Last week in conversations with clients I was trying to impart the importance of developing a strategy for social media that includes a clear understanding of who you want your audience to be, so I compared thinking about who you want your target audience to be to dating.
My analogy is that just like seeking out a mate, you traditionally don’t decide to date just anyone who shows interest (or we’d see way more six-foot tall active athletes dating seriously stout sexagenarians). What we often do, either purposefully or subconsciously, is to outline which qualities and attributes we find attractive in a person and then set about finding ways to attract those types of prospects.
Whether journaling, in-depth discussions with trusted friends or even in therapy, many of us take the time and effort to determine who it is we want to love (or even just spend an evening with) because it saves us LOTS OF TIME and potentially heartbreak by just going after whoever comes after us.
When developing a social media strategy with a new client one of the first questions I ask is:
“Who do you want to reach and what would you like them to feel about you?”
Often I receive wide eyes and befuddled expressions in return. Sometimes I even hear “Isn’t the goal of social media to get as many followers/likes/visits as possible?” The feeling is that the higher the number the better your brand/company/service/product is doing.
I would argue that this isn’t the case.
We’ve all known those who date a lot and they all have one thing in common. Whether they obtain their hook-ups by online dating, by being open to set-ups, going to bars or clubs or just by sheer determination and luck, they express the same emotion: some degree of frustration.
Sure they sometimes seem as if they are enjoying the bounty but many suffer from the consequences of superficial interactions, wondering if there isn’t something more out there, something with more substance and permeability.
They also often seem mentally exhausted and drained.
Psychological research has found real reasons for this. Human beings are just not made to make that many choices although many people still believe that the more choices the better, the reality is that whether they are good or bad, too many choices are too much for us.
Wheedling down your Saturday night adventures to only those with potential might mean more nights with your cat on the couch but will likely create a greater satisfaction with the dates you do go on – even if they don’t turn out to be your soul mate in the end.
Before embarking on any strategy that involves attracting other people to you, it is best to take time to think about who it is you want to have near you and why or you might be spending way too much time trying to duck out before the entrees or dodge the persistent paramour.
It’s the same on-line: those who are interested in the things you are interested in and with whom you have common ground are more likely to stick with you and buy tickets to your next show, line up for your next book, book your services, hire you to do a job or support the crap out of you and your business because they feel a connection with you and your energies are best served there even if that means you don’t hit some arbitrary benchmark.
So before you start social media first decide who you would like to spend the rest of your career with?