One of the first processes in creating any great marketing or advertising conversation, should be to determine two key attributes of your target audience: where do they live online and how can you access them effectively? It’s not enough to just know who they are. You should be asking how, why and when they do what they do.
To understand these questions, we use a theoretical framework we call ‘The Social Spectrum’. It helps us get into the minds of social media users when they’re logged on.
It helps us consider why people are functionally on a platform then how they use it behaviourally.
This looks at the different levels of social interaction a user expects to have when engaging with different social platforms. Are they having conversations with an established, selective social community? Are they debating with complete strangers? Do they not want to enter a dialogue at all? At one end of the spectrum we have the super social users wanting to ‘be my friend’, in the middle those who’ll ‘speak if spoken to’, and finally those who just want you to ‘leave me alone’.
This is more about why people use the platform. What does it offer them? Are they just browsing for new content or inspiration without intending to interact with other users? The most common reasons are to ‘stay in touch’, to ‘find new content’ or to ‘meet a specific need’.
Understanding where your audience lives online and the ways they use different platforms is essential to tailor your campaign and effectively engage your specific online audience.
Deciding whether to seed content for maximum penetration on Reddit, or run a traditional paid ad campaign on Facebook, will depend entirely on where your target audience is and how they consume social media in all its forms. A cookie-cutter Facebook ad campaign won’t reach the same diversified audience of Pinterest, or Spotify.
Thinking first about the way people interact with social networks means you won’t waste time or money focusing the wrong marketing strategy in the wrong place.