The importance of understanding your target audience when using social media.

A blog post previously has touched on considering the target audience that use social media and what they use it for. This seemed particularly important to a company’s marketing initiatives through these platforms, as each company has a different target audience they need to reach. It may be an easy form of engagement with customers, but if you are not engaging the right customers then it is not likely to add value, or revenue to your company, and with so many different forms of social media this can be a tricky path to navigate.

The first and most obvious to start with is the veteran of social media; that is Facebook. Put it this way, if Facebook was a country, the only two countries with larger populations would be China and India.  This is a crazy number of people that businesses have placed at the palm of their hands for marketing purposes, especially if they are a multinational company that expands over several continents (Smashing Apps, 2011) . The diagram below shows where Facebook reaches:

world map of facebookSource: PBT Consulting, 2012

This shows the reach to the scale that it is, with only regional social media sites being more popular in certain areas, although, that is something to consider for certain areas and marketing.

However, even though Facebook is the largest it does not necessarily mean it is the best for your companies marketing needs, so I will move on further into age and what each company is best for.


The answer to who uses social media to communicate is not a simple one, but it would be a mistake to only consider it to be young people. While there are predominant user age groups over others; this does not mean that older generations do not engage. A recent study found that 66% of all adults have more than one social media platform and they have been the fastest growing communication device. To put it into perspective it took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million listeners and Facebook only 4 years to reach 500 million users showing the popularity cannot just be in youthful users (Walaski, 2013).

For the U.K here is a break-up of the percentage of people on some of the most popular social media sites:

GenderSource: Social Media Chimps, 2012

Here this shows the different patterns of usage between male and female, and even though there is not a massive difference, some lean more towards having more male or female users. This may be something to take into account if you are targeting a particular gender.

However, another important factor is age as so many companies have different age targets for their products or services. For example, you wouldn’t be trying to promote brand awareness and customer relationships providing retirement products over the site Flickr as only 9% of that age population use it. It also shows that Facebook and YouTube have consistently high usage within all the age groups, so these channels may be best for reach if the product is quite generically used by all age groups.

Social media usage is shifting slightly though, the 45-54 age brackets are the ones still growing in usage of Facebook and Google + whereas the younger generation have stagnated. This could be due to the more likely chance that they take up newer sites and ideas when they are introduced (Buffer Social, 2013).

ageSource: Social Media Chimps, 2012

What are the sites used for

The differing audience ages and site offerings are also something to consider. There are the photos and video based platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest YouTube and Flickr. The social networking platforms Facebook, Twitter, Google + that focus on group identity, posting comments, uploading and sharing content like videos, pictures, blogs etc. Then there are the ‘other’ sites such as the professional page LinkedIn, the blogging site Tumblr and the search and discovery app that allows you to see where your contacts have been Foursquare. (Social Times, 2014) This is not even a collective list but for a business to be able to use these sites effectively they must know what they are for and whether that could be channelled into marketing.

Age is also a consideration in the common uses of social media sites. The 18-44 age groups are the easiest to reach via social networking sites and are the most eager to pass on messages and make referrals for specific brands. For the age group between 45-64, it is necessary to contact them on social networks that they are already a part of and creating that ‘share worthy content’. Whereas the 65 + are most likely to use social media to connect to others such as family and friends, however, they also use the platforms to comparison shop for low prices (Pitta, 2010). This gives a short guide to develop and consider what social media platform is right for your company, as it is smart to consider whether it will reach the target audience, and be used as a benefit to your company’s brand, products or services. However, it is worth to note that Facebook generates 66% of total shared content over social media platforms (Social Times, 2014) and 80% of consumers would prefer to connect to a brand over Facebook (Buffer Social, 2014). So this platform has definite benefits over others for a digital marketing strategy.

