“Useful. Interesting. Relevant.” Putting the audience first and finding the middle ground.
“Useful, interesting and relevant”
Those three little words have very much become my mantra over the past couple of years since I started being asked widely to talk with organisations about social media and how they can integrate it into their marketing-communications activities.
It’s now more widely accepted and understood that in order to successfully engage with target audiences through social media organisations need to:
- accept that social media is about individuals communicating with other individuals
- understand that social media is all about conversation, not push messaging
- appreciate that all social media spaces are conversations, with every network unique to every participant, and not an advertising platform.
Accepting and understanding these three things gets you a fair way to beginning to think about integrating social media into any communications or engagement strategy that you may have (I err away from the term ‘marketing strategy’ here as I don’t really believe social media is about marketing, but is instead about communication and engagement). However, the next step is really to think about the audience (and remember that you’re dealing with an audience of individuals, not a homogenous group of faceless and nameless drones). Any social media engagement strategy must first understand what it is that the target audience wants and needs, and the kinds of things that they find useful, interesting and relevant. Then the organisation needs to consider what it wants or needs to say to that audience – what the message is. A successful social media engagement strategy will then find the middle ground – something that the organisation can offer that the audience wants, needs, or finds interesting, relevant or useful, but also something that resonates with the messages or the objectives of the communications campaign. I’ve represented this in the following image: