Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office, IL
Bryan Gernert’s recent blog post on iMediaConnection.com, “Old Tricks for Stronger Brand Allegiance” offers usable applications for us. He points to the flaws in the current data-only approach to understanding customer (audience) needs.
He suggests a better method and calls it the “new old school” approach. He says, “Listening to what the audience has to say, and listening to hear why they buy, sell, want, desire, love, reject—is the essential step. Their answers are the best way to learn what they truly value and believe, and to figure out why they do what they do. It’s the kind of insight you could never get from a ‘like’ button.”
What’s the best way to get their answers? Simply by asking them. The application for authors is that by literally asking them what they value and mapping that information against selling patterns in our publishing world, you have the opportunity to connect with your blog and social media audience on a deeper level.
When you examine your target audience in an effort to fully understand what drives their purchasing (reading) interests and expectations, Gernert suggests you divide the process in these three steps (translated for our author world):
- Ask. To connect with people on a deeper level, it is essential to connect with them based on their values. Gernert says there are no short-cuts to this; you need to do the work. For instance, when you blog about a particular topic, ask viewers for their opinion about it, what they like or agree with, and what they don’t. Or ask your Facebook fans to name a books, other than the Bible, impacted their lives most, and why. Ask your followers and fans for their feedback and opinions on a variety of things, especially what’s important in their daily lives, until you have a general understanding of the values and beliefs of those who are connecting with you.
- Learn. Based on the answers you receive, you can adjust your social media efforts to make the connection between your brand and their expressed values and beliefs. For instance you may find that, while you write historical romance, you are attracting young, tech-savvy professional women to your social media community. Therefore, you would want to continually keep up with the latest changes on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. When done well, this method is the most effective means to engage and build brand relationships.
- Go new old school. By engaging people based on what they believe, not just who they’re friends with on Facebook or followers of whom on Twitter, you will reach more of the right people.
Gernert ends his article by stressing, again, the importance of understanding your target audience and what makes them tick. It’s not just a matter of tracking them online (finding who their Facebook friends and Twitter followers are).
What do you think about this? Have you already been using this approach? If so, how are you going about asking people what their values and beliefs are? And has Facebook been your most successful social vehicle for getting answers?