Social Media Serendipity Marketing is Over!

It’s time for businesses to get to grips with social media and not rely totally on serendipity to advertise themselves.  Digital natives don’t like overt marketing in their social spaces – banner ads on social networking sites have a click through rate of 0.05%, so why spend money on them?

It’s time to start using the term ‘social commerce’ and treat this as a business in the same way you would approach any marketing function. For example, marketers seem to have forgotten about market segmentation, despite it being the cornerstone of all marketing strategies.

After studying marketing in depth and learning about this fundamental practice and then entering work and spending thousands of pounds on research projects to define their markets by demographics, psychographics, sociographics, synchrographics, ethnographics and so on, marketers still regress back to spray and pray advertising on social media networks.

So what’s the answer?  So-called social media (not commerce) ‘gurus’ will say social media marketing is all about engagement and conversations.  Well it is and it isn’t.  It’s not particularly practical, nor cost effective to have conversations with all of your consumers, so pick a place on the engagement continuum where it’s practical and cost effective to engage. But who would be the most useful people to converse with? This is where segmentation begins to make sense.

Apply traditional segmentation strategies where you can – social media is rich with segmentation data, for example, psychographics involves analysing  and relating to consumers by Activities, Interests and Opinions (AIO).  Using surveillance tools it’s possible to build up a constellation chart of consumers who are expressing an AIO that is relevant to your brand. You can then start engaging and conversing with these users and incite them to act as your ‘eInfluencers’, brand mavens and community evangelists.  You can then start, if you insist, promoting your brand in the areas where they and their fans and followers are ‘hanging out’. Be aware however, that as soon as you place a banner ad there, you will lose them.

We are running a formal research project into market segmentation strategies in the context of social commerce with Henley Business School. If you would like to benefit from this grounded and objective study, find out more here