To sum up there are definite benefits over using the large giants like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as they reach such a wide ranging audience but it is important to consider how the age group they are addressing is using the sites and for what purpose? It is relatively obvious that the benefits of using some will work with some companies better than others, but the key is to getting to the right target audience.  For example, using Pinterest to promote a male clothing range would be great as it is very visual but with 68.2% of users being female and 97% of fans liking Pinterest’s Facebook page being female, it may not reach as well as using another form of social media marketing (Pinterest, 2015). This is just a few considerations to ensure the right research is carried out before the initiative is carried out.



Buffer Social (2013) 10 surprising social media statistics that might make you rethink your social strategy. [Online] <> [accessed 28/04/2015]

PBT Consulting (2012) World Map of Social Networks [Online] <> [accessed 28/04/2015]

Pinterest (2015) Infographics. [Online] <> [accessed 28/04/2015]

Pitta, D (2010) Using Social Media. Journal of Consumer Marketing. Vol. 27, No. 5.

Smashing Apps (2011) 34 Infographics to understand the world of social media. [Online] [accessed 28/04/2015]

Social Media Chimps (2012) UK social media demographics. [Online] [accessed 25/04/2015]

Social Times (2014) What (and why) do people share on social networks. [Online] [accessed 28/04/2015]

Walaski, P (2013) Social Media. Professional Safety. Vol. 58, No. 4, pp 40-49.

Is email marketing dead or just evolving and is it worth a company pursuing it as a digital marketing strategy?

Email marketing has been under intense scrutiny by the public and public bodies, as it has become increasingly more irritating in the eyes of the consumers with unsolicited and irrelevant emails flooding mailboxes every day. It is also difficult to avoid giving out an email address as any online business asks a consumer to sign up with a valid email address before purchase. There is also the tick to ‘opt out’ instead of ‘opt in’ boxes, which leads consumers to end up in email databases without sometimes realising it. So with this in consideration is it really worth a business using email marketing as a strategy?

This post will look into some of the main aspects that take effect on email marketing to assess whether they are still worth the time and energy for companies to introduce or continue doing.

Legal Restrictions

The increasingly irritated consumer has led to legal restrictions being put into practice that stop businesses from using an email address that has not been permitted to receive emails, using fraudulent means of getting email addresses e.g. harvesting from websites or routing information, creating false or misleading content, continuing to send emails after the opt out option has been requested, and regulate misleading subject lines and misleading as to where the email has been sent from. They must also be able to produce the permission for each individual account if requested, where the address was obtained from and some areas prohibit ‘spam’ altogether. This provides the insight into the only way to protect your company from email marketing legal restrictions, is to ensure they are permission based and honest in the communication of content (Freeman, Nemiroff & Zeltzer, 2003).

For a company already implementing email marketing or about to set out this could be a deterrence as it is so heavily regulated and likely to continue; so it is for the company to ensure they follow the rules in order to stay within the law but also have an effective email campaign. This may require more inventive ways or more expense to keep this form of marketing relevant to the company.


There is also the factor of whether your company is likely to receive good open rates for their emails as certain industries report differing success. Open rates for industries differ from 13% for voucher, daily deals and coupon companies and 29% for companies that relate to hobbies or lifestyle. This is a big difference as it shows certain industries can have more than twice the success in open rates, so therefore are closer to getting some form of return on investment through the emails. Some of the top industries that have the higher open rates out 47 industries researched are; sports, religion, photo and video, non-profit, home and garden, hobbies, government, and arts and artists. These industries all have a 25% or above open rate (Mail Chimp Research, 2015). This shows that it is worth investigating your industry before setting up an email initiative as you may decide it is not worth the time or investment from the average industry results.

However, it has been found that the size of the company does not make much of a difference to the open rates that range from 21-23%. This is a positive showing that the size of your company will not gain an advantage or disadvantage for open rates compared to other companies (ibid).

