The Art of Targeting in Social Media

Social media has become the melting pot for many types of customers – many of whom have grown up with traditional media, but have adopted the social media very well!

A cursory search generates scores of articles, blogs, tips, etc. on how to best use social media for marketing yourself, your company or product / service. Not to talk of 100s of book dedicated to the various strategies, tactics and tools employed in social media marketing. However, you’d hardly find the magic mantra to correctly target your campaign.

In my previous article, I talked of ways to identify the clusters of customers / social media users, who’d help in your targeting. In this post I’ll share the magic mantra of social media targeting.

While developing a campaign today, the first thing you must accept is that the marketing world has seen a few major paradigm shifts in communication thought in recent years:

1)      Shifts in Communication Planning Process – From the baby days of advertising, when communication meant just creating direct feature based messages, the communication planning has progressed through positioning, brand development (account planning), connection planning, engagement planning, to its current focus – propagation planning. In simple terms, it means planning the ways and means to spread a belief or a practice among new groups of individuals.

2)      Shifts from “Classical” Marketing to “Flipped-Funnel” Marketing – This is best described by the image here.

Flipped Funnel Marketing (source: The New Marketing Landscape By Dan Pankraz)

3)      Media Democratizationtowards an ever widening media landscape 

3 kinds of media (source: Group M)

– Media has essentially evolved and broadened to PAID, “EARNED” and OWNED types. Earned Media is the most important shift over the last few years, wherein choosing the right channels marketers can expand the reach much beyond the paid media. Owned media is one’s own media channel in terms of blogs and micro blogs, which has a community built around it.

4)      Shifts from Funnel-type to Pyramid-type of awareness generation process – Classical communication models depended more upon AIDA model – i.e. starting off with awareness generation among a larger set, losing out a few through the stages of interest development and desire creation, with the hope of zeroing down to a small subset of a few purchasers of the product / service. This has given way to Pyramid type of targeting: you start off with a small subset, and let the members of this subset spread the awareness among their 6-degrees of separation. After some time, you can surely hope to have a much larger “aware” as well as “committed” base.

Idea courtesy: Brandon Murphy (from 22squared), Karen Evans & Evan Slater)

5)      Shift in Focus within the Adoption Curve – Pyramid type awareness generation has encouraged usage of social media in parallel targeting of the customers. Therefore in addition to mass marketing, which targets the majority of early and late adopters, one targets the miniscule innovators, and the laggards too to increase adoption rates.

Image Courtesy: Griffin Farley

Once you have accepted these major shifts in communication thought, it will be easy to adopt the magic mantra for social media targeting:

Target NOT the people you wish to reach BUT the people that they reach

In simple terms it means that you need to target the influencers of your target first, before thinking of targeting your core customers. Results? Effective utilization of resources, and the chance to improve your targeting process.

%d bloggers like this: