You may not be targeting the right people in your social media marketing!

Have you ever had a dream where you’re suddenly in a place where you don’t recognize anyone and don’t know why you’re there?

That’s essentially the environment businesses accidently create within their social media marketing campaigns if they aren’t careful.

Consider this question: Are you trying to build your authority or do you want to reach prospects? The strategies you employ aren’t always the same to achieve those two goals. Let me give you a simple example.

The problem illustrated

The owners of a residential plumbing company want to build their authority within their industry. With that goal in mind, the people they want to ultimately reach via social media are the “king makers” within the plumbing industry and perhaps local media figures.

This strategy would ultimately elevate the company’s profile within the plumbing industry and the owners might be asked to talk at trade shows and appear on local radio and television when plumbing issues are in the news.

The upshot of this is that the plumbers would likely push their social media posts and content creation to “meta” plumbing industry topics.

By contrast, if the owners of this plumbing company want to increase their following among potential and current plumbing customers, these authoritative posts about the plumbing industry wouldn’t get the job done. Instead, practical tips for home and building owners would be better, along with occasional special offers.

The problem’s impact

Not only will the decision about who you want to reach through your social media impact your content, it will also impact the hashtags you use, the platforms you publish on, and even how you set up your accounts.

Let’s consider the question of your social media accounts. Some businesses will set up different accounts to reach social media audiences with different interests. For example, Buzzfeed has separate Facebook accounts for food, animals, news, video, entertainment, and DIY posts (among others).

Creating separate accounts within one platform may not be the best strategy for most small businesses. In many cases, it is better to find out where the segments of your audience are most active on social media and then focus on those platforms.

For example, if our plumbing company wanted to raise its visibility within the industry, it could use LinkedIn – and maybe Twitter – as the core of that strategy then use Facebook – and maybe Pinterest or Instagram – to reach consumers.

This would mean more work, but in the long run, it would be a much more efficient strategy. The “shotgun” approach to marketing today doesn’t deliver the kind of results you need to stay competitive. A large social media following is meaningless if it’s a crazy quilt of people with widely varying interests and intentions.