In the social media jungle, there are several regions, where you will meet all kinds of colourful target groups. But first, they need to be discovered and put under the microscope. Get to know them and decide, if you may match up just perfectly.
Welcome back to our expedition through the social media jungle! In the first part of our series we have already provided you with the necessary equipment: you are already familiar with the emergence of Web 2.0 and the most important channels and their functions. But that was only the beginning.
First things first: Define personas
If you want to market your products or services via social media, you have to know your target group inside out. Here, the approach does not differ from other marketing activities: Who is my target group? Defining personas is helpful here. These are fictitious persons whose characteristics, interests and wishes are recorded in writing on user sed cards (similar to a short biography) in order to make the potential target group more tangible. Relevant information is for example:
- Sociodemographic data: Age and gender
- General interests and attitudes: What interests the persona? Is the persona a fan of something? Are they rather conservative or open-minded? What is their life goal?
- Motivation: Which of your services have a motivating effect on the persona?
- Social media usage: Which tools and platforms does the persona use and how? Which brands and influencers does it follow? What content do they consume preferably? What do they find entertaining? How does the persona interact with other users?
- Customer journey: What role does social media play in the respective purchase phase? What incentives them to buy, what to abandon? What triggers the persona to embrace your offer? Does the persona like watching videos or tutorials? What does the persona want to see, before making the purchase?
- Wishes: Here the different attitudes of the generations X, Y and Z have to be taken into account. For example, a persona from generation Z will not perceive a product, if there is no content about it on YouTube.
Excursus: Wishes, goals and social media behavior of generations X, Y and Z
Generation X – sandwich generation between baby boomers and generation Y
- Demography: born between 1960 and 1980
- Living conditions: They have grown up in prosperity, are established in the labour market and have founded families.
- Attitude towards life: Questioning authorities and gender roles
- Media affinity: first generation to spend their leisure time in front of the TV and computer
- Media use: primarily TV, radio, blogs and online magazines. They prefer to consume digital content on their laptops between 20:00 and 23:59. Only 17% use their smartphones for mobile Internet use. Their favourite social media channels are Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Generation Y – Millennials, who "would rather go a month without breakfast, than without a smartphone”
- Demography: born between 1980 and 2000
- Attitude to life: They unite values that were still incompatible for the previous generation (time pressure + work-life balance, solidarity + freedom, fun + responsibility, convenience + significance, publicity + protection of privacy).
- Media affinity: they grew up with the Internet, think digitally and are always online. The smartphone is with them at all times.
- Media use: Classic media can only reach millennials digitally and mobile, but they are still important to them. They want content that is not as much negative as entertaining, critical and easy to digest.
- Purchasing behaviour: Communication and shopping behaviour is determined by the web and the social media. Convenience and responsibility are the decisive buzzwords. Products are only bought, if they are useful and the service is of high quality.
Generation Z – the newcomers
- Demography: born since 2000
- Attitude to life: In today's fast-moving world, they have a need for security and like planning for the future. They are not focused on a career, but on regular working hours and a good working contract.
- Media affinity: The first generation to grow up completely in the digital age, at a time, where the boundaries between virtual and real are becoming increasingly blurred.
- Media use: Everyday media life is characterized by chats, videos and Instagram stories, 84% can no longer imagine everyday life without WhatsApp. TV is passé, 34% of Generation Z no longer watch television. They prefer to use musica.ly and Snapchat to record videos and music themselves. They consider Facebook to be their parents' network, while WhatsApp and YouTube always come first.
- Purchasing behavior: The younger, the more active the users of this generation are on social media. Convincing them of brand messages is more difficult, however, because commercial advertising doesn't attract them – thanks to AdBlock it doesn't even get to them. The only way to reach this target group is to distribute it through the social media users themselves. Influencers are the only mouthpiece left that marketers have today to present their messages to this young target group.
The classification of the various dates of birth can vary by several years. In addition, characteristics from previous generations can also be found in subsequent generations. Chances are, you already knew about these three classifications, but have you heard of Lohas 2.0 or Young Globalists? In 2018, Westend61 defined four new lifestyle groups for marketers. A look at their blog is definitely worth it!
The Jungle Dwellers
Once the personas have been created, you will have to structure your target group. In 2006, Forrester Research, one of the world's most influential research and consulting companies, developed a concept to categorize social media users into seven subgroups, according to their behavior:
These creators produce various content such as blogs, videos or music themselves and publish it online. They are quite a small group, but their content greatly enriches their community.
What can you do for Creators? Integrate them into your network and make publication of content as easy as possible.
