The Marketing Strategist:

ITSMA Featured Research: It's Not Only About the Content

May 4, 2010

Before marketers decide how to incorporate social media into the marketing strategy, they must have a good understanding of who their target audience is and how that audience uses social media. This is true for all marketing vehicles. Not everyone will want to interact with your company and your content in the same way. For example, older CEOs may prefer attending small, face-to-face events with their peers. Meanwhile, IT managers may prefer to connect with their peers through a private online community. Yes, content is extremely important to your success, but that’s only part of it. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t work in the real world. Marketers can have the most relevant, innovative, and interesting content out there, but if they disseminate it through channels that their target audiences don’t care about, they’ll fail. This is where research comes into play. Marketers must do their homework—by researching their target audiences’ behavior and channel preferences. In ITSMA’s recent social media survey, a paltry 16% of respondents say that they have a good understanding of their target audience’s social media behavior. Additionally, only about 26% are currently researching their target audience’s usage of social media to discover where they hang out. If your target audience isn’t interested in networking through an online community, then don’t waste your time and money by building one just because your competitor is. Marketers can’t get ahead of themselves. They must lay the foundation by doing the research before anything else. Without this research, marketers will be relegated to passive monitoring, rather than engaging with and eventually managing their community, which is where the real benefits are seen. To learn what else marketing must do to be successful with social media, take a look at our social media survey report.

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