Are You Talking to the Right People?

image of two people talking

Everyone wants to know “the secret” of social media marketing.

Some people think there’s a magic trick for automating Twitter or Facebook, or a special way to buy lists of social media users.

You’re too smart to believe that, but you might be surprised to know that there is a secret — a factor that you need to understand to make social media marketing work for you.

Those who fail to understand this can’t ever really make social media work. They’re the ones who say it’s a waste of time, that there’s no ROI, that social media is a fad for teenagers, not a real way to do business.

It’s not a secret or special way to talk to more customers. It’s not even a technique for listening to more customers.

The secret is who you need to ignore.

Content marketing has two customers

First, there’s something you need to understand about content marketing, especially when you use social media to get the word out.

Content marketing has two customers.

The first customer is the one you already know and love. It’s that very special person who buys from you.

The second customer is the person who shares your content.

The second customer might never buy your consulting package or your ebook or your collection of aromatherapy oils.

But if he has the attention of lots of readers, he can put your great content in front of those readers. And that makes him more valuable than any one individual buyer can ever be.

Every piece of content has to work for one of your two customers

This e-course is about content marketing, not content self-expression.

Self-expression is a fantastic and worthy goal, and sometimes it can make your marketing work better. But only if it’s held in check by a strategic framework.

“Strategic framework” is just fancy talk for this: Your content marketing has to make a connection with one of two customers.

  1. The person who buys your stuff
  2. The person who gets lots of other people to read your content

Any given piece of content has to work for at least one of those two readers.

Beware the peanut gallery

If you have a blog or participate in any kind of community online, you’ve probably noticed that not every reader falls into one of those two categories.

  • You’ve got the perennial devil’s advocate, who makes a point of painstakingly pointing out every way your content might not be correct in every single circumstance for all people everywhere.
  • You’ve got the professional crank who just hates everything.
  • You’ve got the outright troll who likes to stir up trouble and make everyone crazy.
  • And you’ve got a bunch of nice people who just aren’t that into what you have to offer.

Collectively, we can call them the peanut gallery.

They have a lot of advice for you about what you should do differently.

You should write different content. You should publish in a different format. You should write on different topics. And, by the way, they don’t like your blog theme.

Here’s how you handle the peanut gallery

Ignore them.

That’s all the advice you need

You can reply to their blog comments, but keep it short and sweet.

If you choose to reply to their email, again, keep it brief. “Thanks for your feedback” is plenty.

Don’t engage people who aren’t your right customer.

Yes, every human being has something to offer. (Even the troll. Hard to remember sometimes.)

But they may have nothing constructive to offer to you.

You don’t have to engage every human being who crosses your path. You don’t have to respond to every critic or troll who complains about you on their site, or on Twitter, or Facebook.

And as soon as your content starts to find some readers, you won’t be able to. Save your energy for your two customers: those who buy, and those who spread the word.

Are You Getting Dangerous Feedback from Your Readers and Prospects?

”But shouldn’t I at least try to respond to everyone?”

There’s just one problem with trying to engage each and every soul who wants to talk to you.

It will exhaust you. And your focus will waver.

If you’re creating content that’s intended to persuade, you need to focus on the person you’ve chosen to be your customer. That means the person who wants what you have to offer, who benefits from your solution, who enjoys your approach, and who has the means (money, time, etc.) to take advantage of your offer.

When you spend a lot of time engaging your critics, you start to hedge. Your content begins to waffle a little. You “sell from your heels.”

In other words, you wimp out.

Why You’re Too Qualified and Respectful to Produce Great Content

You’re trying to keep your critics from getting mad at you, when in fact, the people you need to take care of are those two customers.

  1. The person who buys your stuff
  2. The person who gets lots of other people to read your content

Your homework

You can’t really make a connection with those two customers if you don’t know who they are.

So sometime today, take about 10 minutes to brainstorm everything you know about your perfect customer — the one who buys your stuff. Do some freewriting to uncover who she is, what she values, why she loves you, what problems you solve for her.

Then do another 10 minutes of freewriting to brainstorm your perfect “second customer,” the one who shares your content. What kind of platform does he have? What’s his topic? What’s his approach to that topic? What’s his relationship with your perfect customer?

Finally, think about where these two customers hang out. Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Third Tribe? What’s the best place to make a connection?

Extra credit

How does your current content look? Does all of your content marketing speak to one of your two customers? Does the balance feel right, based on where you are today?

(When you start out, you focus a bit more on your second customer, so you can get the links and recommendations that build a wider audience. As your content starts to find more readers, you’ll shift, providing more for those all-important first customers — the ones who buy.)

Sonia Simone

P.S.

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