When planning your social media activity, it is critically important to understand your consumers’ natural behaviour on social media, with technology, and in the offline world to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts. Hands down, the most successful activity on social media taps into consumers’ natural behaviour while adding real value.

Trying to get consumers to adopt a behaviour that is foreign to them is like pushing water up hill. You’ll be met with great resistance, engagement will be low, and you’ll be left wondering why your innovative new use of social media was a complete flop.

Natural Behaviour on Social Media

There are a number of key behaviours you are going to want to identify to maximize your social media marketing efforts. If you can get a handle on what types of content they are creating, what they are sharing with their social graphs, how they engage with brands, and what platforms they use and why they use them, you’ll be well equipped with knowledge to apply to your social media and content strategies.

Natural Behaviour with Technology

Consumers’ natural use of technology is also important to consider when planning your marketing programs. People use technology in different ways, and knowing what pieces of technology they use, why they’re using technology, their varying levels of comfort with basic or advanced functionality, times of day that tech gets used, and so forth, are very important insights to have on your targeted consumers.

Natural Behaviour in the Real World

Some of the most powerful uses of social media and technology are achieved when they serve to enhance a consumer’s life in the real world. Having a deep understanding of how your consumers live, what is important to them when they aren’t online, and identifying opportunities to enhance their lives is important insight to have.

When you gain a thorough understanding of your consumers’ natural behaviour on social media, with technology, and in the real world, there are a number of ways this information can be applied.

Following are a few examples:

Level of Involvement

Whether you’re deciding on an entry mechanic for a social media promotion or crowdsourcing content, factor in the level of involvement that your consumers will be comfortable with. For some people, uploading a photo will be second nature, for others, it’ll be seen as being a lot of work. Don’t ask people to do anything they’re not comfortable with, or won’t be excited to participate in.

Platform Selection

Don’t waste your time developing an innovative new program for Pinterest if your target demographic isn’t already engaging on the platform. Select the platforms to engage on based on what your consumers are currently using.


Use your deep understanding of natural consumer behaviour to develop your KPIs. Commonly, I’ll see KPIs that in no way, shape or form align with consumer behaviour, and then the success of a program or content gets called into question when they aren’t met. At the end of the day, not every measure is going to be meaningful and relevant, so choose the ones that are, and measure success based on those.

Content Format

Just because you’ve produced a killer podcast on a highly relevant topic doesn’t mean your consumers are going to want to listen to it. If they aren’t prone to downloading and listening to podcasts, don’t waste your time producing them. When you’ve learned what formats of content are most frequently engaged with, focus your efforts in those areas.

Technology Use

There is a reason why QR codes never took off. The tech is pretty cool, but they require consumers to use their mobile devices in an unnatural and cumbersome way. By the time a consumer downloads a special app to scan the QR code, or finds it on their phone and launches it, they probably could have opened their mobile browser and typed in a URL. Always think about how your target demo uses technology and what they’ll be comfortable with, and stick with that for your marketing efforts.

I always find it to be a shame when I come across an innovative new social media program, or use of technology, that I know is going to fall on its face because it is asking consumers to do something, engage or behave in an unnatural way. Pushing limits and innovating are things that I’ll always endorse, but I highly recommend spending time figuring out not just how you can innovate, but how you can do so in a way that will be meaningful, useful and natural to your consumers.

If you have any thoughts or experience on this subject that you’d like to share, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

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