You know what your business is all about. You have defined objectives and metrics that you measure. You have specific actions that you refine regularly and you’re ready to add social media marketing to your digital marketing strategy. Unfortunately, this is often where things start to go wrong.

This flood of communication and interaction has been building for more than 25 years and it is fundamentally changing the way that businesses and customers interact.

It is as vital to business success as was mass production in the industrial revolution, the impact of the PC and the growth of the web.

This interaction is very important for you, your business and your customers.

Why are networks so important to you and your business? Social media impacts your sales, gives a great insight into market intelligence, and gathers information directly from your customers. It can refine your logistics, contribute to your research and refine your product development cycle. It is crucial to your success in business. You may pay for market analysis, look at your click-through figures to find out unique visitors to your pages and where they are from, but that’s about it. How can you find out how these users are grouped? Is there a network cluster that you can define? Is there a social graph connecting your users? Is it strong and growing? Or is it fragmented and weak? Where are the strong and weak ties in your network? How do you know who your influencers are?

When you’re deciding to introduce these conversational tools into your traditional marketing approach, you know that you want to get your marketing message out to your customers. Unfortunately, some companies tend to use all of the channels that they know. This sometimes comes across like a message distributed by scatter gun to the audience. The ’launch’ of a blog, the fanfare over the creation of a Facebook page, a new Twitter name, a Friendfeed list or a YouTube channel are all great ideas which will prove valuable to you if you’ve identified the appropriate channel for your message.

Many companies forget what type of messages they are trying to broadcast to their customers and the response they are trying to achieve—the message comes before the medium.

Knowing your customer

When preparing to complement your marketing activities with your social media plan, consider what motivates your customers’ behaviour online. This means that you need to think about separating your customers into different groups according to their behaviour. And that means looking at their age.


  • If you’re targeting customers who are aged between the ages of 20 and 30, think about competitions. This age group tends to be competitive. They set themselves ambitious targets and compete with their peers.

  • Between the ages of 30 and 40, customers like to have an understanding and awareness of who they are and where they fit into the larger model. Perhaps they have defined themselves as working class or middle class. If they know how important they are to your brand they can understand why you are communicating with them and how they can help.

  • Customers aged between 45 and 60 tend to seek affirmation that the decisions that they have made are the correct one, so brand value plays a large role in their decision making process.

Essentially, the consumer wants you to acknowledge that they are valued.

It’s all about me’understand me, acknowledge me, and know who I am and what I represent.

Once a brand has done this, then your business is well on the way to persuading them to become advocates and enthusiasts. You also need to remember that your business mind is quite different from your customer’s mind. For you it’s about revenue, profit, power, growth, status, work, money and sex, whereas customers will be thinking about family, home, F1, football, celebrities, kittens, money and sex. Since the dotcom boom, consumers have moved towards a more web-centric method of purchasing and interacting. The web is now widely used for shopping, and with social tools displaying birthdays and status updates people are much more willing to share more personal details about themselves online. This new attitude contrasts completely with our face to face lives, when only our closest friends get to share the personal details of our life such as our birth date, relationship details and hobbies.