As of 2013, approximately 97 percent of major brands were tweeting … a lot. They averaged about 30 tweets a week. That’s a lot of noise. How are you supposed to compete?
The answer is not only complicated, it may vary by industry and brand. Funny and casual works great for Taco Bell, but could be disastrous for a financial company like Putnam Investments, who wisely stick with financial and economic news. The first step is getting to know your customers.
Building accurate buyer personas
A buyer persona is a detailed description of a typical customer. It includes demographics like age, gender, occupation, location, family information, and income … but don’t stop there. Dry statistics don’t paint the whole picture.
To get a real sense of who your customers are and find your social media sweet spot, dig deeper into your data. Personal interaction notes stored in your CRM tell you what your customers most want to know about your company, product, or service (and what they complain about), while their public conversations on social media tell you about their general interests, needs, and who they are connected to. Find out:
- What articles do your customers share and discuss?
- What questions do they ask?
- What blogs do they leave comments on?
- What brands or products do they most often mention?
- Do they participate in hashtag chats?
- How are they connected to other customers? Is there a common thread?
These kind of questions lead to an understanding of what appeals most to your average customer, and what language style engages them most: Serious and formal, light and playful, informative, but fun?
Once you’ve nailed down a few detailed buyer personas, you can start tweeting the kind of content they want to see.
Putting your data to use (case studies)
Some companies are clearly more adept at meeting their audiences needs than others. Here are two very different startups doing all the right things.
Growing Bolder — Audience: Boomers
Growing Bolder is a great example of a targeted campaign for a challenging market. Their target audience is people over 45; retirees or people nearing retirement. Instead of addressing old people concerns, the marketing crew took a different approach and set out to address their real audience – Baby Boomers. Today’s retirees, they reasoned, aren’t rocking on the porch, trying to perfect a cobbler recipe. They are active, mobile, educated, involved, and downright feisty.
The GB social media team tweets out personal stories of triumph, memes featuring older people, and anything they find inspiring and empowering.
You won’t hear about the latest news on hip replacements or learn what restaurant chains offer the best senior discounts from the GB Twitter feed. You will hear about the 55-year-old woman who tried out to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, and about the group of cancer survivors who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with last year.
By accurately assessing the interests of its audience, Growing Bolder harnessed the imagination of a market segment largely ignored by traditional marketing until just a few years ago. They tell older people exactly what they want to hear: You can do amazing things. It is not over.
Blue Apron — Audience: You
Blue Apron is getting a lot of traction, and with good reason. They found a niche – the desire for healthy, home-cooked meals – and filled it in a delicious and practical way. In short, the company mails subscribers everything they need to make dinner, including ingredients, seasoning, and easy-to-follow recipes.
Their customers are tech-savvy professionals with good incomes and little time to spend shopping, preparing, and cooking, even though they’d like to.
They connect to 21.4K followers with recipes, tantalizing food photos (food wins every demographic), contests, and food-inspired silliness. Blue Apron launched in 2012 and currently mails out more than a million meals every month. I’d say they found their target audience.
Finding your style
Plenty of major brands, like Disney Parks, are successful with almost no engagement. They use Twitter almost exclusively as a commercial advertising channel, tweeting out photos and events. They can get away with it because everybody knows Disney … and because they have great material to work with: princesses, movies, animation, castles, roller coasters, music, celebrities. Disney is a gold mine.
Your business may have to work a little harder. Using customer data and social media to figure out what your ideal customer is interested in, and delivering it in a style they will respond to, is the key to social media success.
Sherry Gray is a freelance content writer from Key West, FL, currently suffering the ‘burbs of Orlando. She’s a science geek, a social media junkie, and a unapologetic fan of all things bacon. Follow her on Twitter @SheriSaid.