Social media marketing: it’s not about you

Marketing isn’t about you. It’s about your audiences. But it’s surprising how often people get this the wrong way around.

These phrases crop up fairly often:

  • ” No one will be talking about us online”
  • “I really like sites with lots of animation on them”
  • “I don’t see why anyone would want to follow X”

The important words to notice here are “I” and “us” – because it really doesn’t matter what you think.

First, your individual preferences. OK, so you might like websites with lots of animation on them but you’re just one person. You have a gender (presumably), an age, a demographic. And it’s highly unlikely that your preferences match those of your audience. So if you’re running a structural engineering consultancy and you’re saying you like animations then that’s fine – but not if you’re a 20-something woman who thinks a polished brand is everything, while your audience is overwhelmingly 40-something males who just want facts.

Second, your expectations. Look, the web is really really big, and diverse, and weird, and getting bigger, more diverse and weirder all the time. I’ve totally given up predicting what I might find when I go online for a client. I’ve found entire Facebook pages dedicated to absolute all-c0nsuming hate for clients, and I’ve come across endearingly amateur videos singing their praises. You just cannot make any assumptions until you go out there and look.

The amazing thing about these statements is that they generally come from people who should know better – marketing types, PR types, comms people. It’s not about you. It’s about your audience, and it’s about research telling you what that audience is thinking or feeling, what your audience wants or needs, what they’re doing right now that they’d rather not be doing, or what they want to do but cannot.

Forget your instincts and hunches: they don’t cut it any more because you can go out there and find out. So go out there and find out.

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