April 17, 2015 Filament Social Media Marketing Specialist

Social Segmentation: Learning More About Your Business From Your Customers

We’ve talked a lot about listening to our social media communities, and we’re beginning to understand more and more about the importance of that activity.

More specifically, we’re learning to redefine what social listening entails, how we go about it, and what we can (or, should) expect to do with what we learn from listening.

Of course, we can always expect that once we get to know something – particularly with regard to social media – the rules will promptly change. That said, we want to talk about segmentation.

Segmentation is the newer, more “powerful” version of what demographics [used to be] to marketers. Demographics suggested that we know, generally, who our customers are. Social segmentation suggests that we get to know our customers even better. After all, we can’t expect to sell to people if we don’t know what they like.

That makes all the sense, of course, but that’s really just the beginning. We’re now starting to understand that segmentation is a trailhead, per se, and there are many paths that lead off in different and more detailed directions from there.

Have you heard of the term “psychographic segmentation?” It’s a fancy way of talking about people’s behaviors, and it gets pretty personal by delving more deeply into what makes people tick: their attitude, their lifestyle, and their various interests.

To break things down into more social terms, we now have socialgraphics.

“Socialgraphics capture the attitudes, characteristics, behavior,

and, most important,motivations of customers online.”

-Neicole Crepeau on businessesgrow.com

The operative word there is online. Think about it. Do we all behave exactly the same way, regardless of where we are or who we’re with? Do we have exactly the same needs, wants, behaviors or beliefs throughout every single aspect of our personal and professional lives? Do we want the same exact things today as we did ten years ago? For the most part, of course, our answer to the questions above is probably, “No.”

Now think about this: In terms of how you interact today via social media, do you feel you now interact differently than you used to, say, three to five years ago? Of course you do! In 2008, for example, most of the social media venues we now take for granted had only just begun. We didn’t really take them seriously yet, and we didn’t know much about things like “social media etiquette” when we first started, either.

Today’s social media participants are up to 10X more active, more vocal, and more opinionated than they were just a few years ago.

Social comparisons 2009-2013

They’re clearly used to having a voice on social media now, and they like it!

What does all this have to do with leaning more about your business from your customers? Talk to them, and you’ll find out. People aren’t afraid to tell brands what they think. On the more positive side of that coin, they enjoy being involved in brand evolution. They like knowing that they played a part in a campaign or a product launch.

We can talk more about the details of involving customers more personally on a one-on-one basis, but for the purposes of our conversation right now, we’re going to focus on platform behaviors.

People are “on” various social media venues because they want to interact. They want to be connected. They enjoy receiving news, seeking out ideas, and being entertained via social media. When brands connect successfully with their communities, it’s on a very personal and enlightening level; there’s always something in it for the customer. Period.

Social media is not the place to be “brandish” (which is just a slightly nicer way of saying, brand-selfish). It’s not the platform for pushy, hard-selling, just-trying-to-increase-the-bottom-line tactics. Yes, communications must be branded. And, yes, everything must be in the voice of the brand itself.

But if you try too hard to convert your social media community with incessant sales ads and “buy now” promotions, you’re not going to have much of a community left.

Connect and interact with people socially, and convert social relationships once you know they want to buy. Let them know what you have to offer, but make sure direct promotions are 25% or less of your interactions. As for the other 75%, of your interactions, let your customers guide you with their conversations.


We’d love to know more about what kind of conversations you have with your social media communities. What kinds of promotions and interactions seem to get the most attention? Once you find a successful “topic,” how do you keep the conversation ball rolling? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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