We regularly tell clients that social networks are like a room full of people and brands have an opportunity to interact with them. In some cases the room belongs to you (for example your Facebook page) and the people ‘in’ there are already friends. In other cases – like twitter – the room is full of all sorts of people and only some of them will choose to actively listen to you, by ‘following’ your brand. But everyone is available for you to talk to and listen to if you choose to.
With that amount of possible interactions, it is important that you work out who your brand should be talking to and the ways to have the conversations that matter. The first step to doing this is to know who you want to be talking to.
The process is sometimes called persona creation and it has been around for a very long time. The difference now is that there are many more ways of talking to people and so knowing who you want to talk to is even more important.
A basic way to understand how to approach this element of your communications is to imagine your perfect customer. You should be able to conjure up their typical day and by doing that make assumptions about their psychographics, demographics and sociographics. You should think about everything from how your perfect customer exercises, where they work, what they do at the weekend, where they live, how they socialise and what motivates them. Write it all down and try to get to know these people.
Once you have done this then you can start to understand where they spend time online, what publications they read and which social networks they use. And then you can craft messages that are appropriate and talk to them in a way that they will respond to.
Obviously in a real-life social situation, you would instinctively understand who you are talking to and make an assessment of how to engage with them. The same is true of your communications channels – there are just more people to talk to.