One of the big appeals of social media is its ability to give every person a global megaphone. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. Global exposure can open up new audiences, new markets and new partnerships, making connections that couldn’t have happened any other way.
But in the excitement over our ability to easily connect with people on the other side of the world, it’s easy to forget that bigger isn’t always best. Depending on your product and your business goals, you might be better off focusing your social media to meet the needs of a fairly small, defined audience that has the potential to provide you with very high value.
Who are these high-value audiences? Here are some ideas:
- Present and past (inactive) clients plus screened high-potential prospects
- Your vendors and suppliers
- A small, highly-segmented niche audience
- Members of your industry/profession—especially if this is not a large group
- And extremely local or regional focus
Why should you focus your social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other sites) on reaching a small group when you could reach the world? There are several reasons:
- You need to get frequent feedback and input
- No one else is providing content that meets a unique need within the group
- You want to create ongoing dialogue and education to help clients use a product better, get more out of their investment, extend the life of the product they purchased, or address bugs, little-known features or off-the-spec-sheet applications
- You want to add value post-purchase through education, discussion and the creation of a community
- You want to capitalize on the local/regional appeal of your product by emphasizing hometown news, personalities, events and special offers that are only of value to people within a very small geographic area
You’ll need to make some decisions along the way. If your Facebook page or blog is invitation-only, then your set-up and settings must reflect that. Always remember that even when a site gives you the illusion of privacy, nothing is ever truly private on the internet. However, by restricting group membership, you can avoid a lot of spam and keep insider conversations (mostly) among yourselves. Make sure you restrict search engine settings, when possible; so that your members-only discussion doesn’t suddenly show up on page one of Google.
If you create a members-only site (on Ning, for example), you’ll need a plan for inviting the people you’d like to have as members and for sharing the value of the site with them. They will need an incentive to sign up, since most people have social media fatigue and shy away from new commitments.
If your site remains viewable to the public but has such an intensely niche focus that it will only be of interest to others who share your passion, consider promoting the site where your niche audience is already congregating, such as events, existing web sites, and in newsletters and publications they already read. Realize that other blogs and online communities will not want to promote a competitor, so avoid making invitations that could be seen as cannibalizing another site’s existing readers/members.
If you can buck the “too much is not enough” mindset prevalent in the social media community, you might just find that serving the needs of a small, passionate and loyal niche market pays handsomely for your business.
Author: Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and helps companies and solo professionals in the U.S. and Canada improve their marketing results in 30 days. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 20 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. Gail hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast. She’s the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book and 30 Days to Social Media Success. Find her online at http://www.gailmartinmarketing.com/, on Twitter @GailMartinPR and check out her Facebook page at 30 Day Results Guide.
Gail, well written. Your ideas gave me pause for thought a few moments; this concept it too easy to be missed only because most of us are in too much of a hurry to “Build Big”.
But BIG isn’t always better. I prefer the other option, as you suggest – customer focuses. When we focus more on them, and build that relationship, we get more ‘back’ from them –
I would rather have a small list of 500 “real customers” anyday than a large list of 5,000 pretenders.
– Paul Barrs
Online Business Podcast Center