Understanding the true value of research and stats in social media
(hint, it’s not to validate the tool your consultant has chosen as their favourite)
Recently a lot of research has come out that shows who and how people are using specific social networks, which is a great thing for any MarCom person. Reports have shown the average age of users of key networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as where people are sharing information online. Not only is this information valuable on a pure: finally, some actual hard stats on the latest online usage, perspective. They also reinforce a key point in traditional marketing: Demographics and Psychographics are more than just “old” marketing buzz words.
Just as PR people shouldn’t target journalists who don’t cover a clients field, social media shouldn’t be looked at as needing to be omnipresent on every conceivable channel, or a “spray and pray” tactic.
Where your customers ARE and how they use those channels is vital to crafting a well thought out and meaningful strategy. Are they on Facebook? Twitter? MySpace? Email? Mobile? (to name a few). And what do they do when they are there? How can you reach them within their own comfort zone?
Advocating that you MUST be in a particular location without solid reasons why and a comprehensive strategy for what you will do when you get there is folly and a waste of time and resources. You may find that although the majority of your customers (and prospects) love Twitter, they despise interactions with brands within that channel. They may prefer to connect with *your* brand via email or, horrors, direct mail or your own website (which they found through search).
Being “social” on the web means truly embracing the methods the people you want to reach want you to reach them in. It doesn’t necessarily mean following hot on the heels of the latest tool to hit the tech-o-sphere and generate the greatest amount of buzz amongst the social media consultants – especially if they aren’t the people who buy your products or services.
The golden rule of marketing always applies: know who you are and who your customers are before choosing a medium to communicate within.