There are a lot of things to talk about when defining your target audience. Are they on the social network you’re using? What are their likes? Dislikes? Professions? Ages? Gender? Even though the Internet is global, geographical location is also important. As much as people talk about “developing an online presence” and “getting new fans”, these fans and followers need to be capable of becoming customers in the future. A mom and pop store exclusively serving Fairfield County, Connecticut isn’t going to make money with 1,000 Twitter fans out in California.
On the other hand, what’s unique about the Internet is its bidirectional nature. Even if you shouldn’t proactively target non-ideal fans or followers, nothing is stopping them from finding your business online on their own or through mutual connections and getting involved. You should be thrilled when this happens. If people are interested enough in checking out your Facebook page just by word-of-mouth, your page is generating buzz and your content is interesting enough for mutual acquaintances to take notice. Even if friends of your current fans aren’t your ideal customers, they’re opening you up to their own fans. Non-target fans may not have the most immediate return for your business but remember that they have their own personal network of connections. Fan satisfaction begets good recommendations, and over time the most unlikely fans can have positive effects on your business.
I’m fortunate enough to work with an amazing store that I’ll call the Widget Store. Widget Store mostly serves the United States northeast and New England territories, so imagine my surprise when a new fan – who I’ll call Jane for the sake of privacy – mentioned that she was living India. Jane heard about the business through a friend and found the Facebook page on her own. Through some direct messages, I found out that she’s a widget-loving United States native who moved to India for her career.
Jane quickly became one of Widget Store’s most loyal and devoted fans. She faithfully liked and commented on every single post I made regardless of what time or day it was posted. She frequently shared posts on her own page, which resulted in a couple of new fans. She chatted with other Facebook fans on the page itself. She even mentioned at one point that the page helped allay some of the culture shock associated with moving to India.
Several months after Jane became a fan of Widget store, she sent another direct message our way. As it turns out, Jane had a relative living in New England who was interested in making a substantial widget-based purchase. Jane had been very happy with her experiences on Widget Store’s Facebook page and asked how she could put her relative in touch with the store. We directed her to call the store managers, who were already familiar with Jane due to her superfan status. In just one week, a big widget purchase was made by Jane’s relative, who in turn
became another happy Facebook page fan.
Social media tools such as Facebook advertising, Twitter custom search, and Google Blog Search have let businesses and marketers target precise demographics with incredible accuracy. This shouldn’t preclude community managers from valuing everybody, ideal or not. Everyone has their own network, and one happy fan can mean five new purchasing customers. Invest in your community and your community will be good to you.