Q: “It doesn’t matter what I post on social media as long as I post often and build awareness, right?”
What you post on your business social media profiles and blast out to your customer email inboxes matters immensely. It’s not just a matter of making sure you post something—anything—hourly, daily, or weekly.
We recently attended the 2016 Analytics With Purpose conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. This annual American Marketing Association conference is a great opportunity for marketers and data analysts to collaborate.
AOL consumer analytics and research VP Christian Kugel shared recent research data indicating that you can post as much and as often as you like–as long as what you post matches your customers’ motivation for interacting with the content and their expected topics and formats.
Kugel identified eight emotion-based motivations that customers may have for interacting with content. In other words, here’s what they’re looking for when they get on the Internet (with corresponding percentages).
That seems simple enough, but there were some surprises. For instance, dads are more likely than moms to seek comfort and connection through content. Baby boomers are more motivated to be in-the-know and to stay up-to-date with the latest social news, while millennials are more interested in inspiration, comfort, and connection.
Millennials and moms are into fashion/style, food, and home, whereas Baby Boomers and GenX’ers are more likely to seek content on current events, business/finance news, and the weather. Hispanics are more likely to seek content on dating and relationships for the purpose of experiencing comfort, while African Americans are more likely to look for content on dating, relationships, and sports in order to feel good. Further, depending on motivation and topic combinations, each group has different expectations with regard to format, length, and tone.
In short, strategic marketers need to understand their target markets’ motivations for seeking certain types of content in certain formats. AdWeek condensed many of AOL’s insights into a helpful infographic that is worth checking out.
What’s the point?
Just like you, your customers have limited time.
If they give you their time, they want you to provide them with value that is worth more (in their perception) than the time they invested. If you don’t, they can always click “Delete” or “Unsubscribe.”
As a business, your most valuable investment is in your customer relationships. As with any relationship, customers expect communication to be real, honest, and valuable. They also expect communication to be two-way. They expect you to listen and to understand their needs and motivations and to design and target your content accordingly.
Consider this: Do you care what your significant other says to you? Of course. Do you care how your favorite brands interact with you and whether you perceive them to listen and care? Probably! As such, it’s worth your while to take the AOL study insights into consideration when planning and creating content for your customers—whether it’s a tiny tweet for Twitter or a fully-developed blog post. (We can help you with that.)
To put things into humorous and enlightening perspective, check out this video that challenges you to consider whether you’re really listening to your customers. Often, we don’t know our customers as well as we think we do. They can tell the difference, and they’re free to walk away.
Conna Bond is an associate professor of marketing and management and the co-founder of Pineapple Social Media and Red Canoe Creative.