Your customers don’t come to your website or your own social channels (such as your Facebook brand page) to discover whether what you offer meets a need or fulfills a desire they have. Instead, people discover you mostly through ads and word of mouth (WOM). To spread your message to a new audience, update your understanding of "reach channels" to include not only traditional tactics such as TV, search, and print but also the three key social tactics for this phase of the life cycle: influencer marketing, advocate marketing, and social advertising.
In my most recent research report, I examine how these different reach tactics are related and how you should balance trust and targeting in your social reach strategy. Specifically, there are four categories of contributors create content on your behalf:
- Your marketing team uses social ads to target your prospects and customers precisely.
- Employees, resellers, and partners share their experiences with your prospects.
- Your customers relate to your prospects as peers.
- Influencers shape the conversation about your solutions.
Each of those content creators varies on how much its messages will be trusted by your customers and how precisely you can target its messaging. The most highly trusted tactics are effective but can be difficult to use and spread. On the other hand, less trusted tactics are less persuasive, but you control their creation and audience.
As you build your social strategy, you should craft your reach strategy based on the complexity and length of your product life cycle, where more-complex product purchases require the most trust and simpler product purchases benefit most from better targeting.
I lay out these axes of trust versus targeting and the independence of the author from your brand in this figure:
I would love to hear your thoughts on this new framework, either in a comment below or on Twitter.