Yet, your efforts don't seem to be providing a return. Your blog readership isn't increasing. The number of fans on your Facebook business page increases yet it's like a desert with nobody talking to one another. You post a question and nobody answers except your best friend.
What could possibly be the problem? You've learned the tools. You've taken the classes. You know a conversation is of most importance in social media. However, nobody seems to want to talk to you.
If this is your situation you are not alone. We talk with many business leaders who have a similar experience. More times than not it's because they started with the tools vs the audience.
I've said it fifty times and I'll say it again… Social media is one big relationship fueled by conversation. Conversation involves people. Real people. People that inspire, connect, talk and engage.
Knowing and understanding your audience is required to truly inspire them to further engage and connect with you. As Brian Solis states, the social currency of online marketing and social media is action. If your audiences are not inspired to take action on your behalf then why are you doing what you do? It's a tough question to answer I know if at the end of the day you know you are not connecting with nor inspiring your audiences. It's an even tough question come month end when you are digging deep for a positive return on investment on your social media efforts.
Who is your audience? Do you really know them? Who are you writing for? Why do you tweet? What is the purpose of your Facebook business page? You must plan before you act in social media if you want to have a positive return on your investment. Random acts of marketing (RAMs) and social media (RASMs) will get you nothing but in the red come month end!
Note: For the purpose of this post we're going to assume you have a plan, you have goals and objectives. We are going to discuss how you can now get deeper in the head of your audience. In a perfect world you would have already done this before writing your plan, setting goals and objectives. However, I know the majority of business leaders we are helping aren't doing such when it comes to social media planning & execution. Thus the reason for this post, we're starting with the audience.
8 Things You Must Know About Your Audience to Create Content that Inspires
1. Who is your audience?
No blanket answers here such as the entire zip code of Tampa, Fl. Instead focus on details and demographics such as:
- Where do they live?
- Where do they work?
- What do they do for fun?
- What is their lifestyle?
- Where do they hangout when not at work?
- Where do they hangout when online?
- What types of conversation are they having?
- Are they talking with your partners? With your competition?
- How much money do they make?
- What is their lingo? Tone? Casual? Professional?
*The list goes on and on here. You get my point by now, hopefully!
2. What are their pain points?
- Why do they need your product?
- Why do they experience the pain that requires them to need your product?
- What is the financial, emotional and life impact of the pain? How bad is it?
- What happens if they don't have your product or service? What alternative products and services are there?
- Will they mitigate or reduce the pain themselves if you don't help them?
3. What does your product or service do to minimize or mitigate their pain?
- How does it solve the business pain?
- What relief does it give them? For how long?
- Does it improve efficiencies?
- Does it help them better sustain their business?
- Does it help them increase return on investment?
- Does it help simplify their business?
- Does it help them better serve their customers and increase customer satisfaction?
- Does it help them better inspire and connect with their audiences and customers?
4. How can your product or service inspire and help them personally and professionally?
- Does it give them hope?
- Does it help them have a better day?
- Does it make their family more at peace?
- Does it help them keep their job?
- Does it help them live a longer life?
- Does it improve their career opportunities?
5. How is your product or service positioned?
- What are the replacement product or services to yours? This includes competition, alternative products and do-it-yourself.
- Why would they choose a do-it-yourself product? Is it time, money, lack of trust or all of the above?
- Do they choose an alternative or do-it-yourself option because the pain isn't bad enough to justify the investment or time spent?
- Where does your product or service sit in comparison to competition? Is it better? Worse? Why?
- What value does your audience place on your product?
- Why do they place value on your offering?
- What are the complimentary products to yours? Who do they buy them and why? Who do they buy them from?
6. What is your zoom factor?
- How is your product or service differentiated?
- Does your audience know this is your zoom factor?
- Do they believe your zoom factor?
- Do they understand your zoom factor?
- Why should they buy from you versus other options?
- What market lead do you have regarding competition? How long until your competition catches up to you?
7. What is your competition up to?
You can learn much about your audience by understanding how they engage and react to your competition.
- How is your audience engaging with your competition?
- What is your competition doing that you aren't?
- Why are they doing such things different? Do they have a competitive differentiator because of this or do you have the leg up. Remember, different isn't always better. You may be on the right track.
- What type of response are they receiving online and offline from your target audiences? Is it different than how your audience is engaging with you?
- Does your competition have a consistent tone, message and brand? If not, how can you enhance yours to zoom faster?
- Is your competition engaging in a way their audience expects them to? Casual when they're expecting professional or opposite?
- What are the weaknesses to how your competition is engaging and leveraging social media that you can use to your advantage?
8. What's your audience up to both online and offline?
- Where do they hang out online? Offline?
- What conversations are they having?
- Who are they talking to?
- What is the tone of conversation?
- Does the tone differ based upon who they talk to? Does it differ based upon social platform (i.e., different on LinkedIn vs. Facebook and Twitter?)
- How are they engaging and responding to your business partners, local businesses and competition?
Content that connects with an audience is the key to inspiring an audience to listen, to engage and to take action. Content is the foundation of conversation. Conversation is the fuel that will ignite your success in social media.
To create compelling, relevant and valuable content the first step is to learn, understand and get to know your audience. Learn who they are. What they like. What makes them tick. Seek opportunities to zoom past your competition based upon weaknesses in engagement strategies, inspiring and connecting.
Use your knowledge of your audience to create compelling content that grabs their attention and inspires them to connect, converse and engage with you and your brand!
Do you know your audience? Or are you guilty of focusing too much on tools, throwing out a certain number of blog posts? Or are you serving up what your audience really needs and wants?
Heartbeat of Social Media Series
This blog post is part of a series titled “The Heartbeat of Social Media“. It includes a deep look at how communities work, what people are doing within them and how businesses can better understand how they can fit in, provide value and derive benefit as both a business as well as individual people.
Subscribe to the series for updates and access to special videos, webinar training and more. Would love to hear your input and have you participate in discussions and debates as we challenge each other to be part of what makes the social network heartbeat healthy and alive!
- Worksheet: Download our POST audience analysis worksheet to help you identify and prioritize your top audiences. It is based upon the Forrester POST methodology.
- Worksheet: Download this content editorial calendar to help you plan, organize and deliver the most engaging and helpful content you can offer.
- Whitepaper: Download “15 Tips to Stomp Status Quo & Zoom Your Brand”
- 50 Ways to Energize Your Social Media Communities
- Social Media ROI: You Get What You Give Without Expectation
- 12 Ways to Delight Your Audience & Grow Your Social Community
- Communities Create Markets: 13 Tips to Build Loyal Tribes of Brand Evangelists
- 15 Reasons Random Acts of Marketing & Social Media Don't Work
- Stop Searching for The Social Media Easy Button
- 13 Characteristics of Human Brands