Sometimes taking part in social media for business feels like shouting into a hurricane. You struggle to be heard. You struggle to stand out and be noticed.
You might be very confident in your abilities to connect, but are you having problems discovering whom to connect with?
You’re probably thinking too narrow. If you have a brick and mortar business and don’t want to ship anything, you might only want to target people in your area (but what about vacationers/visitors?) or if you’re a membership organization representing a particular industry – maybe you need to remain limited in your search but everyone else can look for business in broad terms. Social media allows you to do this sort of prospecting with very little investment, other than time.
If you need help broadening your idea of who your customers are, use the following questions:
- What is the allure of your product? If you don’t have an “allure” why do people need you?
- What seemingly unrelated “allures” can it be tied to? (i.e., what preferences do your customers have in common.)
- What do they need to know about your product?
- What helps them prepare for your product?
I was recently followed by a safari tour operation. While we never truly know why someone follows us on Twitter, my guess is it was my recent reference to Hemingway.
Let’s go through the exercise above with their business in mind.
The allure of a safari is the call of the wild. It is a luxury/bucket list item, something people plan for years. Their sales cycle might be very long as someone might have to save up the money. Nurturing a potential customer would be very important to them. There’s probably another buyer persona for them – the wealthy who have the means to visit immediately. For either group, this trip will take most Americans out of their comfort zone, so trust and confidence of the tour operators will need to be instilled long before they’ll write a check.
Unrelated allure: For rabid fans of Hemingway, a safari is a must do. Searching on social media for references of Hemingway is sure to turn up scads of results. Following is free. Reaching out to these people may yield an interest in the safari tour.
What do they need to know and how to prepare: this would be a huge list for most. Although many people do quite a bit of research on a trip of this sort, posting information and links to what vaccinations are needed, what you should bring, how to get prepared, what you will eat on safari, etc., will help people feel more comfortable with you and your operation. Here’s a great example (and one that I never thought of):
— Imvelaphi Safaris (@ImvelaphiSafari) November 15, 2013
Doing searches and setting up alerts on keywords is a great way to get an idea of what potential customers are talking about and use those conversations to inform and shape your content but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you need to get in front of a wider audience. In searching for a wider audience, it’s easy for your business to get lost in the noise. Coming up with some creative connections between what you offer and what interests your potential customer base is a good way to extend your reach.
photo credit: Flickr by mammal