One of the first precepts aspiring writers learn is to “write for your readers.” A technical audience is different from a business one. C-level executives respond to different messages than do mid-level management. Every industry and profession has its own “language.”
The challenge in social media is to be able to consider the needs of multiple audiences at once, because even though you may be aiming a tweet, blog post or Facebook update at a particular group, everyone can see it. Here are five audiences to keep in mind when posting any content or engaging in social media interactions.
Prospective Customers: the most obvious audience. What kind of content will attract them? Think “smart and helpful.” Listen for their problems. Develop content that shows (in a not-too-self-promotional manner) you know how to solve them. Interact and engage with them in their preferred social media venue.
Current Customers: it’s not just customer service. Customer want to know about new developments at your firm, new uses for your products, and successes other customers have achieved. Even more important in the social media realm, however, they want the opportunity to have input. Give them ways to share their ideas, ask questions and express their opinions. Engage them. Your current customers aren’t always interested in what you have to say to prospects, but the reverse is certainly true: prospects will investigate what your customers are saying about you, and watch you interact through social media with them. Make it good.
The Media: more than 75% of journalists say they use social media to research stories. Media and public relations activities are no longer separate from social media marketing. Journalists will look at your content when seeking industry experts to quote. More importantly, they’ll be looking at what your customers are saying about you—and how you respond—when writing about industry trends and developments. If you’re telling journalists about the wonderful benefits your new product delivers, your customers had better be backing up that story.
Other Industry Influencers: bloggers and other social media influencers don’t have the same motivations as journalists and shouldn’t be approached the same way (a point that an awful lot of PR firms have yet to figure out, judging by most of the pitches I see). They will share and amplify your content, if it is interesting and useful. Press releases very rarely meet that standard. Instead, provide shareable resources: how-to blog posts, online tools, infographics, industry-specific glossaries, useful lists, video—any content that has value and is creative.
Prospective Partners: social media is great for connecting with collaborators. Make your value clear, be open to partnering, and then (assuming you’ve followed the “smart and helpful” mantra), others looking for what you to offer in order to supplement their own value will find you.