To check out the full list of industries, afore mentioned, and further information about the measurements of effectiveness in email please see the link below:


It is a common occurrence with today’s technology that most emails are opened over a mobile device, which has made text heavy emails illegible and difficult to read. This has had a major effect on email marketing and could be the reason for some industries, which rely on a rich source of information to get their message across, receiving a drop in open rates (Minsker, 2014). It is becoming increasingly important for companies to adapt and change to this technology as it has been found consumers scan emails rather than reading them (US News, 2015). This is even more important in a mobile format as it is difficult to read emails that have been designed to view on a computer screen (Minsker, 2014).

An example of how it should be adapted is below:

email marketing mobileSource: (ibid)


Here it shows how they have developed by being the right size and scale for the phone, as previously they had too much content to be legible. For an email to take notice they must have usability features designed specifically for mobile so that the recipients can scan in the same they normally do.

This post has examined some key features a company should consider before taking up an email marketing strategy as it is evolving due to legal restrictions and technology updates. The differences between industry results vary as well, so with that in mind the question to ask is; is the content your industry communicates going to be successful or suited to the new face of email marketing? If you believe it is you may be interested in a previous blog post exploring how to write successful emails. The link is below:


Freeman, R., Nemiroff, E., Zeltzer, A. (2003) Email Marketing: A Survey. The Licensing Journal. Vol. 23, No. 5, pg. 18.

Mail Chimp Research (2015) Email Marketing Benchmarks [Online] [accessed 30/04/2015]

Minsker, M (2014) The future of Email Marketing. CRM Magazine. Vol. 18, No. 2, pg. 24.

US News (2015) 8 tips for writing an email people will actually read. [Online] <> [accessed 14th February 2015]

You have created interesting and relevant content, but how do you get the blogs read by your audience and direct traffic to the original source? Some simple advice and steps you should know.

I have already previously discussed how to gain attention to a blog post over social media in several different ways; however, this just developed another question to answer; what platforms are best to get views and traffic to the original blog source? This is an important question to ask, for any company, before setting off on a blog strategy as they need to ensure that they are getting the best out of their blogging.

With so many different platforms including; Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google +, Linked In, Pinterest etc. it is difficult for a business to recognize where their best chances of success lie. They all have benefits to organisations in their own right, but for generating views and accessibility to blogs some may be more efficient than others. To ensure the right method is chosen, a firm must first recognize the social media landscape using the honeycomb framework (Kietzmann et al. 2011).

Social Media FunctionalitySource: Ibid.

This outlines some of the key functions of social media to consider and evaluate, which areas are best for the features needed for blogs, what platforms offer for blogging, and audiences that utilize them. For blogs to gain exposure the following features should be available through social media sites:

Sharing: This key feature will determine whether readers share to other potential readers and how willing they are to do this. Some key social media platforms that allow the sharing of blog type content are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn and are some of the top examples of users that want to share content with their contacts. However, you must consider what each platform is generally used for in the ‘sharing sphere’, for example, LinkedIn is for professionals and businesses so is the content suitable for that environment (Kietzmann et al. 2011) and Twitter and Facebook generally share a variety of thing including photos, other users status’s and articles or opinions (Social Times, 2014). Take a look at the percentages of what people share via social media here:

Conversations:  There are many forms including tweets, writing a status, blogging etc. and for many different reasons. The key is to tap into which platforms again have each type but also to find out what people are conversing about and providing something from your business blog for people to converse with each other. For example, Unilever gave its community something to talk about by introducing the ‘Dove Real Beauty’ campaign, which attracted positive discussion boards over several social media platforms (Kietzmann et al. 2011).

Relationship: This is in terms of how users can relate to each other and share content, so will require some form association by friends, followers or the like (ibid).



The demographics of social networks are an important factor to ensure the blogs are reaching the right target audience of your company. The table below shows a general view of the percentages of each generation that is currently maintaining a social networking site profile (Pitta, 2010).