This group uses social media to exchange information with other users, the focus being on conversation. They comment on postings and contributions and chat with messenger apps.
What can you do for Conversationalists? Offer plenty of opportunities for dialogue.
- Critics Collectors:
This group is also very involved in forums and contributions, but the focus is not as much on personal exchange, than it is on criticism and the dissemination of one's own opinion. They share their experiences in the form of wikis, write-ups and reviews. A distinction must be drawn between so-called "trolls", users whose interaction and communication is purely aimed at provoking other discussion participants.
What can you do for Critics? Enable comment functions and provide forums and wiki technologies.
These users have a passion for collecting: they subscribe to RSS feeds and alerts, bookmark and tag interesting content to add it to their digital collection. They gladly rate websites and content and take part in surveys.
What can you do for Collectors? Give them the opportunity to store, share, and rate your content.
These "tag-alongs" have created a profile in order to be “in" and stay in contact with friends and acquaintances. They are therefore less active, when it comes to publishing their own content.
What can you do for Joiners? Joiners must be able to register easily, preferably with links to Facebook or Twitter.
These silent observers follow content creators very closely, but do not publish anything themselves. In that way, they form the largest group among the social media jungle residents.
What can you do for Spectators? Offer them quickly consumable content in the media channel, relevant to your target group.
Inactive are not proactive in social media. They only come across social media offers incidentally, when they look up special interest topics in search engines.
What can you do for Inactives? Optimise your content in a way that it can be easily detected by search engines and interested parties can find your services without problems.
Target group? Check. Now, what is your goal?
In 2017, Bitkom surveyed 639 German companies with 20 or more employees on the relevance of various goals in social media marketing. The results were as follows: Accordingly, companies are mainly concerned with increasing the number of website visitors, increasing awareness of their own products or brands and demonstrating a willingness to engage in dialogue. Do you agree? Think carefully about what is most important for your company at the moment. When that's done, it's time to get down to business.
how to SET S.m.a.r.t.goals
Don't be afraid to define and express your social media goals precisely. It is important that the goals are S.M.A.R.T.:
- Specific: Define what exactly you want to achieve with your campaign. Are you, for example, interested in making your company more visible or approaching new employees?
- Measurable: Set measurable goals that you want to achieve, e.g.: You wish to increase your number of followers by 20% in a certain period of time.
- Achievable: Social media goals must be both feasible and challenging enough to provide an incentive for your employees. If you set your goals too low, you diminish the importance of the campaign.
- Realistic: It's better to set goals that you can realistically achieve with some effort. As a small business, gaining 30 new followers every month is a success already.
- Timely: Social media goals need a time frame that doesn't give procrastination a chance. At the same time, it strengthens employees' sense of responsibility and enables them to evaluate the success of the campaign.
The right channel – it’s all about the target group
You now got to know the inhabitants of the jungle and their behaviour. Also, the goals of your activities should be defined by now. Now, you will probably realize that you can never cover the whole tropical area and that every social media channel and that creating content for every single target group and every social media channel is too big of a task. The good news is, you don't have to do that. As a company, you don't have to be present on every channel – you only have to be where your target group is the most. Setting priorities and making decisions for or against channels and target groups is the magic formula here.
Are you still unsure? It is often worth taking a look at your competitors: Which channels do they use? Which of your contributions achieve high interaction rates and which do not? It is also important that the selected medium matches your company and your corporate identity. A lawyer probably won't be able to reach his target group on TikTok or Snapchat.
Overwhelmed? Get an overview
The 2018 Social Media Prisma is a campaign by Digital Pionier, Marketing Artist & Futurist, Sten Franke and the Ethority team. It shows the social media landscape with all relevant channels and is now considered the quality standard for the most relevant social media platforms, tools and providers. More than 250 providers are listed in 25 categories.
And again, another stage lies behind us. We finally came across the inhabitants of the social media jungle, observed their preferences and behaviour. We now know what the destination of our journey is and how we can define it in concrete terms in order to get where we really want. But now, we have to pause once more. We need a strategy, because from now on the road will be more and more challenging. We have to cross rapids of time pressure and each of our steps has to be meticulously planned, so that we do not get pulled in by the interaction quicksand. In the third part of the series, we develop a battle plan together, a strategy to really achieve the defined goals – despite all the challenges ahead.
Grabs, Anne/Bannour, Karim-Patrick/Vogl, Elisabeth: Follow me! Erfolgreiches Social Media Marketing mit Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest und Co. Bonn: Rheinwerk Computing. 2019.
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