Reaching people in social networks is like finding trees in a forest. Social ecosystems have natural-forming patterns; both in diversity and similarities. Modern messaging requires smart strategy and an understanding of the technology available. The cool part about all this “social media stuff’ is that you can track your success, measure your efforts, learn along the way and quantify your results. Rinse and Repeat.
Mass Communications Clearcutting
In forestry, there are several ways to harvest the trees you need — the clearcutting method and the selection cutting process. Mass media broadcasting taught us to clearcut a wide audience with hopes that a small percentage will be influenced to action.
This method remained in the early days of online marketing. In the 2000s, the slash-and-burn method was used to clear-cut across the internet. Massive email “blasts” and banner advertisements were measured by CPMs impressions. Email lists are now sold by the millions for little to nothing because they lost value. Banner ads have also become ineffective after the modern web audience learned to just ignore them.
Talk to any web marketer around in the late-90′s / early-2000′s and they will usually shake their head and make some jokes as they recount how fast mistakes were made. The legacy of the Dot-Com era is filled with stories about explosive growth and devastating results. No longer is the ultimate measure of online marketing about the number of eyeballs you can count. Even when you dig deeper into what social media can accomplish, you’ll find success goes beyond the number of “likes”or how many followers you have. The real question is “What is the engagement level of your brand within the community?” and “how do those conversations convert to business results?
Selectively Harvesting Your Audience
Selection harvesting chooses specific trees so that the integrity of the forest remains intact and the remaining trees are saved for future harvests. With social media, marketers have the information available to identify specifically which people they’re looking for — rather than wiping out an entire audience by blasting messages to them. Content marketing engages the right audience and builds strong communities around your brand. Sustainable strategy for communications in the 21st century learns from the past to deliver more respectful, thoughtful and impactful messaging.
Long-Term Targeting Strategies
Long-term success in social media marketing depends on how you cultivate, grow and maintain your audience. Plan to navigate change by measuring your impact and use a feedback loop to learn what messages resonate with people. The combination of social media monitoring and effective content marketing, will help guide your business decisions now and for years to come. Because technology will move faster than your organization can keep up, having an adaptable framework in place is imperative as consumers become more sophisticated.