Although here is a link to a more comprehensive breakdown of age groups using each of the most popular sites:

Demographic tableSource: Pitta, 2010

This gives you a general idea although there are different general user functions in each age group. The millennials and generation X age groups are the easiest to reach via social networking sites and are the most eager to pass on messages and make referrals for specific brands. For boomers, it is necessary to contact them on social networks that they are already a part of and creating that ‘share worthy content’. Whereas matures are most likely to use social media to connect to others such as family and friends, however, they also use the platforms to comparison shop for low prices (Pitta, 2010). This gives a short guide to develop and consider what social media platform is right for your company, as it is smart to consider whether it will reach the target audience, and be used as a benefit to your company’s brand, products or services. It will also give you a further guide on blog content.


Hoot Suite

Now that you have determined what platform suits for blogging and the age group of your audience, how do you get that traffic to read and be directed to the original blog source? There is a simple method for this that is available for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. It allows you to post content to all of these platforms at the same time, put a link to the original content site, helps to make sure that the content is seen, and customize the images that can be seen to interest readers to click on. A further consideration of sharing on Facebook is to share it to your Facebook page and not to a personal profile page, as this can be shared later. The reason for this is due to Facebook’s edge rank that pushes very few page posts into other people’s streams unless there is interaction of liking, commenting and sharing (Social Media Examiner, 2012).

Here is what the tool looks like:

Hoot SuiteSource: Ibid



Tumblr is also a very easy way to share content as it is a blogging platform and can let you use a text or blog option to post your blog. Just after publishing a blog post all you have to do is put the HTML code over to Tumblr (Social Media Examiner, 2012). The only thing with Tumblr is the relatively young user demographic so this would have to suit your purpose of blog posts (Social Media Examiner, 2014).

Overall, this is just but a few considerations for when a company wants to get the most out of blogging as a digital marketing tool. It is also important to ensure the content is interesting to gain the views, which have previously been examined in my blog post. If you are interested the link to this is below:



Adweek (2015) Infographic [Online] [accessed 23/04/2015]

Kietzmann, J., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I & Silvestre, B (2011) Social Media? Get Serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons. Vol. 54, No. 3, pp 241-251.

Pitta, D (2010) Using Social Media. Journal of Consumer Marketing. Vol. 27, No. 5.

Social Media Examiner (2012) How to promote your blog with social media. [Online] [accessed 24/04/2015]

Social Media Examiner (2014) How to use Tumblr for your business. [Online] [accessed 23/04/2015]

Social Times (2014) What (and why) do people share on social networks. [Online] [accessed 23/04/2015]

The Things We Should Know About Blogging For SME’s.

The Things We Should Know About Blogging For SME’s. 

When considering using blogs for the small B&B business in Brighton, I had to think to myself, how do you get the views and interest of a small businesses target audience? I have had personal experience reading blogs but I read blogs that are interesting and relevant to my lifestyle; whether that be reading about diet or exercise tips, recipes, or travel guides. These blogs are generally written by a popular ‘blogger’ and not by actual companies. So I find myself asking are companies blogs a successful marketing tool?

Blog posts appear to be gaining momentum as a tool for marketing and are used for strategies and processes, such as; branding, managing reputation, developing customer trust and loyalty, and promoting a company’s online presence. However, there is very little research and blog posts generally seem to be adopted by larger corporations rather than the small to medium businesses. The reason as to why is unclear as the SME may benefit from the relatively low budget marketing tool (Chuah, Deans & Parker 2009). With this in consideration, the question for this blog post is to determine how SME’s could benefit from this form of digital marketing and what would make for a successful blog post?

The first important point to consider is that SME’s should not be considered as homogeneous and that this marketing technique may not be suitable for every business. It depends on the type of customers a business carries on whether a blog post is necessary or effective, for example, do the customers use or take notice of blogs, is the type of product going to gain interest through blogs, and customer preference i.e. if the customers prefer a face-to-face approach/ have trust in online resources (ibid).  A study by Kaye & Johnson (2011) found that there was seven types of blog post deemed to be highly credible by users, which are; general information, media/ journalism, war, military, political, corporate and personal blogs. This provides the insight to suggest blog posts could be a beneficial marketing tool for SME corporations.

