A big part of developing a social media strategy involves understanding the target audience you’re are trying to communicate with.
Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski of Harvard University has developed one of the most thought provoking hypothesis on why social network users behave the way they do. I recommend reading about his studies, which you can do so here
According to Piskorski, social networks are the most useful when they address the failures of off line networks. I think of social networks as a complimentary system for our off line networks.
What makes social networks appealing and useful is their syndication. Piskorski addresses this clearly. By utilizing social networks, we are able to reach relevant people faster and in larger quantities. This is the major benefit of social networking to me. Being able to reach peers, industry leaders, and consumers has become easier through social networks.
The most interesting excerpt from the article is where Piskorki gives the analogy of a group of friends sitting around a table talking. An advertiser, that no one at the tables knows, sits down and starts talking about a product that none of the friends have an interest in. How do you think that sales pitch is going to go?
We shouldn’t treat our social network interactions with consumers any differently than we would treat our face-to-face interactions.
This is the hard part for marketers and businesses. It is our natural inclination to want social media to act like traditional media. We want a one-way message to do the trick, but it will never work. Even though we understand the necessity for communication in social media, we often don’t take the time to craft a message that invites a conversation. We need to make sure that our social strategies make sense to who we are trying to communicate with. They should understand our product and why we are talking to them. If they don’t become engaged, then we have wasted both our time and our money.