Why Marketers Should Get to Know Their Customer’s Digital Selves

by Lior Levin · 49 comments

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 This is a guest post courtesy of Lior (thanks for an AWESOME contribution) and why your current market research may not be entirely accurate.

Due to the increasing rise of social media channels, your right people may want something slight different than what you are positioned to offer them and you wouldn’t know it unless you knew they may have somewhat dueling personalities.

As in their online self and their offline self! Very interesting read, please feel free to drop any comments in the comment area below.

A lot of ink has been spilled about how the rise of social media is changing (and even merging) the roles of marketing and public relations.

However, far less effort has been made on the flip side of the coin, trying to understand who it is that’s connecting with brands via social media and why.

This is unfortunate because not only is that information readily available, posted publicly and freely by your customers, but it’s also incredibly useful and essential for the success of entrepreneurs.

Chad Warren, Adobe’s manager of social media recently referred to this concept as getting to know your customers “Digital Selves” and it involved aggregating signals customers send from various place, including social networks, shopping sites and websites.

It’s an idea that entrepreneurs should look into and, if you need a reason, here are five good ones to consider.

Your Customers May Be Different Digitally

Though you may have tons of great market research on what your customers are like broadly, those who are choosing to follow your brand online are likely a subset within that market that has many differentiating factors.

They are obviously likely to be more tech-savvy and younger, but they may also have different interests and desires from your product.

Building a social media campaign around the wants and needs of your broader customer base can easily misfire if those who you’re reaching want something different.

You Can Discover New Markets

In an example from Warren, he noted that Acer found a new market for its new Aspire S3 Ultrabook by looking to customers outside of its primary target, including women who buy high-end clothing.

By looking at what your customers like and the other things they buy, you might easily find connections and new markets that you can target.

For example, if you find that people who follow your watch brand on social media also routinely love cycling, there may be a new market there you can reach out to.

You Can Increase Engagement

Social media campaigns are largely about engagement. Getting users involved, talking with and about the brand. However, engagement comes largely from making a personal connection with the customer and giving them something that they, as a person, like.

However, doing that without solid data is basically shooting in the dark. You know nothing about your customers other than they like your product or service.

In short, data on who your customers digital selves are will make your social media campaigns much more effective.

You Can Improve Your Traditional Marketing Too

Surveys, marketing studies and other tools for discovering information about your market will only go so far. You can never know what strange things might connect with your brand in the minds of consumers.

As a result, in addition to discovering new markets, you may also find new ways to reach your existing market including new ways to promote your brand and new selling points to highlight.

Social media and the Web allows you to get to know your customers as people, not just data, and that can be a tremendous advantage.

Getting Started is Free

Though, to get the most thorough picture, you’re going to want to aggregate data from as many sources as possible, if you want to dabble in getting to know your customers digital selves you can get started for free.

Facebook, for example, already provides great insights for fan pages. Amazon also provides great information on what products are commonly sold with one another at the store.

By reading the available information and/or doing a survey of your customer’s public profiles, you can learn a great deal with little time and almost no investment.

However, the big concern in all of this, for customers especially, is privacy. Many are uneasy with having their brand interactions aggregated from various sources or marketers looking to combine multiple signals to get a clearer picture of who they are.

This means that your company needs to be careful about how they do this, including never aggregating private data and only using it either segment your audience into different groups or get general statistics data about your customers.

If you can do that, you can get a much better handle on who your customers’ digital selves are and reach out to them in a more compelling way online.

That, in the long run, not only means having a stronger, more vibrant social media presence but also a greater ROI on your social media efforts.

With so little to lose and so much to gain, there’s no reason to delay getting started today and see what you can learn about your customers digital selves.

Woo! You read to the end! Now do me a big favor and use those share buttons off to the left if you found this post at all interesting or useful. BGB thanks you. 😉

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