Some Key Things to Consider When Making a Successful Blog Campaign:

Reputation and Trust

One of the key ways companies, small through to large, are using blogs is to gain reputation and trust by showing the company in a more personal way to the customer. It also allows a two way street of communication with the customer, to hear opinions and values in a kind of discussion (Chuah, 2009).

Adding Value

If the blog you are about to embark on creating is not adding value to the customer experience it will likely fail. One of the biggest tips to adding value to a blog is by going bigger than just your company and brand; instead look to the market that your brand is situated in. This can be done through getting outside blog experts in the industry to contribute to the companies blog or guides to customers. It is worth to note that sales messages should be delivered as low key as possible to gain a trust with the readers (Social Media Examiner, 2011).

Here is an Example of How This Can Be Done:

CitrixSource: Social Media Examiner, 2011

Citrix uses this strategy for their work/lifestyle blog that really downplays their involvement and concentrates on creating interesting content for their readers .It is based on creating a better working lifestyle and doesn’t focus on their product of business software (ibid).

Brand Awareness

Blogs are a great way of creating more brand awareness as they invite readers to read, not just solely about a product or service, but a wider market that they are interested. This is a good thing for when the customer then wants to search for a product or service as this brand is already remembered from another source (Ho et al. 2015).

Killer Titles Make the Difference

The title of a blog post determines whether it is read or just scrolled past, and if it is shared. This is why the ultimate importance is to create a compelling title that will attract traffic and shares. Some of the commonly used phrases that work are:

  • ’10 things you need to know about…’
  • ‘Make sure…’
  • ‘The secret trick to…’
  • ’10 things you should know…’
  • ‘How [your field/ hobby] is like [interesting/ novel example]
  • How I did [something unbelievable/ interesting achievement]
  • Positive adjectives e.g. amazing, awesome, intelligent, sexy, incredible etc. Using these words is likely to benefit the SEO of a blog.
  • Are you making this mistake that’s [leading to a bad result]?
  • How do you do [activity]?
  • ’10 simple ways to improve [activity/ role]?

These simple phrases are a way to bridge the curiosity gap as it creates an emotional response e.g. ‘a mental itch’ that finding out or seeking the knowledge will ‘scratch’ . This creates a direction that companies should take when creating blogs as opening them is the first and possibly the most important step (Wish Pond, 2013). Retaining customers by adding value in my opinion is the second.

Encourage Engagement

It is a simple way to get customers to share their opinions, not just about the company, but the content in general. For example, the Marriot did this by getting Bill Marriot, one of the biggest corporate blogger, to blog about his visits to over 300 hotels around the world. This encouraged users to respond to the stays they found relevant to them (Grow, 2015).

Blogs as stated above are better to create awareness of a company and brand, so do not expect as soon as you create a blog that sales and leads will be created, although this could be a long term result or a side-effect (Serps, 2015). With this in mind a few of these considerations stated above could improve a company’s blog strategy and content, as they are definitely a beneficial marketing tool.


Chuah, A., Deans, K. & Parker, C (2009) Exploring the types of SME’s which could use blogs as a marketing tool: a proposed future research agenda. Australian Journal of Information Systems. Vol. 16, No. 1.

Grow (2015) The 10 best company blogs in the world. [Online] <> [accessed 15/04/2015]

Ho, C., Chiu, k., Chen, H & Papazafeiropoulou, A. (2015) Can internet blogs be used as an effective advertising tool? The role of product blog type and brand awareness. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 28, No. 3 pp. 346 – 362.

Johnson, T. & Kaye, B. (2011) Hot Diggity Blog: A Cluster Analysis Examining Motivations and Other Factors for Why People Judge Different Types of Blogs as Credible. Mass Communication and Society, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 236-263.

