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Our last piece on social segmenting talked about the overall purpose and concept of segmenting your social audience. Now let’s look at how to go further for amazing results.

Start with your brand

Your starting point is your brand – and those who are liking, commenting, retweeting, or mentioning you on any social channel.

Separate positive mentions from negative – but don’t ignore the negative. Aside from needing to address any customer service issues, you may be able to use these consumers in another way. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

With those who like or love your brand organized into one group, do you have enough to work with? Sure, if you want to send out generic messaging about your upcoming sale – but that’s not enough to foster the kind of loyalty you want.

Segmenting is necessary to achieve the kind of personal knowledge that creates a true relationship between you and your audience. They can spend their hard-earned money literally anywhere – so why should they choose you?

Because you care about the person behind the wallet – that’s what your messaging must project. Segmenting is the only way to do it.

Sleuth out segments based on passion

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to identifying segments, as social consumers talk about everything from the silly to the serious.  Here’s what you’re looking for: anything fans of your brand are most passionate about beyond your brand.

Their social topics highlight the traits that define them. They love Star Wars, or giving to their local animal shelter, or trying new recipes using their latest Pampered Chef gadgets. There’s no limit – in fact, you can even look for segments within segments to really make things personal.

Your Pampered Chef fanatics might love cooking chicken dishes, or having a glass of wine while they meal prep. Great opportunity to suggest your wine brand, obviously. But you could also suggest a playlist featuring the artists from your brand’s record label.

Imagine how a video of one of your artists using Pampered Chef gadgets to make a chicken recipe would go over with this segment! They’ll fall in love because they have something in common with that artist. Or they have something in common with your brand. They feel like YOU GET THEM. That’s everything.

This is why passion is the crucial component here. You can’t connect all that deeply about something they have a mild affinity for. For example, almost everyone likes pizza – so that’s a huge audience.

To segment it down you want to find the people who love particular brands of pizza, or particular types – like Hawaiian. Do you know how many people think Hawaiian pizza is just wrong?

There’s something to connect over as well.

And consider Star Wars fans – each has their own favorite movie, character, moment. There are several additional segments to explore here – and it’s worth it, because specificity wins the day.

Both love and hate can create bonds

Passion swings in both directions – so don’t be afraid to look at the topics people complain about. A complaint might be good-natured – which means it’s actually a positive association – or a legitimate gripe about something. That’s why smart sentiment analysis tools are necessary. You have to be able to tell the difference.

Either way, a shared disdain for riding the bus, or picnics, or Eugene on The Walking Dead is just as valid a conversation starter as love for any of those things.

That brings us back to the negative posts about your brand we mentioned earlier. Of course you have to manage any customer service wrinkles, and be on the lookout for any larger reputational threats. But what about creating a segment of disgruntled customers?

You could create a segment of such consumers to use as a focus group, thanking them for their feedback, seeking further suggestions, and acting on them. You might even turn them into influencers.

The wonderful thing about segmenting is you can create your own rules – if you see a segment that works for your brand, cultivate it! Look past the limitations of age and gender – whatever you think your demographic is – and find the outliers who share the same interests as your segments.

You’ll expand your audience while deepening your relationships with them. What could be better?

Looking for more advanced social listening tips? Join us in NY or LA this October for NetBase LIVE!

Image from Al Pavangkanan

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