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It’s true that you can’t judge a book by the cover – and if you do, your assumptions are bound to be wrong. On social media, assuming that everyone who “looks” alike could mean missing out on true audience expansion based on feel-alike, want-alike and do-alike segmenting.

Our newest white paper, The New Normal: Audience Marketing in the Age of You, breaks down how to push past traditional demographic models to get deeper insights from consumers on social. Here are some highlights:

Expanding segments broadly doesn’t work

Many base audience segmenting on “look-alike” customers, making very broad generalizations based on demographics. But judging consumers by their “cover” – age, gender, where they live –doesn’t tell much of a story.

Getting into the psychographics of your consumers will help you target them more effectively and, most importantly, authentically. And you don’t leave anyone out.

Consider a 30-something, stay-at-home mom from Detroit, a 20-something tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, and a retired golfer in Tampa. Under old models, you would never have grouped them together. But social insights show you they’re all Harley Davidson enthusiasts – and voila! You have a new segment to engage.

But you’ll never find these unlikely audiences if you rule out prospects based on superficial factors (like assuming your target audience is ONLY 40-year-old males in New Hampshire, for example).

Keeping it real – in real-time

But that’s not the only reason to narrow your focus. Connecting with consumers isn’t about marketing AT them anymore. Social users want brands to come at them personally, and authentically, which means getting to know them.

Brands need to learn from the behaviors of consumers “in the wild” to do that. Not just what they’re saying about your brand on social, but what they FEEL. And not just about your brand, but about your competitors, and about themselves – their wants, needs, desires, obsessions, pet peeves, causes, and on and on.

Only then can you get what we call a dimensional view of your audience.

That means gauging sentiment, getting the jokes, decoding the sarcasm, slang and emojis – everything our recently launched A3D product does.

It’s all about keeping it real to relate to consumers on their level.

Coke, for example, might know they have to reach millennials. But how do you do that? By finding out when and where millennials are enjoying Coke – while hanging out with friends, or at work, or playing a certain video game, or watching their favorite reality show, etc. Now talk to them about those things.

And find out who ELSE is doing those things and talk to THEM, too. There will definitely be some surprises in the mix. That’s how you broaden your audience.

This wealth of information is available on social media in real-time, offering insights you can act on in real-time as well. So you can build campaigns around these segments quickly, and also course-correct immediately if something’s not working.

Sticking to surface data – the look-alikes – is a waste of the valuable resource social provides. What’s more, today’s consumers expect to be treated like individuals, with authentic messaging. Give them what they want and you win too.

Ready to reach your audience more effectively? Download the white paper The New Normal: Audience Marketing in the Age of You or reach out to learn more about Audience 3D!

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