By adaptive - September 23rd, 2013

For organisations to effectively engage with their consumers, segmenting and then personalising social media content is vital

The core of any business is the customer. What corporations and their brand stakeholders have realised is that the traditional broadcast model for engagement is no longer effective or efficient.

Organisations need to gain insight into audiences, segment their social engagement into specific groups and appeal to a diverse demographic without compromising brand integrity or messaging.

This feature is the first of three examining how to create customised experiences for customers across different platforms. In this feature we are considering how a business can accurately identify core groups, get to know their audiences and segment customers into niche collections. Sound complex? Not necessarily.

“Social media offers interaction that traditional media could never give to the marketer,” says Devon Stanton, PR and Promotions Manager at Megarom [], “In addition, there is an impressive range of toolsets available that can analyse your social media audience and pull out vital demographic and interaction data. By utilising this information, you’ll be able to craft your social media to best suit your audience.”

A white paper by Experian offers a superb breakdown as to what segmentation is and why it is of value to the business. They define it as “the process of dividing your database into groups based on single or multiple criteria.”

This offers value in that you can drill down into the essentials of the client for improved targeting and flexibility. What better way to locate and address the most profitable customers and ensure that there is relevance in this communication? The right message to the right people at the right time – it works, that’s why it’s a cliché.

The business can no longer afford to be generic. A bland message directed across all social platforms may hit one or two people along the way, but it is unlikely to generate brand loyalty or encourage customers to identify with the brand itself.

“Take the time to understand what motivates people to share and talk about topics,” says Scott Gray, Head of Planning at Quirk [], “Interests are so fragmented that being generic doesn’t work anymore. To get messages to spread across social networks, brands have to have a point of view and get this to the most relevant group of people. If you’re not relevant, you’re dead.”

Steps to segmentation

Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Strategy at Adobe EMEA, offers a four-step process by which organisations can identify core groups and segment them efficiently that include:

  1. Influence – build relationships with key influencers
  2. Data – data helps brands identify which content drives conversation
  3. Optimising content – using this information helps to streamline content development that says the right things
  4. Measuring impact – stay aware of the impact of social efforts to continually drive conversation and stay relevant and targeted

The many faces of influence

“Building relationships with key influencers is vital,” says Waite, “Data shows that only 6% of fans regularly engage with companies they like on Facebook. By identifying the people most likely to drive conversation, and the types of posts and messages that engage these influences, this helps to increase engagement.”

Veronica Gross del Rio, EMEAI Social Media Manager at Interface  [], agrees and adds, “Begin determining which social sites you should participate in and what topics are trending or popular. Track how your customers are using social media. We are a B2B company that designs and makes carpet tiles, for us interior designers and architects are the key people who specify our products so we need to convince them more than we need to convince the final buyer. Having the most accurate profile of them on social media is vital.”

It may be obvious that a business needs to identify its core markets and platforms to ensure it markets products effectively, but social media analysis and communications are not the forte of every organisation. It is here that solutions such as Quirk, Codestar and Adobe Social come into play. These companies have made it their business to understand the market and what the organisation needs in order to effectively understand, track and target their customers.

“Successful brands like Starbucks, Xbox and Dell have reduced most of their reporting to only one page that includes all the relevant metrics and information that they need to know about their customers,” says Waite, “These are known as the five ‘W’ – a strategy that Adobe Consulting has also adopted.”

These five ‘W’ are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Why
  • Where

Who are people talking about, what are they saying, why are they talking about you, when did the conversations begin and where did they take place.

“We design specific apps and landing pages for various products and services advertised on Facebook and often for specific consumer groups,” says Vinny Pianna, Director of Facebook specialists Codastar. “We find that ads for specific customer groups are far more successful than general ones. To segment this effectively we have looked at where we are successful and worked hard to build on this. The key to success is to tailor your messaging, advertising and landing pages for each group.”

Understand the core

To succeed in creating an effective marketing strategy across social media your organisation must ensure it is relevant, targeted, on trend and specific. To do so you need to listen to your customers and understand what they are interested in and make sure that you are communicating with them on the right platforms.

“The web has allowed people to form groups and communities around common interests,” says Gray, “If you’re into dressing up like Batman and singing karaoke, there’s probably a community of people like you. I think that more effective targeting is driven along lines of interest and passions rather than race, gender or age. People are the new conduits of media.”

Interface used these tactics to develop a targeted social media campaign to launch a new product. They created specific content for each social media channel that tapped into their unique qualities and the campaign has been a huge success as a result. Gross del Rio believes that it is this very targeted approach that has made all the difference to the success of their campaign.

“I think that knowing who your audience is and understanding the goals of the campaign will net you far better return on investment,” concludes Stanton, “The data is there to help you make better marketing decisions so use it to maximise results.”

In part two of this series will ask the experts how to take this concept one step further to tailor social media messaging to ensure you appeal to different needs, motives and preferences.

Next Reads

The Corporate Social Media Summit Europe 2013

December 2013, London

Become a social business: For superior marketing response, sharper corporate decision-making, enhanced innovation and a happier, more loyal customer

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