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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.