CNP Expo: How to Be BFFs With Your Customers

May 22, 2013

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social media platforms and networks out there. Where to start? According to our panel, the answer is: it depends.

Comedian Zane Lamprey of Inzane Entertainment summed it up: “You need to ask yourself, who is your audience, and what do they want to hear? Then focus your efforts there.” Knowing who your main audience is will lead you to particular social media platforms. While Facebook and Twitter are fairly universal, research shows that Pinterest has a largely female audience, while LinkedIn users are mostly professionals. Matching your audience to a platform’s demographic allows you to put your time and energy into one or two platforms that drive sales, rather than stretching yourself across seven or eight that may prove fruitless.

Lindsay Bressler, general manager of marketplace, merchandising and strategy at OpenSky, recommended testing new platforms for short periods of time and experimenting with different ways of interacting with your followers, then using analytics to measure ROI on these experiments. “That way you can double down on what’s driving sales and stop putting effort into what doesn’t,” she said.

Tom Schwab of Goodbye Crutches remarked that knowing your own business and its goals are just as important as knowing your audience. Goodbye Crutches rents scooters and walkers to people who are temporarily disabled. So for his company, the goal on Twitter is not to generate a large, loyal following—after all, most of their customers won’t need them after six weeks. Rather, he finds they get a high ROI on Twitter by using the platform “to listen to customers and find potential customers. We use search terms like ‘crutches’ and ‘hate’ to find people who might be interested in our products. So it’s not just about what you’re putting out; it can also be about listening through these media.”