Many clients come to us with a complicated situation.
They come to us and say something like “We have several products with different selling seasons. This one product is really important to us, so we’d like to write about that one first until its season is over, and then we can focus on other products.”
Most clients also have several potential segments they could target—financial buyers, recruits, different cities, et al. So how do you pick what to write about?
One of the things that we never lose sight of is that SMC helps marketers become publishers. When we talk about social media, we are still talking about media, meaning that you have to think like a media company.
The only way that a media company can succeed is if it’s humorlessly focused on who its target segment is. Target, McDonald’s and Chevy can try to target everyone with Super Bowl ads, because they’re billion dollar companies who have years of saturation-level advertising that has imprinted their brand in your brain.
But your business is probably not Target, McDonald’s, or Chevy. Your business needs to be focused.
And that’s where segmentation comes in. With social media (as with media), segmentation is destiny. You can tie your blogging to seasonal events, but if you do that, once the season ends, your relationship with your audience will also end.
Instead, you should connect your messages to the long-term needs of your target market. Remember: a business solves a problem.If you don’t solve a real problem for someone, you have a hobby, not a business. What are the problems that you help your customers solve? How does solving that problem make their life better? That’s what you blog about.
Unlike the many different products our clients have, the problems our clients solve aren’t tied to seasons. Every business has seasonality, but that just provides variations in the content you write. Don’t write a blog about raking leaves, write a blog about managing a property, and write posts about best practice in managing leaves when it’s relevant.
At the same time, make sure not to go too broad and try to please everybody. Successful media companies are relentless about targeting the customers they want, and ignoring the others. Mainstream media brands—from newspapers to magazines to prime-time TV—can no longer hold everyone’s attention. And if the New York Times, Newsweek, and NBC can’t do it, why do you think you can?
You’re in business because you have a strong value proposition–you understand your customers, their problems, and how you solve them. Social media is really just a great way to talk to more of those customers at scale.
Segmentation is destiny. Being rigorous about defining your segment and giving it the content it needs is the only way to succeed. Remember, strategy is about saying no.
Having the discipline to say no to the people who aren’t in your segment, and knowing exactly what problem you solve, will have you well on your way to social media success.
If you have any questions about segmenting your audience (or audiences) for social media, don’t be afraid to reach out to us in the comments or on Twitter. We do this for our clients every day and would love to help you.