At this point in the process, you should have determined the granular consumer profile groups that buy your product or that you want to buy your product. You put in the legwork to find out where these profile groups spend their time when they’re consuming media. You know who to reach and you know where to reach them. Now, the all important question: HOW do you reach them?

It’s probably not productive to go through the foundations of advertising as far as commercial or ad construction. The main point is that once you know exactly who you’re targeting and where they’re spending their time, you need to open a dialogue with those consumers. Of course you need to increase brand awareness and deliver information about your company and its products through your advertising. At the same time, though, it’s important that it’s a lot more than just that. You need to demonstrate that your company cares about and understands the specific group of people you’re targeting. You need to speak to their concerns, their desires, their motivations. Once you start thinking about your marketing in these terms, it becomes a conversation with your audience as opposed to you shouting and hoping someone can hear you. This is where social media comes in.

By now, everyone in the marketing field understands the power of social media to disseminate ideas throughout consumer groups. The problem I see most companies suffering from in their corporate media is that they use it as another advertising platform—that’s simply the wrong mindset. Social media is best for dissemeniting ideas & content, keeping up with people, and generally staying informed. You as a social media consumer don’t want ads all over the content you’re seeking out; what makes you think your customers will feel any differently?

The key to successful social media marketing is to create a legitimate dialogue between your brand and your target consumer groups. You can’t talk at them, you have to listen every bit as much you’re producing content. The best brands at this listen to what their target consumer profile groups are saying throughout social media, not just about the brands themselves. By doing that, they gain an even more intimate understanding of what types of content and messaging will appeal to those groups. When consumers give you feedback through social media, respond to them. Repost funny or interesting things that you come across—if you enjoyed it, chances are, your audience probably will too. You need to give your audience a reason to tune into what you’re saying so that when you do say something about your brand, they’re already listening.

Brand identitiy provides one of the other most important considerations on which you need to decide. Your brand needs to have a consistent tone and voice throughout all of your social accounts. Is it important to be incredibly professional in a B2B, c-suite style? Do you need to be funny yet respectful? Can you afford to be snarky and irreverent? Would that even be beneficial? You have to decide what you want your brand to sound like and stick to it. People want personality in their social media and your brand is no diferent.

Once you’ve determined your social media personality, you’re off to the races. Just remember that your corporate social media is not another advertising platform—it’s an opportunity to learn more about your consumers and connect with them organically. Make sure you’re producing enough content personally relevant to your target audience members that they won’t stop following you when you do present them with a branded message. As long as you remember to keep the conversation a two-way street, you’ll be a step ahead of most companies trying to utilize social media.

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