I am often doing social media projects for clients. As part of that, I have to figure out how to make the most impact for limited dollars. But that is no different than what I normally do for any other marketing program.
In fact, that’s the point – social media, while it has different dynamics, is fundamentally no different than other marketing programs. You have a set of audiences you wish to reach. Audiences should (but often aren’t) defined by attitudinal and behavioral traits. You have a set of messages to deliver. You have a set of media you can produce in. And you have the communication channels to distribute that message (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – How Audience, Messages, and Content Impact the Selection of Social Media Channels
The goal is to get 6-10 impressions on the same audience through various channels within a specified period of time. Research shows that it takes 6-10 impressions for the average consumer to begin to ”notice” a message through today’s incredible media clutter, so that has to be the minimum target. That number, of course, can be delivered through other than online means (radio, tv, print, billboards), but given how easy it is to deliver messages online, it is worth trying to reach that number of channels online and then consider anything offline as an added benefit (or for those advertisers who use more traditional media, vice-versa). And let’s be clear, 6-10 impressions gets you noticed, but doesn’t necessarily get recognition or retention of the message. That can take hundreds of impressions – so it pays to use online as a vehicle to extend the brand and message reach, since it is easy to get into numerous channels.
How do you do this? The approach is to match your audience with media type and channels. In some cases an audience is reading- or text-oriented. In others, they like audio; others video. Most will be focused on multiple media options, with one as a preferred mode. Thus, you need to chose the right sites within a hierarchy of media for the audiences you want to reach (Figure 2).
Figure 2 – Example of a Media-Segmented Social Media Channel Architeecture
So let’s take an example. You are going to create a campaign around a new brand of soap. Three things make this soap different. First, it is “green” – meaning it provably has a reduced impact on chemicals that go down the drainpipe and into the water system. Second, it comes with a built-in case for travelling that is water tight but to which the soap doesn’t stick or get mushy (I wish). Third, it is half the price of products that don’t have these features. The soap will be sold directly from your website, from online retailers, in grocery stores, in drug stores, and in big box retailers like Target and Walmart.
We will continue the example tomorrow. Hopefully the suspense of the case study will get your attention through the media clutter and we’ll get you back.