UK Study Finds that Brands Must Market to Digitally Hardcore
Many businesses think that marketing to the broadest possible base is the best plan. After all, this way they are likely to reach more people. However, most branding experts advocate identifying one’s core audience and then marketing solely to them. A new study from Marketing Week confirms this and even identifies the target group for most online brands.
Many businesses are using social media to create an online brand, but this is such a new media that it can be difficult to identify which strategies are more effective in this market. The new study addresses this. First, the study found that the ‘core audience’ for social marketing are people born after 1990—so-called ‘digital natives’. This group uses social media not just to maintain their network of friends and acquaintances, but to manage their lives. Because they have never lived without a computer or internet technology, they are called digital natives. This group expects to be able to run most aspects of their existence through their telephone and computer.
Further, social media is just as important for brand building as branding and marketing experts suspected it was. While many people are using these sites to chat with friends, more than half are also interacting with their favourite brands. This underscores the need for every business, large or small, to have a well branded and carefully maintained presence on the internet.
Not only are these digitally savvy “brand engagers” interested in finding out about their favourite businesses and products through the internet, they consider it a high priority. In fact, many said that they enjoy social networking more than other hobbies, such as meeting friends at the pub.
This presents good news and bad news for businesses. The good news, if you are already using social media to reach your audience, is that your efforts are not wasted. This media may end up being the most powerful marketing tool of our era. The bad news is that this internet savvy marketing base requires more technological know-how than many businesses can produce in-house. You may need to consult with a branding and marketing expert in order to determine what tools will be best for your social marketing sites and contract with an IT company to develop them. However, this relatively small expense will come with great reward.
The study also identified several of the main challenges for companies using social media to market themselves. First, because people are on the websites to network, it is important to develop posts and feeds that don’t feel like interruptions. There is no positive image in being an intruder. Your social marketing activities ideally should make you feel like another friend on the website.
Second, the one-fifth of social media users who are interested in receiving online advertisements are only so when the advertisements are relevant to their lifestyle. Taking a blanket approach will only frustrate and annoy. This makes developing your small business brand and identifying your core audience all the more important. This means that there was never a better time to talk to a branding consultant!