I came across the following Q&A with Seth Godin in a magazine yesterday:
Q. How many social media sites should you use and what are the most important sites you should be using?
Seth Godin: This is a dangerous question, because it escalates the medium (social) above the purpose (communicating with permission). Use the tools that help you achieve you purpose. Too often we get confused about who we’re trying to please and end up pleasing no one.
Answering that question with a list of social networks to join presumes too much. It says that social media is a “one size fits all” sorta thing, and it’s not.
Instead, there’s a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before joining yet another social network…
1. Who’s your target audience (your customer)?
Who is your ideal client? Single, first-time home buyers? Or high-end luxury home buyers?
Marketer David Meerman Scott calls this process creating “buyer personas.” It’s when you take a buyer profile, and writing down everything you know about that person.
- What are their needs?
- What are their challenges?
- What kind of content do they respond well to?
Once you properly understand each of these things, you can go about creating appropriate content that speaks directly to those buyer personas.
The more content you create that specifically addresses their needs, the more they’ll continue to read. The more they read, the closer and closer they get to making a buying decision with you. But you only get there if your content is relevant.
2. How are you going to reach your potential buyers?
Where are they hanging out online? Are they reading blogs? Are they participating in social networks?
Before starting a blog for example, ask yourself the following:
- Who are you trying to reach with your blog?
- Is a blog the best marketing tool to reach them?
- What problems can you help them solve via your blog?
- What value (think differentiation) do you bring to the table?
- What search terms are people typing to find you? (This will help you name your blog and title your posts accordingly).
- What do you want people to do once they land on your blog? (Register, call you, subscribe, submit an inquiry via a contact form on a listing page, et cetera).
But this doesn’t just apply to the blog, this applies to every other social network you’re thinking of joining. Like Pinterest for example (the web’s latest rage):
- Who are you trying to reach via Pinterest?
- Is Pinterest the best marketing tool to reach these people?
- What problems can you help your target audience solve via Pinterest?
- What value do you bring to the table? Why should they connect with you there?
If you can’t really answer any of those questions, is it really worth your time to join this social network?
Using Content To Show Off Your Expertise
What Seth Godin was saying is that social media isn’t just about the numbers (i.e. the more networks I join, the better). That’s a poor way to approach marketing.
Instead, you need to properly identify your target audience and articulate their problems. Then, find appropriate places to engage with them and use your content to show off your expertise and offer potential solutions.
So the question isn’t, what are the best social networks that I should join? The question is, what social networks are right for me and the audience I’m trying to reach?
Matt Hayden says
Yes, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse, so to speak. But I do think it’s a good idea to join a few to see which ones you like.