The role of the online community manager (CM) was born out of the need for brands to connect with relevant people in a meaningful way.
To establish authority and offer value to a relevant community by way of sharing awesome, complimentary content, to solve problems as they arise, to monitor and moderate topical conversations—that was the Social Media Community Manager Job Description, and in many ways, still is.
These forms of engagement, if meant to be worthwhile, should always be tethered to actionable marketing key performance indicators (KPIs). In that respect, CMs aren’t just managing the community… they’re marketing to it.
This is part one of a two part series that will explore a variety of Twitter tools and tactics B2B Community Managers can leverage to identify target audiences, sync up with industry power users, and make lasting friendships that ultimately pay off in more ways than one.
As we move forward, we’ll use the example of Company X, which is marketing to owners of wineries. Whether Company X sells brochure production services, delectable water biscuits in bulk, elegant Pinot glasses, high-end stainless steel wine tanks, luxury rental cars for wine tours, or spit buckets — doesn’t matter. Our goal is to locate and befriend winery owners. So let’s get to it.
Identifying Target Audiences By Conversation
Short-tail, yet sophisticated keyword searches are a great place to begin tapping into relevant conversations that are happening now. Head over to your unassuming best friend, search.twitter.com and plug away.
Note the subtle but terrifically different results for “wine” vs. “winery.” I could tweet about how much I love drinking wine all day long (and sometimes, I do). Winery connotes a tighter focus— the physical, real world hub.
A quick search reveals even “winery” is a bit too vague. Sprinkle in some telling pronouns or articles, such as “our winery,” “my winery,” even “the winery” (though that last may require some extra vetting). Add quotes to filter at phrase match.
If someone catches your eye, follow the lead…
Even if it takes you away from Twitter, social channels are still social channels after all!
Burrow down that rabbit hole as deep as you “like”… then, head back to your Twitter keyword searches and investigate additional promising leads.
From the family owned vineyard to the high-end winery, if they’re hanging out on Twitter, it’s fair to assume they’re looking to make friends.
Dig into what Twitter Advanced Search has to offer. Interested in marketing only to regional customers? Simply add your criteria and refine your search.
Brush up on the Twitter search operators. Drop your search string into a TweetDeck or other Desktop app column to hear that whirrrr notification every time someone’s tweet matches your criteria.
Great community managers are always ready to pounce when the opportunity arises.
Tools like Topsy.com, The Archivist, and SearchTastic offer similar keyword search functionality, with added perks like sweet data visualizations, relevant URLs, tweets by volume charts, ability to export to Excel, and more extensive records.
SearchTastic’s ability to export to Excel is particularly awesome. Comprehensive, organized keyword report sortable by follower count are your pal.
Branch out. Expand your vocabulary. Think like your target audience members – they might be talking about specific varietals, reserves, vineyards, grapes, climates, regions, print publications, events – things the insiders know. Here, you may want to turn to traditional search for some inspiration and insight.
As you collate worthy leads, create your own report of names, follower counts, profile links, and other useful information to share among your team or with the client.
Identifying Target Audiences By Category
In WeFollow, categories are pre-set, so you don’t have to be too inventive with what you plug in. Just begin to type and see what populates.
Experiment with similar keywords:
And don’t neglect the specifics:
Drill into an interesting WeFollow profile to uncover other ways the same user self-identifies.
“Winemaker” wasn’t included in our original drop-down of preset categories, but lo and behold– 183 Twitter members self-tagged themselves as such.
Once you’ve identified sweet pockets of your audience by way of conversation or category, it’s up to you how you proceed. Will you reach out with a branded avatar on behalf of your company, or sneak in more subtly as your own charming self?
Whatever the method, the first step’s well underway: you’re learning where you want to be and who you want to befriend.
In the next installment, we’ll explore tactics for identifying even more target audience members based on the type of content they consume, how identifying and mining power-users in Twitter can lend terrific insight on where your targets hang and what they love, as well as a closer look at best practices for holistic friending and organic outreach.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.