Connecting With Your Audiences Through Social Media

As hard as it may be to believe, not everybody is engaged in social media these days. And, even those who have profiles established on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter may not be active participants and, importantly, may not be seeing your communications, regardless of how frequently you post or how brilliant your insights are.

In my work as a marketing communication consultant I work with clients regularly to assess and improve their communications, including online communications. The first area of discussion in helping them to develop an effective communication strategy is who are they trying to reach and are those individuals actively engaged in various online forums. In certain (and many!) industries, business professionals–particularly high level business professionals–are simply not spending a lot of time online. They don’t have time and, frankly, many do not see the value. If this is your audience you may find that social media is not the best way to connect.

If, on the other hand, your target audience is young professionals or young mothers, the situation could be quite different. The key, though, is that you need to take the time to find out! It makes no sense to spend time and effort to build a social media presence if your audience isn’t engaged with social media.

Another important, threshold issue for consideration is why consumers (B2C or B2B) would want to connect and engage in conversations with a business. While most businesses can come up with creative ways of generating conversation, some have more obvious–and less challenging–paths than others.

For instance, a beauty salon would seem to have ample opportunity to connect with an audience of patrons and potential patrons who might be interested in the latest hairstyles, make-up tips, etc. Through the use of images, links to YouTube videos, etc., salon owners have many opportunities to provide compelling and useful information. Other organizations may be more challenged; for instance, I had a conversation at a social media conference not that long ago with an auto-body shop owner who was thinking about using Facebook. Possible, but a bit of a tougher sell depending on the specific audience desired. What kind of ongoing relationship do you have–or want?–with your auto body shop?

Communication through any medium, including social media, has always been and will always be about thinking of what information you have that your target audience is likely to value. That seems simple, but businesses often struggle to get to this point, erring instead in thinking more about what they want to tell their audiences than what their audiences need/want to know. A good starting points is a brainstorming session with staff or, better yet, with customers, patients or clients to determine areas of interest that your organization may be uniquely positioned to deliver.

This is really the first step; there are many others obviously. But it is an important step. Without an audience that is interested in the information you have to share you really don’t have an audience do you?

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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