By adaptive - September 30th, 2013

Fighting for loyalty within a diverse demographic asks for attention to detail and listening to data

In part one of this series we looked into how to identify your core groups, how to understand audiences and how to segment customers into niche groups for more effective marketing. This process highlighted the importance of being relevant and using data to determine your market needs so as to build customer engagement and loyalty. In this part we are looking at how to fine tune brand messaging for these various markets, needs, preferences and customers.

“You can buy media to get in front of various target segments, but ultimately if your message isn’t relevant and meaningful to the group you are targeting, nothing will happen,” says Scott Gray, Head of Social at Quirk, “So, when it’s 7am and people are browsing through their Facebook and Twitter feeds at the breakfast table, is that a good opportunity to give them relevant messages about your brand in their situation and context?”

The problem is, your audience is fragmented and busy. Your customers are using TVs, the radio and the Internet to access multiple channels and platforms. A recent report by Edison Research revealed that, in the US alone, there are 256 million people watching TV, 243 million listening to their radios, 232 million sitting on the Internet and 139 million tuned into their smartphones at any given time.

Let’s take this information a step further. The State of the Media: Social Media Report 2012 by Nielsen says that social TV is on the rise as social media makes it more immediate and shared as an experience. The same report emphasises the growth of the informed consumer and examines attitudes towards advertising on social media.

Deidre Bannon, Social Media Practice Lead at Nielsen, in the introduction to this report said: “Though roughly one-third of social media users find ads on social networking sites more annoying than other types of Internet advertisements, research suggest that there are opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers via social media.”

Your brand has to be relevant, targeted and careful. Engaging with your audience demands that you tailor your messages precisely to ensure that you are heard not ignored.

A tailor’s mark

It can seem a little daunting when you’re told that you need to deliver varied messages across numerous platforms to reach a time-starved audience that may or may not listen. However, it can be done and you can even build a loyal audience that lives your brand.

A great example is the campaign undertaken by Glasgow Subway. There isn’t a lot that a person can say about a train that goes around in circles, usually in the dark, but somehow they’ve managed it. They tweet regularly, interact with customers, apologise for delays and stay bang on brand throughout.

Glasgow Subway tweets

“Understand your customer and what they need, find out what they’re doing online and target your efforts accordingly,” says Craig Rodney, Managing Director of Cerebra, “It’s better to focus your energy and service one or two platforms really well instead of managing five platforms in a mediocre manner.”

Take a look at the platforms you use and the messaging you are communicating. How are you interacting with your readers? Are you saying things that attracts their attention or are they sliding by and visiting other spaces? If you analyse what posts or tweets get the most feedback, use this to structure future messaging and change the way you handle your social media.

The next step is to stay personal. It’s great to have content that draws in your customers, but don’t let them leave feeling as if they’ve been sold to, or are just walk-in wallets. Be personal and interactive enough to grow long-term relationships and build healthy communities.

Content remains king, queen and ruler of the neighbouring country. Wishpond’s research into the State of Content Marketing 2013, revealed that over $110 billion would be spent on content, video and social media marketing in 2013 and that interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. You can see from the infographic below that the meaning is clear: Write good content, say the right words and get the customers on your side.

State of Content Marketing Infographic

“Social media gives brands the opportunity to create communities that one day will help us build better businesses,” says Rodney, “When you apply a well-constructed content strategy and customer service approach it can only benefit the bottom line.”

Vinny Pianna, Director of Facebook specialists Codastar [], agrees and adds that, “Your website and other marketing will always be more about ‘this is what we do, this is who we are and what we are offering you’ message. Social media presumes you are social. If you are not prepared to be social and chat with your customers, then this won’t work for you. Basically, engage with your followers.”

Engage in success

There are other advantages to this personalised messaging tactic that extend beyond just saying the right things; there is the opportunity to create long term relationships and brand ambassadors. To fully harness the power of social media you must tailor that message to target individual customers to get a better response.

“There is only one way to tailor your social media and that’s knowing your community and its needs,” says Veronica Gross del Rio, Interface EMEAI Social Media Manager, “Messages must be created with the channel through which they are distributed and if a company wants to create a community it will not be enough to use it as an advertorial platform without any soul, it simply does not work that way.”

Once you know your market and understand how they work and what engages their attention, your content will reflect this and you are well on your way to building a powerful brand across social media. It is as complex and as simple as that.

In the final part of this series we will be examining how to create customised experiences for your customers across different platforms and how to differentiate them effectively.

Next Reads

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