If you're a brand that has both an online and real-world presence, you might be surprised the first time you dig into your social analytics and discover that your online fanbase's demographics don't line up with your real-world customer base. We've had this exact conversation with several brand managers over the years. They're often surprised at this, and with good reason: after all, the customers that interact with you in the offline world are the ones exposed to your brand and have made commitment and intent clear. Why wouldn't they be the ones most likely to engage with you on social properties? Why would your social users' demographics vary so much from these real-world users?
Sound familiar? You've probably fallen into the classic trap of looking at things from the wrong point of view. You're thinking like the brand social media manager you are, rather than putting yourself in your customers' shoes.
Here's a thought starter & test for you: do you have a favorite independent restaurant, store, bakery, lounge or coffee shop… someplace where you're a regular? You know, the one where they know your face if not your name & order? Chances are you have a couple. Now, how many of those brick & mortar joints do you follow on Facebook? …on Instagram? …on Twitter?
If you're like the majority of consumers, the answer is likely "not many."
Okay, but now let's think about how many businesses you follow on Instagram or Twitter, or how many Pages you've liked on Facebook. Think about the intersection between your real-world behavior and your social activity. Again, if you're like most consumers, there's less overlap than you'd expect.
So people's interests are different between social media/cyberspace and the real-world/meatspace. But, why?
This question is much more complicated, and has a ton of possible answers that we’ll be exploring in this series.
Let's start with what might be the most common answer, and the toughest pill to swallow: someone being a fan of your product doesn't necessarily mean they care to interact with your brand. For example, I'm a huge fan of Levi's 511 jeans & chinos, Spitfire Audio virtual instruments, and Frontera & Xochitl salsas. Can't get enough of any of those. Nine times out of ten, if I'm buying jeans, I head straight for Levi's 511, and Spitfire makes my favorite virtual orchestra samples, and if I'm buying jarred salsa, it's almost always Frontera and/or Xochitl.
These are some of my brand preferences. In other words, I'm a dedicated real-world buyer of those brands & products. I seek them out, and frequent stores that carry them. They'd have to work hard to lose me as a customer. I'm not a brand evangelist, but I'm the next best thing: a sure thing.
Do I follow any of those brands on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, though? Absolutely not. There's any myriad of reasons, too — maybe I'm not passionate enough about my jeans to want to interact with the brands. Maybe the orchestra sample companies' pages didn't entertain me enough when I checked out them out. Maybe I didn't even consider following Xochitl until right now as I'm writing this post.
Chances are you're much the same. You probably have many go-to brands and products, but you couldn't care less about interacting with most of them on social media. We've found that there are commonly two underlying causes to any of the reasons why:
We'll tackle both of these from the perspective of a brand manager in later posts. But, you can see how online social behavior doesn't line up with commonly-accepted logic in the sense of omission (why don't the people that like me Like me?)
Next time, we'll dig into other possible reasons why your social media followers may be so different from your real-world customers. Be sure to subscribe and follow Mattermind so you don't miss it!
(Photo courtesy Flickr user JD Hancock.)
Greg is the founder & CEO of Mattermind. Before starting Mattermind, he was the Chief Technology Officer of VL Group and appliedSB for a decade, where he originated world-class media delivery & streaming platforms used by clients such as Live Nation, Billboard, Delta, Pepsi, IMVU, Shazam, and dozens more. Besides his career in technology, social media, and strategy, Greg is also the founder and Musical/Creative Director for New York Holiday Singers, Inc., and the mastermind behind the progressive pop/rock project Conspiracy Of Violet.