If you are using social media, you need to think about the target audiences you want to connect with. You probably think you already know who these people are. It’s the same ones you’ve been targeting for years right? Not necessarily, as Gemma Went explains
It’s well worth spending time thinking about who you need to connect and engage with on social media. It’s about seeing past the obvious. Who is interested in your product or service? Is there anything unique that could appeal to a certain audience?
Then think about the next level, who those people might be associated with. Word of mouth is a powerful thing and it’s rife amongst social media folk, so connecting with those that are connected to your target audiences can be worthwhile.
Then think about who these people are, which industries they work in, what they like, what they read, what motivates them, age ranges, personality traits, where they hang out, technical know-how, how likely they are to use social media. Really do your research and segment your audiences by creating profiles for them. You may uncover some less obvious people that could be great for you. Keep a record of this, a simple spreadsheet will do, and as your experience of using social media grows, review and update, adding others as necessary.
Also identify your key influencers. These could be people that stand out within your communities, people that others listen to, people that create action (not necessarily those people with thousands of Twitter followers). They could be peers, journalists, thought leaders or other stakeholders. People with game-changing opinion and ideas. People who challenge the norm. Or simply people that talk sense.
The types of audiences you could be looking for include:
If you don’t know who these people are, make the most of the various free monitoring tools to track who is talking about the keywords associated with your business: such as Google Analytics, Social Mention, Delicious, Addict-o-matic and Board Reader. This should highlight who has a voice in these subject areas.
Once you’ve profiled the people you want to connect with, you need to find them. This is an on-going process and takes a little time to begin with. This will give you a good idea of which social platforms you should have a presence on, so keep your mind open to niche sites as well as the big guns.
As for finding people, there are a bunch of tools you can use to help you find them on the main social networks:
You can’t simply choose to connect with people on LinkedIn as you can with Twitter. They need to give their approval (which I’m a fan of), so if they’re connected to you through someone you’re connected to, request to be introduced to them.
As I mentioned, this can take a little time, particularly when you first start using social media, but it’s worth the effort. It’s not a ‘one time’ job either, set a reminder to review your connections on each profile every month or so to keep it fresh and to ensure you’re not missing anyone crucial to your business.
Gemma Went is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and is the founder and director of Red Cube Marketing.
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