m-tip 9: Have you utilized the power of social media "groups?"


If your organization has a presence on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook - but hasn't leveraged "groups" - you're missing out on free and potentially meaningful exposure.

When advertisers run sponsored ads or boosted posts on social media, they're afforded a chance to 'target' users of those platforms based on broad criteria, such as geography, income range, age, gender, outside interests, profession, political leanings, 'likelihood to engage,' among others. The reason these platforms can offer this targeting is because users of social media basically agree to be communicated with, as a quid pro quo for use of the platform. Whether it's information volunteered in a personal or professional profile; data gleaned from the ads all of us click on; posts shared with friends, family, and colleagues; or any number of other trackable online activities...social media users provide countless clues for social platforms and their advertisers to follow.

Here's another way social media users voluntarly I.D. themselves on some social media sites: They sign up to become members of "groups."

Organically established by a cluster or individuals who share a common interest -- like a hobby, a profession or industry segment, a geography, or perhaps a political or social cause -- social media "groups" are typically currated by one of more administrators, are goverened by group rules, are generally joined by invitation, and can range from a handful of members to thousands and tens of thousands.

How do you leverage 'groups' for marketing purposes? In addition to monitoring them for research purposes, you can literally join groups and the conversations they have -- so long as what you add to the conversation is genuine, of use, and does not break the group's stated rules of engagement. At a very high level, follow these steps:

  1. Identify groups who might be interested in what you sell, make, advocate for, offer, etc. (Facebook and LinkedIn, in particular, have search tools you can use to find groups simply by using keywords.)
  2. Study and commit to abiding by each group's rules, if they have such rule. (Note: Many -- dare we say -- most expressly frown on overt marketing, advertising, promotion, and hard-offers of any kind!)
  3. Think long and hard about what you can share with the group that is meaningful: Is it genuinely useful? Educational? Informational? Compelling? Of true worth and value to the group's conversations? Assuming you can align your interests with the group's interests, ask the administrator to join.
  4. Next, watch the group dialogue for a while, to be sure you fully understand the tone, style, frequency, ebb, and flow of the conversation. Also take note of how other organizations interact with the group, either successfully or unsuccssefully. (Self-serving members are easy to spot and first to get kicked out.)
  5. Dip your toe in by joining the conversation in a meaningful way: Do you have an informed opinion to add? A white paper? Enlightening research or statistics? An online tool, communications toolkit, or practical tips members might be interested in? Some other educational resource? If so, humbly offer it up to the group, again being extremely sensitive to and abiding by the group's rules.
  6. Depending on the reception you receive, follow up if and as appropriate... With kindness, courtesy, earnestness, respect.

Interested in learning if social media groups can or should be part of your marketing mix? Contact Cowley!

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