Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Targeting Social Media Markets

Perhaps the least discussed and most misunderstood topic in social media marketing is the identification of who your social media audience. There is even disagreement about whether this topic worthy of discussion. Some argue that it makes no sense to attempt to segment your market because those interested in your content will naturally (organically) find you on the social Web, while others believe properly targeting your audience is the key to success in a social media marketing campaign.

As an example, Forrester Research has developed a sophisticated Social Techno-graphic Profile, which classifies market segments not only by traditional demographic and geographic means, but also by the roles people play in social media, such as content creators, critics, collectors, joiners, and spectators. This approach to target marketing social media participants is carefully explained and supported with cases by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li in their book Groundswell. The power of this model rests on the notion that once a company identifies their audience's makeup and level of participation in the social Web, then the organization can optimize its efforts by focusing on the social media platforms where potential customers are likely to hang out and tailor its approach to the type and level of involvement the target market is likely to engage in.

Whether you see targeting in social media marketing as a waste of time or a valuable tool to avoid wasting time, the following resources will provide insights worth your time. I look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions on the subject.


  1. When speaking of social media marketing I think that an assertive approach is a good idea. Waiting around for people to find you can take a while and most people stay in specific "safe" areas on the internet. I don't think that marketing should be assertive to the point of aggressive, shoving information down someones throat even in the virtual world is still frowned upon. Searching for your target consumers and finding what appeals to them in an area that is familiar to the consumer is allways a good idea. Advertising expensive cruises on a single working mothers forum is probably not the best idea. On the other hand advertising that same cruise on a wedding planning site would sit much better and probably have a much higher response rate. when it comes to social marketing I think that it is all about how it is approached and making sure that the content is appropriate and taseful.

    Laura Carlock

  2. Laura--being proactive is good idea in social media marketing. The most productive approach is to give more than you get. In other words, providing solutions to people's problems with your product or service is one great way to promote your business online.


  3. I do not see identifying your social media audience as a waste of time. Yes, it may take a little longer to find the target market that a company is looking for; however, in the long run it will make the results far worth that extra effort. Gaining more information about a company’s media audience before going out and trying to advertise their products to their consumers seems essential. A company may know how to advertise to the consumers they already have but what about their potential consumers? How is a company going to know how to reach its potential consumers without knowing their potential consumers media marketing involvement?

    Identifying a company’s social media audience may be the “least discussed and most misunderstood topic,” but I see it as essential. So if it is true that “sixty-seven percent of businesses say that the best source for advice on products and services are their consumers” than why not go through the extra effort to find and target those consumers.

    Kristina Sink

  4. If you know where your target audience "hangs out" of the internet then why not use that to your advantage? That does not seem like a waste of time to me at all. As a consumer I would be impressed that a company took the time to do some research and locate their target audience.

    I think targeting in social media marketing is a good tool to avoid wasting time. Although some people in your target audience will naturally find their way there are some that will not. By facilitating the access of a company's content to consumers more people will learn about the company. In order to maximize the number of potential consumers targeting sounds like the most sensible approach.

    Matthew Weaver

  5. I definitely agree with the belief that properly targeting your audience is the key to success in a social media marketing campaign. For me it only makes sense that targeting your audience is key to success in any marketing strategy on or off the Web.

    Identifying your audience's makeup,level of participation in the social Web, where they are most likely to hang out and the involvement they are likely to engage in, would be a great tool to help avoid wasting time in places where potential cliets won't even be.

    Yolanda K. Bowman

  6. I believe that targeting a specific group of clients would never hurt. I have known many products and services that I have found that I wasnt looking for. I believe that a service like this might be benefitial for many reasons. People who do not already know about the services can discover them through different marketing strategies. I think this would greatly help a companies chances of success. It sure wouldnt hurt them.
    Matthew Bruhn

  7. This article contains some very convincing arguments for using Social Media Marketing without a specific target market. This is especially beneficial to small organizations with more time than money. As the article points out, the target market does not have to be defined, and you can be found just as easy as a major international brand.
    Not having to choose a target market opens up more possibilities for the smaller organization to reach a wide range of people, who may be interested in a service or product. In other words, getting your brand name out by using Market Media tools is more essential to success than targeting when using Social Media Marketing.
    Charlene Sherman

  8. Charlene--although you can run a social media marketing campaign without knowing your intended audience and get luck with the results, a far better approach is to know who your audience is and select the social media platforms where they hangout to put in your effort. That way, you gain the largest return on investment.