This poll analysis was written by Jeremy Victor, president of Make Good Media and editor-in-chief of B2Bbloggers.com. For more of his writing, visit B2Bbloggers.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week we asked: Which statement best describes your business’ social media strategy?

  • We’re attempting to reach a local audience within the U.S.: 32.17%
  • We’re attempting to reach a national U.S. audience: 32.17%
  • We’re attempting to reach a global audience: 17.48%
  • We’re not using social media: 8.39%
  • We haven’t taken audience location into account in our social media efforts: 6.29%
  • We’re attempting to reach a specific nation or region outside the U.S.: 3.5%

As I sit in my office analyzing this week’s poll results with my 20 oz. coffee flavored with French vanilla cream, I’ll be honest with you, I am struggling to determine anything particularly useful and valuable to share with you related to this. Some of us are using social to reach local customers, some national and a fair amount of us are even going so far to reach a global audience. So what? Maybe I should have thought of that when I wrote the question!

What can I share with you that will be useful? How about what I believe to be the three most important things to do when trying to reach any audience — local, national or global — on the social Web.

  1. Listen: Your goal here is to learn as much about your customers as possible from their interests to their evolving media consumption habits. The key point to consider is that as a group, your customers have a set of shared common interests, problems and values. To reach them on the social Web, you must discover what they are. You can’t guess.
  2. Analyze: After establishing your listening approach (aka social media monitoring), you need an on-going process for analyzing the information. This is THE vital step for identifying the common interests, problems and values of your customers and is linked directly with what comes next, create.
  3. Create: Whether it’s conversation or content, the key to creation of it is demonstrated understanding of your customer — ranging from behavior and demeanor to interests and problems. As consumers, we are tired of being “sold” to at every turn. To influence, attract and interact with customers on the social Web, you must be thought of as one of them. We are open to empathetic messaging that is useful to us. It’s this tone that needs to permeate your content and conversation on the social Web.

With that in mind, you see that the scope of your reach — local, national or global — shouldn’t affect the approach you take in messaging and communication. Of course, each level of segmentation offers its own challenges from a scale perspective. But, whether Johnny’s Pizza, Hertz Rental Car or Pepsi wants to reach me on the social Web, they need to know that I love pepperoni, can’t stand Enterprise and that I’ve been drinking Coke all my life. Knowing that information about me would demonstrate understanding your customer. (For the record, I’ve tweeted, blogged or shared pictures about all of these relevant personal facts I just mentioned. And likely, whether you realize it or not, you probably have, too.)

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