The Great Divide
Greetings from Illinois. The land of Lincoln, corn and more. We are not the flattest state in the union, but we are no Rocky Mountain High either. I have had the pleasure of crossing the Rocky Mountains by car. It is both a beautiful and scary trip. They are huge and create the divide between the farmlands to the east and the deserts of the west coast. There is a place in Colorado called Independence Pass known as the Continental Divide also known as the Great Divide.
Technology and new media has the same kind of effect on communications. There are those who are so tech friendly that they have a challenge with interpersonal skills (tech farmlands), and then there are those who are great face-to-face, but have technophobia or limited knowledge with it (tech desert).
Most all businesses have a gap between the two audiences… those who get it and the ones who want to get it. The young and hip and the old and trying, the techies and the not so techies, the haves and the have nots and don't know why. You may try to bridge the gap by saying “Those who are not on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, are not my audience.”, but that does not help.
The Conceptual Divide
We all tend to communicate the way we want to be communicated with. That means that if you like to write, you tend to send and receive more email. If we like to talk, we tend to leave more voice mail. If it works for you, you may tend think that it works for others as well. This is where you may be falling short? Limiting how you communicate, may limit who you communicate with.
What will serve you best is knowing WHO your real audience IS, not the one you like to communicate to, but the one that is REALLY made up of customers and potential customers. I tend to spend most of my time on Facebook, but my real client base is more of a LinkedIn crowd. I have about 1500 connections on each and most are completely different audiences. I get more interaction from Facebook so I gravitate there, but most of the traction and new traffic to my website comes from LinkedIn.
Bridge the Gap
What follows are some tips to help you make sure you are serving the right audience with the right messages…
- Research Who Your Real Audience Is – Tools like Facebook and Google Analytics can give you some good information. Another good tool is your accounting system. See who you have done business with over the last year. Put them into a spreadsheet and create columns for eMail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Phone, and text. Then put a check mark next to the way they have communicated with you over the last year. It should give you a really good roadmap about the communication styles of your audience.
- Ask Them – Broadcast emails and surveys will generally give you a subset of opinions because they tend to gather 20-40% of the responses of the entire group (those willing to actually take the time to interact). Some data is better than “None” data. Once you get that information, ask through social media if your friends, fans and followers agree with the data collected? You may be surprised by some of the comments and interactions! Then sometimes you just have to pick up the phone and ask “How you doing?” and What's your thoughts?”.
- Use Multiple Tools – Make sure that you use more than one media to try to communicate your messages. Each of these blog posts are posted to; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Email, and more. If you post to more than one you can measure the results of what is working, and where it is not. Not every post gathers the same results. So try to cater to each of those through different messages for each of your different audiences. Then you can try to personalize each message for each property, where they hopefully follow a link to your blog or other posts… and measure it.
This past weekend included a multi-year high school reunion of sorts. One guy named Bill, who was not at any of the events, was commenting on a lot of posts but typing everything in ALL CAPS. Bill commented on one of my posts about how my blog was now #1 in Google searches. He asked “WHAT IS YOUR LINE OF WORK?” and I replied “Bill… I teach people how to use Social Media to market services and products. I would like to teach you that typing in all caps is the internet equivalent of SHOUTING EVERYTHING!”.
He instant messaged me a day later and in the nicest way said… “HEY BRIAN WHAT IS YOUR LINE OFWORK. PLEASE DONT WORRY ABOUT THE CAPS I HAD A STROKE AND IT MAKES IT EASYER TO TYPE.”. At first I felt embarrassed, and then he served up a GRACE SANDWICH. Bill continued… “GREAT JOB. PLEASE DONT BE SORRY.” We went on to have a very nice conversation on-line. Most importantly I learned something new about communicating WITH your audience… and understanding them… makes it easier to communicate in the way that BEST SUITS THEM!
What have you learned about communicating with your audience? Have any more tips to share?