I recently wrote about Community Building 101 as part of a marketing campaign for a startup.
KTM asked a question:
Do you have any thoughts around handling this issue when the potential audience is thought not to be very engaged with social media?
The answer lies in your question. And we can take a look at it in two parts.
We need to take a step way back. In all the melee around social media we tend forget about the bigger picture around marketing. Building a community isn’t the end all, be all solution. Other things need to be done as a part of the bigger plan. Mitch Joel has an excellent article today about how our values are affecting our outlook on marketing.
Building a community is a part of the overall marketing plan & should compliment it.
So here are the two aspects to consider:
1. Evaluate your customer segment(s)
- What are their demographics?
- What is their lifestyle like? and what affinities do they have?
- What needs does your product fulfill?
You really need to know that information to make decisions on where your marketing efforts should be focused. Mitch Joel’s point is well taken that traditional channels shouldn’t be discounted.
Listening will also help you find people talking about your brand/product online. And you may find people using your products in unique ways.
2. If your potential audience isn’t very engaged in social media then you need to decide where that would be for your customer segments. Where are their family & friends coming online at?
My suggestion is to get involved at two places:
- Major social network
- Facebook – join niche related groups & build a network there
- if your target audience is a MySpace type crowd, then go there
- if it’s traditional business people, then LinkedIn is your place
- Niche sites – find 2 or 3 that are very popular & get involved
And I would highly question anyone that says: “Our potential customers aren’t online”.
That sounds like a really lazy answer. With some effort you can find people needing your products/resources (even if they didn’t know they did!). If you move into an educational mode & provide resources and teach people then you’ll be off on the right foot towards fostering community. Remember that your ultimate goal is to contribute to the community at large (not sell your products/services). Sales will happen when people realize they need your products.
What would you add to those points?