Kelly Vandever - Communications for Everyone

Getting to Know Your Audience, Prospects, and Clients – Part 2 – New School Social Media

In Presentation Tips on March 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

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Social Media Tools to Learn about Your Audience

SoCon is a big social media conference that takes place at Kennesaw State University in January or February each year.  I was a speaker at SoCon11 and tweeted frequently before the event using their conference hashtag.  I also followed the hashtag to see what the organizers, other presenters and attendees were saying about the event.  When I showed up at the Friday night mixer, it was funny.  Here were faces that I’d never seen in person but who I felt like I got to know through their tweets.  It was a strange sensation….but kind of cool.

Social media, whether through Twitter or LinkedIn or YouTube, etc., does give us the ability to get to know a person differently than an in person meeting, but it’s still pretty cool.  Consider these approaches to social media in getting to know your audience.

Social Media Approaches


Twitter

It was from blogger, author and tweeter Chris Brogan that I first heard the idea that Twitter is a great place to listen.  He’s right.  If they are on Twitter, then Twitter is a great place to learn about your prospects, clients, and audiences.  You can see what they are saying.  You can see what they think is important, or funny, or interesting by what tweet and what they retweet.  You can see who interests them by taking a look at who they following.  You can see who else is interested in them by reviewing their followers.  (Is your competition following them already?!)  And considered how flattered they will be if you retweet a message they sent!

For public events such as association meeting or chamber events, where the meeting leaders want as many attendees as possible, then Twitter can be a good tool to publicize an event where you are speaking.  The organization you are speaking to will appreciate the publicity.  And may even be willing to coordinate with you in tweets and questions to send out to their followers.

If there are conferences or meetings that your clients, prospects or audience attend, see if there’s a hashtag associated with the event.  If there is, try searching for the hashtag to see what is making news at the conference or what other conference attendees are concentrated on.  (Try http://search.twitter.com to search for recent post.  Or use http://tweetchat.com watch posts related to a conference while the conference is still going on.  These two sites are time sensitive so also try Google for additional results.)

Twitter can be a great way to get to know a client, prospect or an audience.

Facebook

While Facebook seems to be used by most people for personal information, more and more companies are adding fan pages.  In a few instances, these fan pages are start by actual an fan.  In most cases, the fan page is started by someone associated with the company.  Either way, it’s interesting to see what the organization says about itself and what others have to say as well.  Take a look at the friends list to see again who is connected to the organization.  And where the fan page “friends” are associated with the organization, take a look at the people as people.  What are they interested in?  Who are their friends?  You may find out you have things in common that can help you as you talk to them as people.

YouTube

YouTube is another means for an organization to say something about themselves.  Like wise, it is a way for others to say something about them too.  As with the other social media sites discussed, poke around and see what you can learn by seeing what’s being posted.

LinkedIn

Because LinkedIn has professional information on individuals, it can be a great source of information about the people in your audience and in your prospect or clients organizations.  You can find out more about their educational background, previous employers, interests, and other areas that you share in common.  Additionally, you can see what LinkedIn groups the person belongs to.  This can give you more information for the real world meeting and networking that the audience, prospect and client are interested in.

Other Popular Social Media Approaches

In this case, I won’t ask “what am I missing” because when it comes to social media, there are dozens (or hundreds or thousands) of sites that are trying to get their slice of the social media pie.  The ones I’ve listed above are currently the most popular.  Are there more ways to use these sites to get to know your audiences, prospect or client better?  If so, post your recommendations in the comment section below.

Or if you want to advocate for what you think the next widely adopted social media tool will be, add a comment too.  I’ll keep my eyes out and if you’re right, I’ll add them to this list with a big note that says “you told me so!”

Getting to Know Them – The Big Picture

When I talk about ways we can find our more about our audiences, our prospects and our clients through social media, the words of one of my friends kept ringing in my ears – “I’m not doing social media.  I’m guarding my privacy.  I don’t want everyone knowing everything about me.”  I guess I’m the kind of person she was talking about when she said that!

I look at it like this.  If I can get to know my audience, be they a group of professionals in an association meeting, a prospect or a client, I can serve them better.  If I’m not the right fit for their purposes, I can save us both time and energy.  If my training and coaching programs can help them achieve their goals, then we’ll both be better for us finding a good match.

As we talked about it here, getting to know an audience is a noble thing.  A flattering thing.  An inevitable part of the way we’ll all do business now and in the future.  If we are to serve well, it’s best for us and for our future audiences, if we find out more so we can all make better, more beneficial connections.

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