Knowing who's in your audience or your community can save a substantial amount of money, time and other resources when planning out your online marketing strategy. It's rare to find a substantial amount of users on the internet at the same place in their use of the internet whether its search, social communities or word of mouth. However if you know the types of audiences there are, and can group them, and know by demographics where they generally fall it can save you a lot of sweat and tears in the long run.
Take for example the demographic of a 35-44 year old woman in the United States. Do you know where she hangs out? Do you know what types of communities she participates in, or does she even participate at all? Does she do a ton of research, looking at ratings and review sites before she makes the decision to buy, or make a reservation? Doe she actively create blogs, or is she more likely to participate and promote news stories, or be a "tagger" in a social bookmarking community? If you sold shoes, designer purses, interior decorating supplies, electronic gadgets or had a line of luxury cruises you just might want to figure that out before you spend a ton of money starting a community that this demographic just might not readily participate in, or spending thousands on a PPC campaign they won't pay attention to.
In reading the book Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, they identify 6 types of audiences with social communities, but when you take into account that there's also search and there's also word of mouth to deal with in online marketing campaigns, there are a lot of other ways you also need to look at an audience. Charlene and Josh identify the Creator, Critic, Collector, Joiner, Spectator and Inactives. By the names alone you can get a feel for the types of participants these classifications are.
As an online marketer who tries to look at all strategies even beyond social media, trying to include and strategize for, you know a true online marketing strategy doesn't just include social media. An online marketing strategy includes SEO, PPC, Social Media and even Word of Mouth. With that in mind there are more segments of an audience to take into account when you begin to strategize.
- Brand Evangelists: These people LOVE you. They love your products, your services, they even love the janitor that cleans your desks at night. To them, you basically walk on water. They will tell everyone and anyone how great you are, they gush about how you sent them a Christmas card, and will tattoo your logo on their bicep.
- Promoters: Almost as loyal as the Brand Evangelist, however, these people promote you and most people listen. They aren't taken as wild and deranged fans by their friends, when these people talk, their friends listen. Here's a tip, make your promoters valuable, empower your promoters, by giving them the tools to make their words, more than just words.