Friday Nov 30, 2012

Social Engagement: One Size Doesn't Fit Anyone

magazineThe key to achieving meaningful social engagement is to know who you’re talking to, know what they like, and consistently deliver that kind of material to them. Every magazine for women knows this. When you read the article titles promoted on their covers, there’s no mistaking for whom that magazine is intended.

And yet, confusion still reigns at many brands as to exactly whom they want to talk to, what those people want to hear, and what kind of content they should be creating for them. In most instances, the root problem is brands want to be all things to all people. Their target audience…the world!

Good luck with that. It’s 2012, the age of aggregation and custom content delivery. To cope with the modern day barrage of information, people have constructed technological filters so that content they regard as being “for them” is mostly what gets through.

Even if your brand is for men and women, young and old, you may want to consider social properties that divide men from women, and young from old. Yes, a man might find something in a women’s magazine that interests him. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to subscribe to it, or buy even one issue. In fact he’ll probably never see the article he’d otherwise be interested in, because in his mind, “This isn’t for me.” It wasn’t packaged for him.

News Flash: men and women are different. So it’s a tall order to craft your Facebook Page or Twitter handle to simultaneously exude the motivators for both. The Harris Interactive study “2012 Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social Media” sheds light on the differing social behaviors and drivers.

-65% of women (vs. 59% of men) stay glued to social because they don’t want to miss anything.

-25% of women check social when they wake up, before they check email. Only 18% of men check social before e-mail.

-95% of women surveyed belong to Facebook vs. 86% of men.

-67% of women log in to Facebook once a day or more vs. 54% of men.

-Conventional wisdom is Pinterest is mostly a woman-thing, right? That may be true for viewing, but not true for sharing. Men are actually more likely to share on Pinterest than women, 23% to 10%.

-The sharing divide extends to YouTube. 68% of women use it mainly for consumption, as opposed to 52% of men.

-Women are as likely to have a Twitter account as men, but they’re much less likely to check it often. 54% of women check it once a week compared to 2/3 of men.

Obviously, there are some takeaways from this depending on your target. Women don’t want to miss out on anything, so serialized content might be a good idea, right? Promotional posts that lead to a big payoff could keep them hooked. Posts for women might be better served first thing in the morning. If sharing is your goal, maybe male-targeted content is more likely to get those desired shares. And maybe Twitter is a better place to aim your male-targeted content than Facebook.

Some grocery stores started experimenting with male-only aisles. The results have been impressive. Why? Because while it’s true men were finding those same items in the store just fine before, now something has been created just for them. They have a place in the store where they belong.

Each brand’s strategy and targets are going to differ. The point is…know who you’re talking to, know how they behave, know what they like, and deliver content using any number of social relationship management targeting tools that meets their expectations.

If, however, you’re committed to a one-size-fits-all, “our content is for everybody” strategy (or even worse, a “this is what we want to put out and we expect everybody to love it” strategy), your content will miss the mark for more often than it hits.

@mikestiles
Photo via stock.schng

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