Social Media Relationship Thermometers

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by Steve Holt on August 1, 2016

If you are a marketer, you spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to connect to your target demographic.  It’s critical to make sure that your efforts to reach a certain age, gender, economic social status, etc, are present in the places where those folks hang out and go each day.  In some cases it’s pretty easy to figure out.  If you sell products and services to hunters, then it would probably make sense to at least have some sort of presence in places like sporting goods stores, Field and Stream magazine, etc.  But what if your target demographic is teenagers and the younger demographic?  Geesh, where do you need to have a presence to reach them?

I think one place that is a pretty easy decision to make is in the various social media services that are available today.  I talk to many businesses who have it as a goal to market on social media and that is a special challenge.  I have written here for years that marketing on social media isn’t as easy as people may think.  There are so many things that you can do wrong and many ways to waste your money.  And with a demographic like younger people who seem to quickly hop from one social media channel to the next, it can be hard to keep up.

So what do you do?  You have to stay on top of it.  I give this advice all the time… if you want to use social media channels to market, you have to be willing to constantly try new things and see how they work and what the ‘community’ is doing.  That takes time.  And in come cases, money.  If you are still only using Facebook to market, you are making a grave mistake.  What about Instagram?  And Snapchat?  Have you forgotten about Periscope and Meerkat?  When was the last time you talked to people in the younger demographic?  I am sure you have some of them as employees, so when was the last time that you asked them about their social media use?  What do they use with their friends?

I want to end this post with an interesting conversation that I listened to the other day with one of my kids who is in college, and it relates to the name of this post… ‘Social Media Relationship Thermometers’.  They were talking to some of their friends about the different social media channels they use with their friends.  Specifically, they were talking about how they viewed each social media channel in regard to their relationships.  I thought it was fascinating, so I thought I would share what I heard.

Apparently, in their world of college students, Facebook is viewed as “where my family is”.  They are reluctant to ‘friend’ someone on Facebook unless they are willing to “introduce them to my family.  That’s a pretty big step, so I don’t just friend anyone”.  Instagram is a much more casual place where it general is the first step in a relationship.  “It’s just pictures.” is what I heard.  It’s an easy way to get to know someone, and like they said, very casual.  Snapchat is a place where they only connect with their close circle of friends.  It is where they share much more personal glimpses into their life, so they save those connections for their closest friends.

Admittedly, these are comments from a small group of students at one college campus.  Hardly a scientific study, but I would say it brings up a much bigger issue that you need to be aware of when trying to market on social media.  You better test the ‘temperature’ in that community and figure out how they are using the tool before jumping in like a marketing battering ram.  If you act contrary to what that community has come to expect, you’ll push away the very people you are trying to attract.

 

 

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