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Knowing and targeting your social media audience
Everyone hates spam (the electronic kind, not the lunch meat). If there’s one thing in this world that reminds us we are just one fish in a sea of millions of other demographically similar fishes, it’s spam, a terribly impersonal form of outreach.
Social media done right should create a personal connection between your brand and your brand users or “followers” as they are more commonly known in the world of social media. So, how do you target and reach out to your audience, a sea of unknown fish, without becoming another piece of spam they want to weed out?
The key to not spamming your target audience (sending out mass messages devoid of personalization) is simple—know who you want to reach and build a relationship with them. It’s about quality, not quantity.
This requires a good amount of research. A good agency will work with their client to understand their social media goals, including target audience. It’s the responsibility of the agency to take that demographic information and convert it into real people and organizations existing on social media channels.
Agencies use a variety of resources at their disposal to achieve a detailed list of who’s who on social media and reach out to each on an individual and group level when your company announces pertinent news—such as a press release or a blog post that may be relevant to certain members on the list.
In “Is Social Media a Waste of Time?,” a recent article published on Forbes.com, contributor Robert Wynne makes the claim that social media outreach cannot compete with traditional PR outreach when it comes to influence. Of social media he says, “Good luck finding the right 100 influencers. You can be one of 30,000 followers in social media vying for their attention, or you jump to the front of the line with an influential story in the media.”
While public relations is best served to establish credibility, social media can be used to target and successfully reach a large number of influencers, if done right.
Here are some tips for outreach that could prove useful:
Keep your social media pages active.
Each post carries the possibility of attracting a different set of eyes, so post often!
Reach out directly.
It’s not enough to just post and hope someone will see. If a targeted influencer has a professional twitter account, reach out to them directly and introduce yourself. Tell them about the company and why you’ve chosen to reach out to them. Perhaps you have a blog post that you think their followers may be interested in? Let them know about it!
Don’t make it all about you.
If you want others to act on your behalf, you need to offer an incentive. This could be information about a webinar or case study, or the inside scope from a relevant press release—don’t make it all about what your influencers can do for you, make it worth their while.
Update your lists.
A targeted influencer today may not be an influencer tomorrow if a job change or change in social media personality (types of posts, degree of influence) no longer makes them a viable candidate for outreach. Continually adding to your list and refreshing influencer research prior to outreach will help prevent mistakes in targeting and ensure you have a large list of contacts to utilize and introduce yourself to.
There’s a lot of good that can come from targeting the right influencers and making sure they are clued into what your company is doing on social media. While ROI isn’t a guaranteed offshoot of social media activity, it can occur if your social media specialists are putting in the time to do research and strategically leveraging your best advocates and influencers at the right times.
Photo credit: ganderssen1