Monday, April 2, 2012

Online and Social Media Rule #1: Know your audience!

As companies and brands integrate and use more social media and digital as part of their marketing mix, all of us need to always make sure that we stay user focused (consumer or customer based on your business). We need to ensure that we do not get distracted, and chase, the hot and sexy new tools and toys at the expense of what our target needs and is doing.

We need to have good insights and understanding of what our target is doing, consuming online and what they want to do and needs.

Sounds obvious? It is. But it struck me, as I attend more industry events and read more blogs and business sites, that the focus tends to be on what you as a company or brand can do online and with social media - and not on the user.

I was very interested then in a presentation by Global Web Index at the Social Media Conference at London Olympia, that focused on the user and had some key points to make about this topic. They collect ongoing vast amounts of online usage across the world, and draw insights and conclusions about trends.

For me the following were some key issues and my thoughts on the implications for marketers, but I think I can boil them down into 2 simple ones:

  • #1: Every consumer experience when they use social media, like Facebook and Twitter, is DIFFERENT. This is because it is driven by their interests, who they are friends with or follow, what pages they have liked and so on. Unlike other media, where the experience is set and fairly generic, everyone has a different experience. To be noticed and seen, you need to understand this - and ensure you are part of that experience by having them engage and follow/ like your brand or company.
  • #2: Beware the hype and buzz, and understand what your specific target is using - and make sure you doing that! For example, there is a lot of noise about Twitter - but actually only 22% of people online actually use it. Therefore you need to understand where and what they are doing and tailor what you do as a brand towards these. For example, the main activities that people are doing online, of all ages are:

    • Watching videos (by far the biggest activity) - about 70%
    • Reading or posting product reviews - about 53%
    • Managing their social network profile - about 51%
    • Uploading and sharing photos - about 50% (Hence also likely why Pinterest has caught people's imagination so fast!)

So as a brand, you need to think about how you can be part of your target consumer experience in social media and online. They are going to need to "opt-you-in" versus your ability to force your way in, as you can with TV ads, posters or Print ads. They decide if you appear in their news or Twitter feed. 

But it is also more likely that your consumer is watching videos, reading and posting reviews and uploading and sharing photos in some way. Are you as a brand ensuring you are part of that experience?

Here is the full presentation by Global Web Index with lots of data:

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