Social media is changing the way companies and organizations do business. Gone are the days of traditional media campaigns focusing on TV, radio and print; in are the days of Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. The reality is, if you can’t keep up online, you won’t be able to keep up at all. It’s now possible, and crucial, to maintain a two way dialogue with customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Everyone is just a few keystrokes away.
Many companies and organizations are eager to jump into the social media world as quickly as possible, as they should be, but they often make the mistake of jumping in without really knowing what their audience wants. They just start tweeting, blogging and facebooking. But you wouldn’t create a TV ad campaign without first researching your target audience, and the same should go for social media.
Surveying your audience is an often overlooked, but crucial, part of creating an effective social media strategy. Not doing so puts you in danger of missing the mark when it comes to engaging and building relationships with your customers.
There are numerous benefits to taking time to learn about your audience. For one, you’ll find out what their interests are and be able to avoid spending time talking about things they don’t want to hear. You’ll learn about their communication style, and figure out the trigger words, phrases and questions that catch their attention. All of this will enable you to position yourself as their “go-to-source” for content that they’ve asked for. It’s invaluable in creating an effective social media strategy that appeals to your target.
The easiest way to find out all of these things out is with an online survey. They’re easy to make, take, and analyze. When creating your survey, the most important part is the questions themselves. Make sure you keep them concise and specific to the research goals. A short and sweet survey will invite many more responses.
You don’t have to directly ask your customers what they want you to talk about, although that is one possible route. Asking whether they’d be most interested in industry news, promotions or product information would give you some very useful information, for example. You can also, however, ask more general questions to gain a better understanding of your audience’s online personality and habits. For example, ask them to list their favourite blogs and websites, or how much time they spend a day surfing the internet. These questions won’t give you direct information about what they want from you, but they will give you valuable insights.
Gathering such insights will help you find out what you’re audience is interested in, and you can then use it to craft posts, tweets and other content that will grab their attention. You’ll be able to provide content that is highly valued and catapult your social media presence!
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