In today’s digital lifestyle when you are looking closely to what is happening on the social web, you will realize that one shoe doesn’t fit all. Just because one social media channel is working wonders for your neighbor’s business doesn’t mean it will definitely work for you. Many times I get bombarded by clients that have read an article online regarding the growth of all the big social networks and why they should be using those channels in their social media marketing strategy to grow their business.

Facebook isn’t just big with more than 900 million members, it is massive. Twitter has over 200 million users, Google+, and LinkedIn is also picking up. The sizes of these social media channels is overwhelming, but just because these numbers are huge, doesn’t really mean your target audience (customers) are on them. It is vital that you understand that just a generic approach cannot be used for a social media marketing strategy.

Strategize, research, and plan

So how are you going to get past this hurdle when your clients insist on using the big social media channels because those numbers are pretty impressive? It is quite simple. Strategize, research, research, research, plan, and research again. By researching, you will know when, where, how, and who your target audience is. Let’s say you have a small business that sells plumbing equipment. You have done all your research and you know that your demographic is men between 35 and 44. Using a tool such as the Social Technographics Tool from Forrester, you will be able to determine, when, where, and how your target audience is using the web.

With our example above, the tool shows that men between the ages of 35 and 44 are using the web mostly as spectators. The majority are not creators – meaning they are primarily using online forums and Facebook. This demographic hardly ever tweets and most likely never heard of Foursquare.

So what should you create to target this demographic? Launch a blog and create a Facebook Fan Page for your business. When you publish a new blog post, share the content on your Facebook Fan Page. They should also share other relevant information on that Facebook Fan Page to grow their presence on the social networking giant. Another effective way that they can target “spectators” is by creating a couple of tutorial YouTube videos and posting them on  their blog, and Facebook page. This will be a better way of targeting their audience than using Twitter.

The social web changes at the speed of light

The social web is changing every day and it is very important that you remember that the success of your social media campaign comes from recognizing what makes your customers different from one another. Truly understanding your target audience through evaluation and analysis, will definitely help you to build the most effective digital marketing strategy possible.

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