Serps (2015) The actual purpose of business blogging is not what you think. [Online] <> [accessed 15/04/2015]

Social Media Examiner (2011) 10 top business blogs and why they are successful. [Online] <> [accessed 15/04/2015]

Social Media Examiner (2014) How to create a successful business blog [Online] <> [accessed 15/04/2015]

Wish Pond (2013) 10 sure-fire blog title formulas that attract readers. [Online] <> [accessed 15/04/2015]

Social Media Marketing: 3 Important Things to Consider!

Social Media Marketing: 3 Important Things to Consider!

Marketers have always known that the best recommendations come from a friend. This, in many ways, is the wholly grail of marketing. When a customer has a good experience with a product or service they likely recommend to a friend or review. On Facebook, the average action is shared with the average number of friends, which is 130 people. This is the elusive goal marketers have been searching for, for a long time; making the customers the marketers. (Fisher, 2015)

This is done through several different ways when a user does either of several actions: likes a page, likes or comments on a page’s post, RSVPs to a page’s event, votes on a page’s question, check-ins to a place, uses an application or plays a game, or likes or shares a website. (ibid)

However, the difficult part is how to get social media users to carry out these actions. So several techniques and ideas will be evaluated through this blog post:


Incentives generally work by having some kind of offer or prize draw for a product or service if the user either carries out an action, as stated before, or follows through with the recommendation to buy something. However, incentives have only really been found to work when they are related to the product or service that is being marketed or recommended, for example, an IPad may be a great incentive, but when offered through a prize draw to like a washing detergent page it may not work. This may be a great incentive to grab people’s attention, although, the majority of those people may not be the targeted customers or leads wanted. (Schluze, Sholer & Skiera, 2015) An example using a relevant incentive is below:


OdeonSource: Instagram, 2015


Another thing to consider, when using incentives is, what type of product or service being marketed? It was found that the most important sharing mechanism for fun products, such as, games and leisure products/ services was an incentive. This is different for useful products as it has been found that the use of incentives has no significant bearing for the practicality of the social media marketing. This shows a clear direction of the effectiveness and when they should be used.


Creating a relevant message to the relevant people is key to the success using this marketing channel. Here is a way to create a database of people that are likely to add value to the campaign through genuine interest in the product or service:


This is a useful website to find new followers on Twitter as it is like the ‘yellow pages’ which can find and follow targeted users for every category, industry and interest imaginable. This useful site is also free, unlocks specialized twitter search prompts, and is one of the most powerful market research tools available. With these tactics a marketer can expand the audience to reach people who are actually interested in seeking the products and services. (Social Media Examiner, 2014)


TwellowSource: ibid


Above all the message must be interesting, as there is no point wasting time creating a valuable database, and spending money on incentives if the messages or recommendations are just down right dull! Social media has generally been found to be used for fun and entertainment, which affects how the user responds to certain messages. This makes fun products or services, used in leisure, the easier area to market through social media over more everyday useful products. That certainly does not mean that it is not worth doing as there are several techniques, for example, using pull marketing again to make the information available to those seeking it. However, 64% of Facebook campaigns use push marketing which reduces the effectiveness due to unsolicited messages. Schluze, Scholer & Skiera, 2015) An example is displayed below:

FacebookSource: Wix, 2013


In my personal experience these types of messages are ignored unless they are relevant and if I have clicked on an advert it is likely to produce other advertisements for similar products. This shows that pull marketing is taking affect and putting something interesting for each user. This is something to consider, when looking to advertise through Facebook or Twitter.

Overall, this is a few useful areas to consider before planning and implementing a social media campaign.



Fisher, E (2015) ‘You Media’: audiencing as marketing in social media. Media Culture and Society. Vol. 37, No. 1, pp 50-67.

Instagram (2015) Odeon Offer [Online] <> [accessed 02/04/2015]

Schluze, C, Scholer, L & Skiera, B (2015) Customizing Social Media Marketing. MITSloan Management Review. Vol.56, No. 2.

Social Media Examiner (2014) 20 social marketing tips from the pro’s [Online] <> [accessed 02/04/2015]

Wix (2013) Quick guide to Facebook advertising for small business [Online] <> [accessed 02/04/2015]