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Why research is crucial before starting any social campaign

Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I... More

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There are thousands of social media channels available to us all. From blogging to Facebook, all of these channels are not created equal and for the same purpose. Just because a certain social media channel works well for some businesses, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you.

Wherever you look online you will find many videos, images, and the latest infographics about all the various social media statistics regarding the best social media channels. Some facts about social media:

  • Facebook isn’t big. It is massive 950-million users would make it the third largest country on Earth by population size.
  • Twitter has over 150-million active members.
  • Google+ has more than 170-million members.
  • Pinterest — the new kid on the block has over 10 million members.

These stats are really impressive, but just because there is a big hoo-ha about these statistics, it really doesn’t mean the audience you are trying to reach are on them. As explained in many blog posts and whitepapers online, it is advised your social media campaign should never start with the technology (social media channels). It should always start with the people you are trying to reach.

So how do you start by looking further than the impressive statistics of social media? Research, strategize and plan where, when, who, and how your customers are interacting online and then you can select the best channel out of your research.

To give you an example, if you are a small business that sells golf clothing online — you have done all your research, and you know exactly that your targeted demographic is woman between the ages of 25 and 34. If you are in the USA, UK, Australia, Japan or another big country in Europe, you are in luck. You can use the tool of Forrester’s Social Technographics to determine, where, when, and how your clients are busy using the internet.

With our above example it shows that most woman between the ages of 25 and 34 are using the internet, predominately as spectators, and sometimes as joiners and critics. They are not creators so they are primarily using online forums and Facebook, but they rarely post Tweets and they most likely don’t know anything about Google+.

So what can you do looking at that demographic to start building brand awareness for social media?

  • Create an optimised Facebook Fan page to build your presence by sharing interesting and relevant content.
  • Create a YouTube channel to highlight your products.
  • Follow online discussions on various niche golf related forums.
  • Create competitions with prizes will also be a good approach.

By looking at the data that the Forrester tool provides, the campaign would likely be more effective to use the above channels to reach the audience than Twitter. Social media changes every day and it is very important to remember that your success with social media will come from you researching and recognizing what your clients are doing online.

By understanding the market you would like to reach through evaluation and analysis, it will help you build the most effective digital marketing strategy possible.