Getting in a targeted messaging headset…

Many businesses see the biggest advantage of social media as simply reaching more people. Is it true?

Well, yes, you do reach more people, but if you don’t also adapt your messaging for these people, you end up with what Seth Godin calls a ‘meatball sundae’: an unfortunate mixing of two good ideas.

In the days of mass media you would do one television or print ad for everyone. People were considered as mass markets – and your messaging was ‘one size fits all’.

The biggest impact social media has had for businesses, is that it has split mass markets into lots of niches.

You can see (and reach) these niches across different social networks. For example LinkedIn is career orientated, Facebook is more ‘socially’ oriented. But you can also reach these niches within’ social networks.

For example within’ LinkedIn you have different groups with different interests, across different sectors, and so on. Facebook is the same.

So what does this mean for your messaging?

On the social web, one message does not fit all anymore. If you want to reach people on the social web you need to create tailored messaging targeted for each specific group.

Here’s a little mantra to get you thinking in a targeted communications headset:

  • Define the specific people you need to reach
  • Define where they are
  • Listen to them, read comments, find out their needs
  • Adapt your messaging for each different niche or interest group
  • Create the right content format to reach them (podcast, video, blog post, et al)
  • Publish it in their social network

Mass communications was all about reaching as many people as possible in the hope that you would convert a few into buyers. In social media it’s now about reaching the right people with a message that is relevant to them. This gives you a much higher chance of converting them into buyers, followers or subscribers. More than mass media ever could.

To paraphrase Seth, a mass communications approach doesn’t work at a cocktail party, a dinner party, a funeral…or in a social network!

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  • Van Lease

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