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  • How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan
    Game Plan

    Defining Your Audience

    Those who participate in social media don’t always share similar characteristics. Some participate frequently and extensively, whereas others just read content, but never comment or reply.

    Connecting with Consumers

    According to a Forrester white paper and later the subject of the book Groundswell, social media users fall into various categories. Some of the most important include:

    • Creators who essentially focus on creating content. They tend to maintain their own blogs and websites, upload interesting videos, and write articles for news sites. These creators can be key influencers, framing opinions of products, services and brands.
    • Critics who don’t tend to create their own content, but actively comment on blogs and participate in online forums. Commenting on an author’s point of view is often easier than creating content, so there tend to be more critics than creators.

    Connecting with creators and critics, who tend to have more followers and connections than other social media participants, becomes an important part of audience selection. These connections can help you build a wider audience who may become advocates for your brand.

    The number of consumers who fall into these categories varies based on age and gender, but overall creators make up about 24% of U.S. social media users, while critics make up about 37%.

    Engaging with business audiences

    Business-to-business (B2B) audiences certainly want access to relevant content that can help them do their jobs and grow their businesses.

    LinkedIn is a valuable tool for developing a B2B audience because it’s relatively easy to select potential connections by industry, job title, and company size, among other characteristics. It also offers the opportunity to create both personal and company pages.

    There are differences in connecting with B2B audiences compared to B2C audiences. Businesses represent a far more complex audience because there may be many decision-makers within a company. Consider that your audience at a company could include the CEO, financial executives, product managers, sales teams, as well as others who could impact the decision to buy your product or service.

    There may also be specific industry-related blogs and forums where you can post links to your content on LinkedIn or other social media sites.

    Game PlanGame Plan

    Game Plan

    • Review this SlideShare presentation from Forrester Research on classifying consumers audiences based on how they use social media.
    • Read this Forrester blog post on how “creators” can impact social media conversation about your brand.
    • Read this white paper PDF from Aimia on another methodology for evaluating audiences based on social media usage.
    • Review this SlideShare presentation from The Marketing Practice on B2B social media audience statistics.
    • Check out this infographic, which presents Forrester Research data on the sites business leaders use to make decisions (about halfway down the page).