When It Comes To Social Networks – Think Small

Perhaps the most important outcome due to the explosion in social networking is the realization that selling is again personal. It is the relationship you forge with your customers through all interactions that influence feelings towards brands, customer service, and value.  A billboard saying “I’m good – try me” is not as impactful as a friend saying the same thing.

Of course we have always known this, but in the past decade the ability to put messages in front of customers inexpensively (the web, email) clouded the practice strong personal messages.  The challenge now is that many organizations are focused on gathering as many ‘friends’ as possible without considering how to interact with them personally/locally.  Yes, there are still big-bang programs that work well with a huge number of followers (free tacos @ 12pm for example).  But how often does the typical marketer do a large scale event – and at what cost?

Let’s look at our own personal networks.  Many of us have hundreds of friends on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn or Twitter followers.  But how many do we truly interact with on a personal level.  If we only interact with 5 or 10% of our personal networks why do we think it would be any different for our business/corporate networks?

This brings me to the meat of this posting.  Think small.  Segment your business networks into categories and cater communication not to the masses but to the segment.  Pretend it is 1987 and we are diving into database marketing.  That is the mind-set we all need to have to successfully deal with our growing network of friends and followers.  Not sure where to start?  Here are a few suggestions 

  • When groups become too large, create sub groups for people to join.  Friends of “Acme Mousetraps” could become friends of “Acme Outdoor Mousetraps” or friends of “Acme Indoor Mousetraps”.  Force your customers/friends to be in smaller groups – so you can communicate on a more targeted/personal level
  • Enhance the data you collect with demographic/psychographic profiles to create clusters.  Use these clusters to design a communications plan for each segment
  • Test messages among the groups you create and roll-out with the best performing creative – or overall communications plan.  Social networks are not a stand-alone channel.  They need to be part of a larger strategic plan
  • Understand who among your friends are customers, strong prospects, or just lurkers who liked a cool video you posted.  Do not invest too much time in the lurkers – just as you would not invest as much in a non-performing list segment.  Over time I think we will all realize that the lurker is a good a segment as the “premium grabber” who registers to win a free gift but is not ever going to convert to a profitable customer

Until next time, happy marketing.

Jon

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