5 Things to Know about Consumer Behavior … And 1 Helpful Secret

When we think of social media today, most of us go straight to Facebook and Twitter. We might also jump on Instagram or Snapchat if we’re targeting Millennials, and LinkedIn if we’re thinking about reaching a professional audience.

But how do you connect with older men who are not on Facebook and are interested in cars and tires? Think message boards.

This was one of the takeaways from a Virginia Professional Communicators talk, “Online Consumer Behaviors and Emerging Technologies,” given by Feedback Executive Vice President Dean Browell, Ph.D. This company, with offices in Richmond, New York City, London and Paris, specializes in customer behavior, message testing and research. 

Here are five things to know about consumer behavior: 

  1. To find your target audience, look to any “social network” that offers User Generated Content such as Message Boards and review sites (Yelp, GlassDoor), especially if you are looking for a narrow and specific target audience, such as North Carolina watermen or Virginia insurance adjusters. Hashtags are also a quick way to find people with specific interests. In some ways, hashtags are mini message boards.
  2. Mine message boards in any area of interest from mountain biking to childhood cancer through Board Reader and review sites for influencers — those who post and engage the most.
  3. Just because you know where to find your target audience on social media, doesn’t mean they want you marketing and advertising there. However, monitoring the conversation offers clues as to when those audiences are active and what’s on their minds.
  4. Understand the “sales cycle,” and that consumers rarely find out about your product or service and go straight to the purchase/transaction stage. The process begins with activation or awareness, research and shopping before the transaction takes place.

    A positive experience may turn a consumer into a passionate advocate who shares on social media, as well as via word of mouth, adding endorsements for your next potential customer.
  5. Be cautious about relying on influencer dashboards such as Klout, which often have sophisticated algorithms, but lack the human element to discern differences among key words. Is Klout really an indicator of the quality of the engagement?
In some ways, hashtags are mini message boards.

Finally, Browell suggested that, at least once a year, you should pretend to be your target audience and think about what networks you would use and go to those channels. You just might be surprised by what you learn.

Helpful Secret

Along that same idea, local Richmond connector Peter Kaufman with HoopleWorks suggests calling your own office using an unknown phone when you are out and see what kind of reception you get. You might be surprised at what you hear!

Sande Snead has been a consultant with Rhudy & Co. since 2012. She is active on Facebook and Twitter and is working on her Klout score.

Five Facebook Tips You'll Want to Know in 2016 (as shared by My Daughter Who Works There)

Sande Snead poses in front of the real Facebook wall at their offices.

Sande Snead poses in front of the real Facebook wall at their offices.

Yes, I’m the proud mother of a Berkeley grad who is now a Facebook Program Associate on the Global Public Policy team. Recently, I picked her brain for how I can be smarter about Facebook. Here’s my daughter Nick's top tips:

1. Follow Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook community is 1.5 billion people strong and growing and yet only 42 million are following the Facebook CEO. Mark Zuckerberg’s posts are frequent and insightful, and will keep you in the know about some of Facebook’s latest efforts and developments.

2. Boost your posts. If you are a business, only a small percent of your followers will see your post in their News Feed. If you really need to get a message to your constituents, get donations or make a sale, it may be worth spending $10 or $25 to boost your post. 

You can select the demographics of the audience you wish to reach including geography, age, race, sex and even interest areas such as dining, gardening, exercising, etc.

3. Use Facebook ad manager. If you are thinking of boosting a post or a page, use the Facebook ad manager so you can see exactly what your ad will look like and have more control over the content. Of note: Your image cannot have much copy embedded.

A look at the future of fundraising thanks to facebook.

A look at the future of fundraising thanks to facebook.

4. Check out the Facebook for Businessblog. You’ll get tips and tricks, as well as information about new products. For example, Facebook recently launched a pilot for non-profits. They are working with 37 national non-profits to test a program to help organizations raise money. 

Among other features, it allows followers to make a donation with one click on a Donate Now button.  You have the ability to allow Facebook to store your credit card information, so it’s easy every time you want to make a donation to your favorite cause – of course, this is optional!


5. Use hashtags. This may be obvious, but hashtags seem to have become clichéd. However, they are invaluable on social media. They turn topics and phrases into clickable links, which helps people find posts about their interests. #usemorehashtags

Sande Snead of Richmond knows the quickest way to reach her daughter Nick (pictured on the left) living in San Francisco is, of course, via Facebook Messenger.

Is Our Love Affair with Facebook Fading? Maybe We Just Need a Break.

If you’re like two-thirds of Americans, you use Facebook to some extent or another. Some of you love it, some barely like it — and many of you are taking breaks from it. According to a Feb. 5 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “61 percent of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more.”
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