Do Your Fans, Friends, and Followers Actually Care About Your Content?
I will always believe in this statement – in order to have an effective influence marketing and content marketing strategy, you need to understand the behaviours of your target audience. You need to understand how they consume information, how they build relationships, and what actions they take during the buying cycle. Once you have a good understanding of this, you can then start preparing strategies, tactics, and campaigns that will reach these prospective buyers. This applies to social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and influence marketing. It all connects together.
If you were to simply look at the stats, you’d probably think that your business needs to be on Facebook. But as Brooke Ballard points out in this article about not following the social media masses, even though Facebook has over a billion users, it doesn’t mean it’s the right social network for your business, product, or brand. And if you’re not sharing content in the right places, people simply won’t care.
Take InNetwork’s strategy for example. We interviewed a number of prospects and clients about their online behaviours. We asked a multitude of different questions, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on these:
- Where are you most active on social media?
- Where do you consume the most business/marketing information online?
- Where do you hear about new industry tools that might help with your job?
I’ll review some of the other questions we asked in later posts. To give a bit of context, people we interviewed worked in different roles at a full-service agency. 90% were women (which we found accurate from stats in our pipeline) who worked in a PR or Community Manager role, between the ages of 23-28.
Where are young PR and Marketing professionals most active on social media?
We found from the interviews we did that our prospects are most active on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook (in that particular order). So from this information, you could draw a conclusion saying that InNetwork should be most active on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, right? We should make these social networks a key part of our digital strategy. But we didn’t. And here’s why…
We followed-up this question with “what do you do on these networks?” Turns out, they only use these networks to keep in touch with friends and family, and to follow their personal interests. Seeing that our group is very interested in trendy stuff, fashion, food, travel, and fitness, it makes a lot of sense that they spend time on these three networks.
This isn’t very surprising. Heck, I use Facebook to keep track of friends and family mostly, and to enjoy content like this:
Yeah, that’s Grumpy Cat meets Grumpy at Disney World. Awesomesauce. Facebook is also where I get all the latest trending BuzzFeed articles. I do get a bit of social media info from Facebook as well, but that’s a big part of who I am – a Social Media Geek. It’s a strong core of my personal interests. If I wasn’t that interested in social media marketing, I wouldn’t care about it, especially not on Facebook.
So what did we do next?
Where do you consume the most business/marketing information online?
So we followed-up with this question, and most importantly, with “where do you find out about new tools that could help you with your job?” The story is much different now! Even though Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are their favourite networks, they consume the most business content from:
- Top business publications and blogs, like Marketing Magazine, Fast Company, Mashable, TechCrunch, and Ragan Communications.
- Twitter and LinkedIn
- Industry experts and thought-leaders
- Search Engines
MUCH different story now. Without asking our prospects about how they consume information online, and what ultimately influences their purchase decision, we could have wasted a lot of time on social networks that would yield very little return. Ouch!
So here’s a quick summary of how we moved forward with this information (I will elaborate more in future posts):
- We first focused on building our Twitter presence, as this was the easiest.
- Through Twitter, we started building relationships with prospects, industry bloggers, and thought leaders.
- We started inviting thought leaders and experts to write for the InNetwork blog.
- We started producing more content, and especially answering key questions that are prospects have, so it can get indexed by search engines.
- Our leadgen and sales team find prospects through LinkedIn search and in relevant Groups
Our next steps will focus on building out our brand presence on other blogs and publications, through guest posting, interviews, sponsored post reviews, and press releases.
This strategy allows us to have touch-points with prospects everywhere they would find our information relevant. So before you decide to do a social media marketing campaign, an influence marketing campaign, or even revisiting your content and inbound strategy, ask yourself this: Do I really understand how my prospects and customers absorb information online? If you do, then great! If you don’t, you could be spending a lot of time on tactics that yield very little results.
In future posts, I’ll focus on how we changed our content strategy to fit our buyer personas, how we’re growing a targeted social presence of prospects and partners, and how this all relates to inbound marketing and influence marketing. So stay tuned! :)
Have you done any research on your prospects’ online behaviour? How do they consume information online? Which social networks, publications, blogs, or influencers do they frequent the most? How can you move them through the buying cycle? Please leave a comment below!