Social Media 101 – Step 3: Find or Make a Hole and Fill It…

SARLACSocial media and social marketing have what SHOULD be a high calling. It’s a great way for folks of like mind to share information and create groups and socialize with folks who are interested in the same thing.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of noise, and folks throw out a lot of information, links, videos and what-not without a lot of thought as to the usefulness/interestingness of that information. And, yes – I make up words…

Which is what this cute little post is all about. To make the most of your time (and investment), you really want to find a place or space where you can innovate, or you want to stick with the tried and true. You want to find a hole where you fit – and fill that place up with good info, humor, photos or whatever. If you fill a void and fill a need, you’ll attract visitors, fans and – most importantly – interaction. But, be warned – if you try to maintain the status quo and do only what the “experts” tell you to do, it can come across as hollow – and repeat visits and viral sharing will be more difficult.

And so, in the interest of helping you identify and fill those “holes” and keep your social interaction genuine and compelling, I offer the Insanely Important Tip #3:

Lesson 3: Find or Make a Hole and Fill It…

Who is your audience and what do they want to see? Are your competitors offering that info? Is it oversaturated? Has that message become so diluted and over-done? If it has – innovate.

You’ve got to define the need (hole), define the current solutions to that need and then find a way to differentiate yourself and become an “innovator”. That’s pretty broad – but with just a tiny bit of thought and action, you can set yourself and your information apart – and generate a lot more interest and interaction, which is what this social game is all about. And so…

The Exercise:

Part 1: Who’s Looking in the Holes? Define your audience. This should be pretty easy. You know your business, right? If you need help here, contact us – we’d love to explore your audience, clients and customers and make some suggestions. Examine who these people are – online and offline. See what they like, what they expect, what they buy. Google the crap out of the demographic. There’s plenty of info out there. Write it down and keep it within easy reach – you really have to keep this in mind, because you’re NEVER going to appeal to 100% of the world’s population – so it’s better to try to narrow it down and focus on the folks who are REALLY your consumers.

Part 2: What Are the Holes – or Do You Need to Create Them? Define your audience’s wants, needs and expectations. See Part 1, above. You probably don’t have enough money or time to be so broad that you accidentally fill those wants, expectations and needs. Being precise saves time, money and psychic energy. Fill the obvious holes, look for new ones or create new ones. If you see a need (hole) in your field – fill it. If you can do that, you can innovate and capture a great audience – but breaking free of people’s expectations is difficult and fraught with danger. People are reluctant to change, so plan accordingly.

Part 3: Fill the Holes with the Same-Old-Same-Old and/or Differentiate. Which do you want to do? The answer is the one that is going to work best for your business and your viewers/fans/customers/clients. If your audience expects and consumes primarily pie charts, give them pie charts, but give them kick-ass pie charts. Give them something a little different and a little better. Add your own spin – humor, color, better design, more usable formats, etc. If your pie charts suck and the next guy’s are a little bit better, which one is going to sell harder? You get the idea. You want to fill the outstanding needs a little better than everyone else – but “better” is kind of subjective here. Sometimes, just your personality is enough of a differentiation to make your stuff more compelling. If you’re going to be completely different and offer your customer base something other than what they expect, you have to plan for a little blowback – but in the long run, standing apart from the field can be a GREAT boon to your bottom line – as long as it’s done judiciously and with your expectations in check.

In summation – Define your audience, define their needs and expectations, then define how you’re going to fill those “holes.”

Now, young Padawan,, if you’ve completed Step 1, you’ve defined your business. In Step 2, you defined your “message.” Today, you defined your audience and their needs. Put them all together and you have your basic “Social Marketing Plan” or at least the bones of your concept. You’re ready for the big guns and the real rubber-meets-the-road Step 4: Get Rolling…

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