“Know your audience”… a time honoured piece of advice that every business owner/manager says they follow. In reality, few actually do. Especially when it comes to the utilisation of social media and the other assorted internets. How often do you see a stray social media post like this, “Follow us for more information” or “We’re going to be more active, so please ‘like’ our Facebook page”?

Bit pathetic, right? source: memgenerator.net
Bit pathetic, right? source: memgenerator.net


Seriously, who should follow you? Why should they do so? Why do you want to connect with them? There is no business on this planet that can count everyone as part of their audience. Not even Governments can! So why do we insist on trying to fill our online audiences with as many people as possible?

If you target everyone, you will connect (truly connect) with no one. And in the world of social media and the connected economy this leads to zero attention, trust, and success. The moment you start trying to attract everyone with your social messages, you alienate everyone.

Ok, lets say you do attract the attention of an audience – lets say mums – with your town-cryer type messages: So you’ve attracted the attention of mums after mentioning a product or service that they are interested in – you have their attention. But wait, your audience is everyone! So the next day you post (push) messages that resonate with dads – they become your audience. But the mums see this, and as a result lose faith in you to provide them with the relationship they seek – so you lose that audience. This rolls on for a few months until you’ve done a big cycle of all the demographics that may require your product/service – then what?

You’ve lost your entire audience!

Check your caring competitors theatre…

“Everyone” has come and gone, and you’re left with the knowledge of “how to tweet”, but no one to tweet with (not ‘to’ or ‘at’) – by the way Twitter is a conversational tool, just in case that “expert” hadn’t mentioned it. And in an online (and offline) world of noise, freedom, and an abundance of conversations and content, no part of this audience is ever coming back – unless you create nappies that produce money or something.

Shut up. Think hard. Who do you truly want to build relationships with? Long term relationships.

Go internal with this. “Wait, what? Go internal? But that won’t increase sales. We need to be out there in front of our audience.” – if you’ve just had this thought, stop, read this post again from the top. Connected consumers are no longer one-off sales opportunities, they are human beings with feelings and continual needs. For them to stay as your audience (where you receive all those benefits like word of mouth promotion) they require a long term investment in the relationship with them. It’s like having a girlfriend, if you go to a bar and start chatting up other girls she will leave you – in the social web era she will punch you in the man-bits, tell all her friends, cause a stir at your place of work…you get the gist. Or worse, she will just leave, take all your stuff, and you will forever wonder why.

TIP: who was there at the start of your business? Who was there during the bad times? Who sticks around amidst a scandal? Who do you have the best relationship with? Who do you love the most? Who do you love being with on a daily basis?

THEY ARE YOUR AUDIENCE. Cherish them. Ignore the rest…until they become a member of that audience you cherish the most. The hot girl always ends up with the good guy who cherishes his friends and family. It might take her a while, but it always happens at the end of film.

Who do you want to be with at the end of the film…going into the prequel?