The 3 Steps to Finding and Keeping Your Digital Audience Hooked

Want to know something scary? According to Microsoft Corp. researchers, the average Joe officially has a shorter attention span than the average goldfish. Yep, that’s right. With an attention span of 9 seconds, goldfish can focus on something longer than we can. This is due in part to our heavy use of digital media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, just to name a few, feature scrolling timelines. This means you usually move from one post to the next in a matter of seconds requiring an exponentially shorter attention span. For most of us, this is a great thing. We can speed through all the new posts but still have the option to stop and check out what interests us. For marketers however, this creates a real challenge. How can you capture your audience’s attention with such little time?

First things first: branding. A strong brand has the power to create a lasting relationship with an audience member whether it is in person or through a social media site. Without a strong brand identity, audiences can easily get lost in the sea of companies and products available today. With no audience, there are no sales or product interactions and ultimately, no product at all. Reaching your specific audience and sharing your branded product with them is key to creating a lasting relationship and thus ensuring future interactions, whether that is by word-of-mouth advertising or future purchase.

One way for marketers to reach these audiences is through social media sites. With the constant evolution of social media, marketers now have the ability to focus on specific audience members, grouping them by age, interests, posts they have liked, products they have purchased, pages they have followed, and even geography. This is called audience segmentation and it allows businesses and brands to efficiently target their message to the right people within a platform.

In order to identify the audience segments a company or brand should target, a marketer must thoroughly know the product or brand. Who is most likely to purchase or use the product? Why do they need this product? What else do people like who like this product? What makes the product different from its competitors’ products? All of these questions allow marketers to better understand the product they are advertising and to ultimately provide an avenue to personalize content for segmented audiences. With so many products that seemingly have the same purpose, personalization now plays a major part in customer purchase decision. A study by Forester Consulting, it was found that product personalization greatly increases customer interaction and engagement with a product. The more opportunities a customer has to make something their own, the greater the chance is that they will purchase the product.

It can be difficult to connect with your desired audience because of the multiple media platforms available in today’s world. According to the Pew Research Center, when compared to Instagram and Twitter, Facebook has the largest percent of all internet users at 79% followed by Instagram with 32% and Twitter with 24%. While there is overlap, some internet users are members of multiple social media sites, many Facebook users are not members of Instagram or Twitter. In terms of age demographics, young adults ages 18-29 are consistently the largest age group on social media. Surprisingly, however, approximately 72% of online users who are 50-64 years old and 62% of all internet users age 65 and older are all on Facebook. What does this mean for marketers? Having a presence on Facebook is critical due to the sheer volume of users. Instagram and Twitter should not be forgotten however. With a smaller group of users, the likelihood of a more intimate connection between brand or product and the consumer is much greater.

Now that you have found and connected with your audience, let’s talk about how you can keep them interested. Powerful social media campaigns can build brands like no other. A great example of this is the Walt Disney Company and Make-A-Wish Foundation’s #ShareYourEars campaign. In this campaign, Disney and Make-A-Wish prompted their followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to post pictures wearing their Disney ears. In return, Disney parks pledged to donate $5 up to $1,000,000 to Make-A-Wish to help grant terminally ill children’s wishes. By the end of the campaign, Disney doubled their original pledge and donated $2,000,000. Why was this campaign so successful? For one, they maximized the use of social media. The campaign utilized Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Second, they made intimate connections by utilizing pictures. As discussed above, attention spans are short these days. Pictures can portray a lot of emotion with just a glance so they are perfect for social media.

So if you want to hook that goldfish in your 9 seconds, remember these three take-aways:

  1. Utilize all the social media platforms you can! Your brand (and audience) will thank you.
  2. Tailor a specific message for the specific audience you want to reach. Personalization is key.
  3. Focus on the specific audience you want to reach, not the masses. You need to build a connection with each individual in order to be successful in the long run.

Addison DeLancey – Content Creator

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