves in much smaller entities within each generation. There are so many “types” of consumers, that gathering psychographic data is really the best way to define and segment your audience to be sure you are reaching the right people for the right reasons.
One small example of collecting psychographics is sentiment analysis. Knowing how your followers feel about your product or service is the reason they purchased it to begin with. Armed with this information, enterprises can much better understand the “why” as well as the “who” behind the purchase.
Audience segmentation is vital to big brands; identifying and segmenting an audience by the interests with their highest affinity, brands can better understand their needs and how to meet them. Not all people have the same needs, and if they do, they are met in different ways.
CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, reveals in State of the American Consumer that, “Companies that engage both their employees and their customers gain a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes. These companies understand the essential role of human nature in driving performance, especially in those critical moments when engaged employees and engaged customers interact.”
A large part of knowing your audience is also identifying and engaging with influencers. These consumers are highly active on social media and have a significant, engaged following. They are authentic in their views, and respected and looked to by a select audience for guidance on products, services and more. The right influencer is aligned with your brand, has a strong following and can subtly promote it to their network. Since it’s a peer-to-peer relationship, these influencers are trusted and can be better at selling products or services than a brand itself.
“With the emergence of this new type of marketing, technology is being developed to improve the effect and reach of influencers. Existing influencer platforms are becoming more sophisticated in matching brands to influencers,” says Marcos Vicente Blanco of Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. As brands turn their focus and budgets to this field, so too do the technology developers who seek to tap into advertising budgets.
Contrary to influencers, the brand detractor must also be clearly understood in order for brands to manage effective and smart engagement in a public arena.
BJ Bueno, founder and managing partner of The Cult Branding Company makes a valid point. He said, “It’s certainly true that bad word of mouth tends to catch fire faster than good word of mouth. There’s a human explanation: When we lose, it feels bad. But when we win, we get double the good feelings. People who have lost something, like maybe an argument with you, feel good when they talk bad about you. It has been shown that people get a sense of esteem and a lot of social capital when they’re the first to pass on information, and that’s the trouble. People who have had a negative experience will do everything in their power to hijack your brand.”
Bueno advises not to engage adversely, and instead listen to the detractor’s point for any validity. If there is some legitimacy to what they say, it’s something that can be solved internally – not publically. Some social media experts believe detractors merit engagement – strategic engagement. In a Forrester study on Dos and Don’ts for Dealing With Detractors, its authors feel that the validity of the complaint should be looked at, and then managers can evaluate the best way to engage with them. Basic customer service values and strong customer care tactics may actually make a detractor into an influencer.
In the next installment of the Guide to Smarter Social Media Engagement, learn about social listening, planning and smart engagement tactics or, download the ebook below to read it in its entirety.