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Q & A on target communities

My colleague Jay Krall and I did a free Cision Social Media Webinar earlier this month entitled Social Media 101, and we received more great questions than we could answer about engaging in social media on behalf of a company, organization or brand. In an occasional series of posts, we’ll be answering some of those questions over the coming weeks. Here are some questions and answers about target communities.

Cindy: How can you make good use of social media when you target market is geographically localized?

Heidi: There are a variety of ways to segment communities by region. Many social networks and liveblogging sites allow you to search for users in a target area. On Facebook, I am part of the Chicago, IL network and on Twitter I frequently have local businesses that start to follow me because I identify myself as being from Chicago. There are also a plethora of communities and blogs that are geographically-centered. Think about sites where people post restaurant and bar reviews – this is still user-generated, localized content. Using your geographic region as one of your keywords when searching is key to finding the best sites for your localized product, service or company.

Christina: Any suggestions on ways a bank can get involved or how to promote our product in a fun way to engage our target community?

Heidi: The first two steps when planning your social media campaign are to identify your goals and identify your target community. Customize your involvement based on these answers. As a bank, is your target community made up of large corporations? Small businesses? Everyday consumers? If more on the corporate side, you may be able to offer thought leadership and gain business leads by engaging on Questions and Answers on LinkedIn. Everyday consumers? Maybe a fun video contest will engage your customers and raise brand awareness. Small Businesses? You could build contacts in groups that discuss small business loans or franchising. The key is to always focus on your goals, your target community and how you will measure your success.

Craig: You said digg and delicious were most popular, but is there any guide as to other social bookmarking sites and the specific audiences that use them?

Heidi: Digg and Delicious are the two 800-lb. gorillas, but there are literally dozens and dozens of social bookmarking sites out there. Reddit, StumbleUpon, Furl, Newsvine, Mixx and others are also very popular general bookmarking sites. It takes some digging, but you can also find specialized sites like Kaboodle, where users share their favorite shopping links, Kirtsy, a bookmarking site for women or Citeulike, a place for academics to share scholarly articles.

Donnell: I work for a regional furniture company that sells discount furniture I have been looking for a target community but I have had no luck what do you suggest?

Heidi: Only you truly understand your business and exactly who your target audience is, but Jay always says that when identifying your community you should look for your ‘point of need.’ For example, if you have the latest, greatest shoe insoles, don’t look for mentions of ‘shoes,’ look for mentions of ‘sore feet.’ In your situation, I think of who would be shopping for discount furniture… probably people who have just moved into a new home or apartment, right? Maybe you can explore some local networks or forums where people are discussing the housing market in your area or on a site that features area neighborhoods and apartments. Most importantly, ask yourself, “Who needs my product/service/company? What are their other shared interests?” Once you’ve answered those questions, you should have an easier time identifying your community.


More info on upcoming social media webinars here.

Tags : social media

About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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