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How to Meet Your Audience Where the Action Is

Authors: Jess Ostroff Jess Ostroff
Posted Under: Social Media
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How to Meet Your Audience Where the Action Is

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As the snow begins to melt and spring promises to appear, we soldier on here at the Social Pros Podcast. In March, we heard from a non-profit digital communications expert at Habitat for Humanity; the marketers of shipping marketplace uShip; the mind behind social media, CRM, and customer service at Whole Foods; and the leader of social media marketing software ShortStack.

Quite a varied group of Social Pros this month. They come from not-for-profit and for-profit worlds. Their responsibilities range from social media marketing to customer service to running a software company. Their backgrounds are in media relations, international PR, teaching, and graphic design. And yet these Social Pros all know that you must meet your audience where they live (digitally, not literally). And they tell us you have to provide value to your audience to get them engaged on social media. 

Habitat for Humanity Senior Director of Digital Communications, Duane Bates

Duane Bates - How to Orchestrate Social Media for a Global Non-ProfitDuane Bates, Senior Director of Digital Communications at Habitat for Humanity, works with social media volunteers around the world: Habitat works with potential home owners and volunteers at 1,500 locations in 70 countries!

It’s always important to figure out what’s going to resonate with different segments of your audience, but when you’ve got that many different countries, languages, and cultures in the mix, it’s absolutely essential. By relying on volunteers all over the world to share customized content at the local level, Duane can trust that the right messages are being delivered to the right people.

Duane is excited to see where customizable content is headed, because it’s key to be able to connect with individuals and supplying them with valuable content. Not only that, but being able to remember and appreciate their connection to your brand is important to fostering long term relationships. As a non-profit company, Habitat is in need of donations and volunteers to keep their mission afloat. But Duane and his team understand that shouting, “We need your money!” doesn’t work. Instead, they focus on answering questions and providing interesting and relevant content to engage with their audience.  From there, volunteers and donations are an organic next step.

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uShip Content Marketing Associate, Killian Hagen & Vice President of Marketing Communications, Dean Jutilla

Killian Hagen & Dean Jutilla - Where Social Media and Reality TV CollideKillian Hagen is the Content Marketing Associate at uShip. He’s joined on the podcast by Dean Jutilla, the Vice President of Marketing Communications. Together, they tackle the challenges that come along with marketing for a C2C marketplace platform. They have to segment their content for very different audiences: current/potential customers, carriers, and employees.

Through experimentation and measuring results, they have figured out where these different segments are most reachable.

For example, their Instagram audience comes primarily from the Austin area (where their headquarters are located) and consists mostly of employees. On Facebook, they can find their carriers (the truckers who are making deliveries for uShip customers). Twitter’s audience is made up primarily of potential customers from the fans of Shipping Wars, the A&E reality TV series loosely based off of uShip.

Dean and Killian “humanize our brand and make it relatable, especially with our carrier audience” through campaigns like “Show Us Your Loads.” Their carriers are very proud of the hard work they do, and it’s great to showcase that, as well as have a bit of fun. The more they can connect as humans with each audience segment, the more engaged the audience gets. 

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Whole Foods Global Director of Social Media, CRM, and Customer Services, Natanya Anderson

Natanya Anderson - How Whole Foods Focuses on Customer Needs

Natanya Anderson does it all as the Global Director of Social Media, CRM, and Customer Service at Whole Foods. She started out wanting to be a teacher, which has seamlessly led her to where she is now. “Everything that made me love teaching makes me love social, because to be a successful teacher, you have to start with where you students are.”

Whole Foods centers around the customer and the unique story that each store can tell to its local audience. Natanya’s philosophy and strategy aligns exactly. Her team consists of a small, nimble group at the brand level, and then one person at each and every Whole Foods store who runs social media for that store.

Natayna was first drawn to working at Whole Foods because they understand you have to give to get back.  The customer service team is dedicated to getting the best answer to the customer as fast as possible. The content produced across channels is centered around the customer’s needs and interests. She passionately believes that these “hyper-local” social channels also add the most value to customers. “We are here to do more than sell products, and that starts by creating an informed and passionate shopper.”

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ShortStack CEO & Co-Founder, Jim Belosic

Jim Belosic - Lessons from Running 400000 Social Media Contests

Jim Belosic, CEO & Co-Founder of ShortStack, started out as a freelance graphic designer with a side hobby of flipping pancakes. Now he is in charge of one of the world’s largest social media software company.

ShortStack started as a software to help Jim’s company run marketing promotions on Facebook. They realized it was better-utilized as a do-it-yourself software, and have since expanded to work on just about any social media platform.

With perhaps 550,000 users of the software worldwide, Jim has seen his fair share of promotional contests. He cautions against giving away prizes that have nothing to do with your audience. Sure, you’ll get lots of new signups, but they’ll have no real value. These signups are only in it for the prize and will never be an engaged part of your audience. Instead of giving away an iPad, give away dinner for two at your restaurant. Then you’ll be building connections with the current and potential audience members who truly want to engage with your brand. 

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