Twitter logoI saw a Twitter message yesterday that made me think of this topic. The message was about someone who had stated that social media was just a fad and the tweeter commented, what do you say to someone who thinks like that?

Well that’s a very good question!

The danger with social media is that everyone does just jump straight on the bandwagon because everybody else is doing it and they don’t want to appear slow, left behind or out of touch. The ‘me too’ approach to marketing I call it.

Know your customers!
One of my clients was recently faced with the same perplexing question. How should they use social media to engage their audience? I’m advising them on their social media strategy and the first step for me, is always customer insight and knowing your customers better.

We needed to know exactly how their customers used social media now and how they wanted to engage with social media and the company in particular, in the future.

The client has a very healthy database, so step one was a quick online survey to a sample of the two main customer groups, to understand their current social media habits and also to test out some of our theories on what social and rich media, like blogs and video, they would want to see from the company.

The results were not shockingly different to our assumptions but what it did highlight was the importance of LinkedIn over Twitter for both the customer groups. So it gave us a sound foundation to our marketing approach and indicated where we need to focus.

Both groups did not engage with Twitter heavily at all. So the point to note here, is just because you use Twitter, doesn’t mean your target audience does!

One group in particular were not keen on video as a medium so again we can now focus our efforts on developing video content appropriate to each audience and it helps us save wasted marketing budget on activities that would not engage the customers of this business.

For me, the key is always do your research, get your customer insight and make informed marketing decisions, centred around YOUR CUSTOMERS, not your own preferences.

What’s your view on the role of social media in marketing your business? I would love to hear what you think!