Social Media and Segmentation

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I read with interest a blog post this week listing six common fallacies about Social Media Marketing. The main message is that it is not a quick or easy fix; it takes time, effort, and understanding, but it can reap great rewards. The same has always applied to traditional marketing. Sure the occasional mailing has hit the jackpot but mostly response rates climb only as the marketers really begin to understand their audience. I recalled fondly a client of ours called Tim who was a marketer at what was then John Grooms (now called Livability) claiming that he understood the profile of his donors so well he was regularly getting 42% response rates on warm mailings. And so pleased was he with this knowledge, he was extremely cagey about its make up.

Of course, Social Media is quite different - you can't segment your market because you don't know who they are, you don't approach them, they approach you.

Or is it? surely the same rules apply, just with a different emphasis. Another article claims to have a scientific method for calculating ROI on Social Media -well its got to be worth a look. Just as on a traditional database you have your regular donors, your appeal respondents, your eventers and your catalog purchasers, so in terms of social media you have your web segments. The eventers will be on Facebook and Myspace, the campaigners will read your blog (may even be Tweeters on your behalf), the moaners will be on the discussion forums, the corporate supporters may be tracked through Linked In, and so on and so on. As with all segmentations there will be overlaps, with some supporters being in several segments. The next step should be to capture all this information into the back office database to gain a deeper understanding of who interacts with you through which social media.

In fact the logical extension of this analogy is 'social media cross marketing'. Just as traditionally, any charity will try to upgrade a Christmas card purchaser to be a regular donor, so maybe the natural ambition of the social marketer is to upgrade, for example the Facebook cause subscriber to all kinds of other interactions - some will work naturally, some won't work at all. It just goes to underline the main point of the 'Six Fallacies' - the chief ingredients of social marketing success are hard work and trial and error.