I have a friend at another agency who surveyed 30 colleagues about their use of social media. The responses were a bit of a surprise. Research indicates the average American has eight social media accounts (nine if you’re 16-24 years old). But her 30 colleagues use 1,176 social sites, which is ~35 accounts per person. (She wrote a post about it if you’re curious.) My point in bringing this up is that you can’t just assume your audience is on Facebook. Staying competitive means being agile and adapting as quickly as your audience moves from platform to platform.

In a world where there are so many possible platforms, how do you connect with your audience? Well, I have thoughts about that!

The Right Message

A successful marketing strategy needs to have the right message for the right audience. You already know this. But most people think the trick is writing the message. I think they’re missing the forest because they’re stuck on a single tree.

At Sabal Group, we believe in the importance of understanding your audience. That’s why every single thing we do is based on data about them instead of guesses. We use proprietary data modeling to discover as much about your audience as we can. The result of this in-depth knowledge? We know the platforms they prefer and what content they want to consume on that platform. Armed with that knowledge, you can craft a more cohesive and persuasive message. Then you can consistently deliver that message to your target audience on the platforms of their choice. That last bit is the secret sauce.

The Right Platform

When brands think about other platforms instead of their own website, they’re usually thinking about social media. And that means they’re talking about Facebook. It’s true that Facebook is still the world’s most visited social media platform, with about 2.89 billion monthly active users. Even Baby Boomers are using it. But chances are you’ve noticed your news feed is filled with more sponsored posts (aka ads) than updates from family and friends. Others noticed it too. That’s one reason for the proliferation of alternative social platforms.

On the other hand, there’s also the human factor to consider. As “rugged individuals,” we take pride in determining where we choose to consume “trusted” content. And that puts the onus on brands to meet their audience on the platforms the audience chooses. Maybe it’s your website, but maybe it’s YouTube. If you’re speaking to adult children of seniors, then you should know Gen Xers love YouTube and frequently share video content on Facebook.

And that brings us back to the fact that the average American has eight social media accounts (or more likely, many more than eight). Which brings me to the one question you’re probably avoiding: Where does your primary audience go to consume content.

Before you answer, and commit precious time and resources to creating more of the same old content, be sure you’re not simply reverting to a default guess. Because if you deliver a consistent and holistic message to the right audience on the wrong platform, you’re essentially speaking to an empty room. If you’re delivering inconsistent messages on the right platform, you’re going to confuse the right audience.

A Connected World Requires Agility

Did you know 2 out of 3 people worldwide use a mobile device? In the US, 97% of us have a mobile phone and 85% own a smartphone. Those are game changing numbers. We’re using our phones for everything, and occasionally, even for actual phone calls. The average person has 63 interactions on their phone per day, and 69% of us check our phone within five minutes of waking up. Star Trek tricorders didn’t go far enough in envisioning the power of holding a small computer in our hand.

You could argue smartphones are why ride sharing disrupted taxi service, paper maps are rare, and Garmin lost its GPS business. Online dating (hello Tinder), streaming (goodbye Blockbuster), and e-readers have changed our personal lives. When was the last time you bought a “real” book instead of downloading one? It’s all at our fingertips.

The digital revolution is still in early stages. But what we’re seeing is just how rapidly the landscape changes when it’s digitized. Staying ahead of the curve means staying on your toes. As your audience seeks out new platforms and technologies, you need to be ready with the right content for them. Hint: virtual reality could give you the edge if you think about simple tools and high-quality 3D tours. Even homebound seniors could get excited about your community if they could see it that way.

If you’d like to know more about how Sabal Group can help you get the info you need to succeed, please give me a call. I’d love to chat more about ways you can meet your audience on the platform of their choice.