Don’t worry; you’re not the only one wondering.

Forrester’s POST methodology for social marketing success dictates four steps: 
1. People
2. Objective
3. Strategy
4. Technology

Often, marketers lead with T, but they need to start with P. The $64,000 question about People is not whether customers use social media, but rather if they want to engage with brands on social media at all, and if so, how. That’s right, the first and most important question is not whether your competitors are on social media or if the latest social network has the coolest ad format; it’s what your customers want from your brand. Marketers need to know this to guide how (or if) they add social to their overall marketing strategy.

As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Landscape chapter explains how Forrester’s latest Social Technographics® model helps marketers answer:

  • “Do my customers interact with brands on social media?” Customers differ in how much they welcome brand interaction on social media. Understanding your audience’s preferences is key to deciding how important social media should be to your marketing plan. Using Forrester’s Social Technographics Score shows you just that: you might learn that your customers demand heavy social interaction with brands (31% of the US adult online population) or your customers spurn that interaction (22%). The spectrum is vast, and a misstep will land you in the wrong social marketing strategy. See my colleague Gina Fleming's Data Digest post for detail on Forrester's unique data.
  • “At what stage should I target my customers on social media?” The Social Technographics Life Cycle Rankings allows marketers to examine what types of social interactions their audiences seek in each phase of the customer life cycle. Perhaps your customers use social to learn about new products (explore — the most active stage) or maybe they tap into social media to make a purchase (buy — but unlikely, as it’s the least active stage). Knowing in which customer life cycle stage your customers welcome brand interaction on social media can refocus your social approach from social posts that message generic branding to social customer care messages.
  • “What social tactics should I use to engage my audience?” The Social Technographics Intensity Matrix reveals different audience’s social behaviors and the types of social sites they frequent. Marketers must understand the distinct combinations that audiences prefer — whether commenting in communities or sharing on social networks — in order to build their social strategies. For example, audiences are very active on social networks (76%) but far less so on brand and product sites (20%).

You may have more questions at the end of this blog post than when you started, but have no fear. You can sleep at night knowing that The Social Technographics framework will provide the audience answers that you seek. 

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