By now, you know the importance of having an active social media presence to build your brand, fan base, and link building efforts. You may have a large following, an active presence, and a content publishing calendar covering every major and upcoming social network, but there are some opportunities you may be missing to learn from your audience.
I’m here to position how you use on social media in order to uncover important information about your customers, competition, and PR opportunities.
“Likes” Are People Too
In a digital world where marketing departments obsess over the number of new Facebook likes and Twitter followers, it’s important to take a step back and value what fans really are – people. More than that, your social supporters are real customers with likes and interests. Stop treating your users as one data-defined segment of the Internet’s population and treat your audience as individuals.
Your audience and what they say about your online define your brand and can provide invaluable insight into how to market to a much larger demograpghic. Aggregating and curating user-generated conversations into a visual dashboard, can be one of way of easily saying what your customers, or potential customers, are saying about you online.
You can then turn social media interactions into case studies on customers that move beyond demographics based on real fans preferences. Not only will this help put a face to your visitors, you will begin to understand how different people interact with your site and what information you need to include in your content marketing strategy to reach the entirety of your audience.
I like to print out the picture of a few fans and put a few bullet points next to each image to use as examples of our customer profiles. Here’s a few examples (minus the pictures):
- Julie – impulsive, 23-years-old, loves deals, active on Facebook
- Jessica – comparison shopper, Internet savvy, looks to expert opinions
- John – wants the newest gear first, young professional, looks for exclusives, Tweets often
Keep Learning from the Competition
When you first delve into social media marketing, it’s good practice to examine your competition to see how they manage their social media campaigns and find out what type of topics their covering, the frequency and time they post, and any other insights to get you started. After you find find your own voice and build a following, keep paying attention, but shift your focus from what other companies are doing to their interactions.
Who actively shares posts with their audience? What fans follow more than one of your competitors, but not you? Who has the potential to reach the largest audience? Tools like SEOMoz’s Followerwonk and Advanced Search on Twitter make it easier than ever to analyze social media and prospect leads. These can be writers covering your industry, related brands with large followings happy to interact online, or just super-fans ready to share some love.
After you identify key brand ambassadors and influencers within your industry, dig into their public profiles to learn more about them. Monitor what they post about and what other groups they belong to and become active in those communities. When you finally reach out to them, you may be on their radar already, and you do so armed with a wealth of knowledge about their interests and habits making it much easier to turn them into your fans as well.