Fast Company

Know Your 5 or Social Media Might Eat You Alive

With millions of people participating and interacting in social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, businesses and organizations of all sizes are trying to tap this audience. For bigger businesses with multi-million dollar marketing budgets, rolling the dice on a social media strategy is a no-brainer. But for smaller businesses with precious time and resources to dedicate, any media campaign needs to provide a return on investment in order to be pursued.

Small businesses and organizations need to know who and how to target their customers and prospects using both social media and other marketing efforts. For the who part, here are five types of people out there you should think about and people who:

Know and Trust You. These are your Raving Fans, to borrow the title of Ken Blanchard's book. They are the people who spread your name through word of mouth marketing, refer you on social networks, give you great ratings and reviews, and know what you're all about.

Know You. These are your customers. They're regulars, but could easily be swayed to a competitor offering a better price or service. These are the people you need to engage to build trust.

Know Someone Who Knows You. Better known as prospects. These people have friends or colleagues that are customers of your service, and they, too, may be interested in what you offer but have yet to make a purchase. Your media efforts need to make you approachable by these folks.

May Want to Know You. These are people who are in the market for what you have to offer but have no connection to your business through a colleague or other referral. Social media and other web marketing initiatives, when used properly, can be effective at reaching these folks. Here the public perception of your reputation is key.

Have No Interest In Knowing You. Think vegetarians to a butcher shop. There's no need to market to these folks, and any investment here is a waste of resources.

So knowing these five types of people exist, how do you market to them using social media? Though each platform is different — and we'll dive deeper into each in coming posts — there are some basic marketing philosophies you can follow.

For the raving fans and customers, it's all about continuing to embrace, educate, and engage through these new touch points. Continue to add value to the relationship through content, tips, and other incentives served up via your social media presence. When done right these people will tell others about you.

For the prospects, suspects, and those who have absolutely no interest in you, it's about doing the right thing. How so? You want to have clear information about what makes you special and what you're all about. Having others singing your praises can carry more weight than just you saying how great you are. Social media may be a perfect vehicle for this as people can easily share their thoughts. Of course, you have to be aware of what it is they're saying, hope they are sharing great experiences, but also be ready to answer any criticism, and hopefully having your raving fans turn criticisms into a positive.

By providing this information and making it easy for people to find you — be it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or one of the many other social media networks — you can help those on the fence quickly make the decision to start a relationship. And for those who have no interest, they can move on quickly without wasting their, or your, time.

Next up: Is Facebook turning into an Internet trade show?

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1 Comments

  • Peter Sabbagh

    Hi Eric -

    All good points - This one in particular "But for smaller businesses with precious time and resources to dedicate,.... This speaks to the need for social media metrics to be used along with website analytics. There is a current trend for accountability on the social media side of things and we are likely to see more people using these metrics going forward. MemCatch and several other companies are in this business segment. These platforms allow you to see which social media sites are producing the most value for your campaign.

    Peter Sabbagh
    http://bit.ly/ckfUSS