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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Social Media – The Target Audience

A few days back, I saw a job vacancy for a social media executive on one of the portals. The job responsibility read something like this: Weekly increase of followers: FB 150 fans, Twitter 150 followers, LinkedIn – 150 followers….. Sounded like a shopping list of a big hotel.

It is amazing how the business even thought of such ludicrous objectives. Getting followers or fans is not a difficult thing to do, but whatever happened to the concept of inbound marketing. I don’t know what the business is selling, but unless it is a global business selling the elixir of youth, getting followers in this manner is going to be an absolute waste of time and effort, never mind the clutter they are going to create on the business’s walls or streams. With fans or followers acquired in this manner, your Facebook wall is going to become just that, a wall.

The social media manager’s quick fix to such objectives presented itself to me on the website of a major league (?) social media company. The company had integrated their Twitter feed on the home page of the website and the last couple of tweets were about requesting (pleading?) their followers to like the Facebook business page of a particular client.

Agreed, that in the longer run, the whole world is a market and everyone a customer, but then be prepared to wait an eternity for the impact of social media on your business. What use is a follower or fan acquired in this manner? The business does not gain anything from them. They are not interested in your products, they are not listening to what you have to say and they may not even be in your country/city of operation. What they are is just a number in your list.

This brings us to an important facet of social media, a targeted audience. That is what differentiates the social media from the traditional communications. On social media, people follow businesses because they are interested in some part of the business, be it products, processes, services or technology. These are the people one can engage in a two way communication, to understand them, their needs and to inform or educate. These are also the people who will contribute to enhancing your business by sharing and spreading the word about your business, by taking part in the discussions and by being your loyal customers.

It is important for businesses to realize that just numbers are not going to get them anywhere. The old age adage, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” holds good with the difference that on social media a single genuine fan is worth hundreds, if not more, of indifferent followers.

The social media strategy of a company needs to define what their target audience is. Thereafter one can effectively go about reaching out to them rather than mindlessly getting followers as if they were going out of stock.

If you have some thoughts about this, for or against, I would be glad if you could share them with me.

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