I heard this from a marketing professional at a conference yesterday. As I was scheduled to speak directly after him, I had 45 minutes to convince the audience otherwise.
His reasoning against social media as a form of community engagement was this – You may only have 300 Facebook fans, and 500 Twitter followers. You can access more people via a letterbox drop.
His problem? He hadn’t considered (or attached a value to) audience segmentation. Marketing and communication is not a one-size-fits-all solution – it needs to be specifically designed with an objective in mind, and communicated via channels that are appropriate and relevant to the audience/s you are targeting.
If you are a local council, for example, you have a diverse audience, making market segmentation absolutely critical.
It doesn’t make sense to use a letterbox drop to target 16-year old James and his 18-year old sister Lauren to raise awareness for a local youth event, when their daily pre-breakfast ritual is to log in to Facebook or Twitter (and continue to check their feed at any possible opportunity!).
Instead of looking at the limitations presented by the size of your audience, look at how your social media followers contribute to the big picture of your marketing plan.
Yes, you may have only 300 Facebook fans out of a potential community of 50,000. But 250 of those fans may read your post and engage with your brand via social media. They may comment and share your post, providing exposure to a wider audience (although not necessarily a relevant one).
Those same 250 fans may not have access to (or may not even bother reading) your letterbox drop, so you are winning. You just communicated to a segment of your audience that you may not have otherwise tapped in to.
Single-channel marketing doesn’t work. It can’t. We are all different, and each of us embrace different methods of communication unique to our background, our age, and even our gender.
And even as I am writing this I think I have identified the issue – he had a few more grey hairs than me. 😉 I’m pretty sure we both fall into completely different market segments, and while he has his paper delivered, I read mine on-screen.
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