ABC's - Audience Before Content
One of the basics that I was taught in marketing 101 is that marketers must have a target audience to spread their message to. Meaning, there is already a need for the product/ service. All companies have to do is find the consumers that have that need and tell them about what they have to offer. In the past, marketers did this through placing print ads in specific magazines, putting TV commercials on during certain shows, and placing radio ads on particular radio stations. If the consumer wanted what a company had to offer, they would buy. If not, the message was ignored as "clutter".
Today, the rules with social marketing are different. There is strategy involved in planning which social platform will most likely reach the target audience. There is now another level to that strategy, in which customers want something in return when marketers are in their social space. Consumers do not want to be bombarded with what companies have to sell, where the company is telling the consumer what to buy and why. This is considered "clutter", even though the companies may be speaking directly to their target audience that would otherwise buy from them. Instead, they want to be the voice telling the company what they want and how they want it.
Content on social sites should be carefully crafted so that the target audience can interact and have a voice in how they are marketed to. Marketers should give them choices, ask them questions, and give them discounts and coupons. Provide opportunities for feedback. In return, consumers will provide marketers with valuable market research that can be used in product development, media planning, and promotions. Companies that put their audience before their content will have greater success in marketing on social networking sites.