Everyone-Is-the-audienceWhat if your organization thinks “everyone” is your social media audience?

A participant in a social media content strategy workshop I conducted asked what to do if your management group believes there are no specific targets for your brand's social media content. Her management held that whatever content she created needed to apply to "everyone." The question sprang from discussing the importance of targeting your social media content by developing audience personas to help you produce audience-focused content.

If you're writing to everyone with your social media content it becomes very challenging to develop a cohesive and consistent voice.  When you're forced, in essence, to be all over the market, it's nearly impossible to assess whether the content you are creating is meaningful to those you are REALLY trying to reach. Sure, there must be SOMEONE who cares about a specific blog post, but is it one someone or thousands of someones? If you know before you start which content is likely to resonate (or not) with key audience targets, you can be much more focused in your content.

Convincing Management You Need a Focused Social Media Content Strategy

So how do you dissuade your leadership from its unwillingness to create focused content? Here are a four ideas to address the issue.

1. Profile your audience

Forrester has a tool showing what percentage of a certain demographic is active in various ways on social media. Using this app, you can identify at least some general social media usage trends, even among "everybody." One caution: the Forrester tool is now several years old, so the results may be directional, but have lost their earlier accuracy.

2. Survey your customers and prospects

Either incorporate questions into other market research surveys or do a specific survey with a sample of customers and prospects to understand social media usage and preferences. Perhaps you could also capture the same type of market research data on customer service calls. The important point is you can't simply do an online survey on this question and think you have representative results!

3. Start developing audience personas

Since this is the suggested strategic step that prompted the original question, it's a natural move. By developing personas of representative, fictional audience members, you'll gain a big benefit in better understanding your audience. Invite your leadership team to participate in providing input for a few audience personas. As they do so, they'll see the differences among audience members and gain an appreciation that not everyone is a vital part of your audience.

4. Listen to what's being said about your industry and who is saying it

Use social media listening activities and tools to identify and profile the important social media talkers and stalkers around your business, category, and industry. With a better handle on the topics and volume of social conversation, you can better show particular audiences care a lot more than others about what you have to say. Pay particular attention to who your competitors are interacting with on social media. But be warned: your competitors may also be operating from a lack of knowledge about what to do in social media as well.

The Bonus to Pursuing these Social Media Content Strategy Ideas

The bonus here is even if your organization isn’t dealing with the mandate to write to everyone, implementing these ideas will improve the focus and relevance of your social media content for your most important audiences. - Mike Brown


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