‘The audience you want, versus the audience you have.’ It sounds like a jargon fuelled line you’d hear in a Harry Enfield comedic skit featuring the character of a cheesy marketing exec spewing lingo to make themselves look good. However, the ‘loadsamoney-esque’ dialogue is an important strategic facet of social media marketing and is key to unlocking its potent potential. Sadly, many companies are yet to figure this out.

So, what does it actually mean? Basically you attain an audience based on your published content and initiatives. Publish the right content and you yield a brand-relevant audience. Post the wrong content and well, you don’t get the follows from the brand loving ‘Twitterati’. To help explain this concept properly I need to take you back a few years, to a time when competitions were staple social media content. Fresh from investing quality time and budget ideating around and producing a TV ad or Out of Home execution. The same team would lazily consider their social media content and decide to run a competition giving away a free product. A concept developed with the well-intentioned goal of fostering brand-loyal audiences. Except it doesn’t unless you run it as a paid media campaign targeting the specific demographics that have the potential to be brand loyal. The problem with competitions is what we refer to at IF as “The Compers” – the vast amount of people who enter competitions just to win free stuff. People who could not give a hoot about your brand or product but when thrown a freebie opportunity they’re all aboard the engagement bus. Ask them to recall your brand name, product, or service, and well, frankly, you might as well be asking them what this weekend’s EuroMillions draw numbers will be. Not. A. Clue.

The content you publish determines the audience you get. Fix your content and storytelling to truly bring alive or humanise your brand; and you will yield an audience who actually does know your brand and possibly even use your products. Fast-forward a few impactful content series and you might even have audiences who start to advocate for you.

And before our B2B readers abandon this blog thinking ‘well, we’ve never run a competition on social so we’re all good’, you need to consider that whilst probably true, sadly you’re not immune to a social media faux pas. I mean who doesn’t love reading a company brochure in social. Yes, thanks to some people way back when, it became trendy to grab the brochure you couldn’t even give away at events, lift it’s less than enthralling content, and publish it on social media. No one is going to see that and think, wow – nice content. Okay, so that’s a little harsh perhaps. The original brochure author and the sales and marketing teams may like the content, and potentially the nearest and dearest of said sales and marketing people, but that’s all. After a year or two those aforementioned staff move to pastures new, meaning your audience is now made up of current and former staff. Where are your partners, customers, and most importantly the potential customers?

Social media is a wonderfully visible platform. An opportunity to inform, challenge, delight, and even entertain audiences. The eyeballs are there. Your customers and potential customers are all thumbing through social media consuming content that enriches their day. Whether that’s applauding Innocent Drink’s Australia Day content or consuming the latest insight around emerging technology. We consume content daily. We’re hungry for it. We’re open to new brands and thinking. We’re prepared to be convinced that it’s time to return to an old favourite brand. We’re happy to land on information that solves a key challenge and problem at work – who wouldn’t want to be the person who takes an impactful solution to the boardroom.

The key point to these ramblings is that the content you publish needs consideration. It needs proper planning. It needs time investment. It needs budget investment. If you provide all three and onboard a proper social media agency who’s going to challenge you in the right areas, then you’ve got a shot at creating content that delivers the audience you want – people who are potential customers. Users who become customers and possibly advocates too.

Too many people create social media content as an afterthought wrongly believing social media is free marketing. It’s not. It’s expensive. The firms who recognise this are those who are thriving. The Innocent Drinks team isn’t made up of a few interns tasked with posting to social just because they’ve got a buoyant TikTok following. BBC News doesn’t garner large viewerships at 1pm or 6pm by chance. They have to think about their storytelling, making sure it’s newsworthy and of interest to viewers. Your content needs the same thought process too. It needs experienced heads who possess the know-how and confidence to challenge you to be better and more productive content producers.

The audience you want is awaiting your publishing of better content. Social media nirvana is not too far away for your brand. You’ve just got to have the courage to invest in the right areas – time and money.

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