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Social Media Content for the Average Customer May Miss the Mark
(Marketing Memo Feburary 2011)

Marketing campaigns geared towards the "average" customer or prospect often fall short of the mark. A restaurant could survey customers and conclude that if half of the customers prefer hot tea and half iced-tea, lukewarm tea would satisfy everyone, observes Anthony Tjan.* Whether marketers use traditional media or social media, they should target a few, well-defined segments, not a mythical "average" customer.

Segment Your Customer Base

Successful social media campaigns provide a stream of high quality content that is carefully designed for each of the major segments the company serves. For instance, if your company provides products or services for government, healthcare, and telecom organizations, one size clearly will not fit all. To craft the best social media content for each segment, first answer the following questions:

  • What are the top two or three segments to reach? Are these segments large enough and profitable enough to be worth the effort?
  • What makes each segment distinct? Demographics? Buying behavior? Other factors?
  • What are your goals for each segment? Create awareness? Compete effectively?
  • What content do the members of each segment want and need? Ask them!
  • What messages will help you achieve your goals for each segment?
  • What do members of the target segments read, and where do they post?
  • Which channels are most appropriate for each type of content and each segment? News about events is suitable for Facebook, but white papers belong on your web site. Foursquare may be suitable for advertising a restaurant, but not for promoting a professional services firm.

Consider the Big Picture

Social media exists to convey new information in ways that are appropriate for the audience and the content. To succeed with social media, develop a consistent perspective and voice for each channel. Distribute company guidelines to staff who publish or post on the Internet. Assign someone to review content for consistency and for appropriateness. Protect your corporate image. Maintain a calendar for each channel, including a pipeline of content to post later on. Be sure to track how different customer or prospect segments respond to each type of posting.

*Anthony Tjan, HBR

Copyright 2011 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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