One of the more gross marketing phrases to have emerged recently is the concept of “owning your audience.” It’s quite a dehumanizing phrase for something that is quite important in the constantly evolving digital marketing landscape.
Let’s talk about housing your audience instead.
As of May last year, Twitter was chugging out 500 million tweets per day. If you printed them all out, and laid them end to end, you would have wasted an awful lot of paper. Not cool.
Do you have a Twitter account, does your business? If so, you probably have two audiences: your followers and people who are skimming the hashtags you use. This is not solely your audience. Firstly, your audience follow other accounts. Secondly, they’re also part of Twitter’s audience.
If you distribute three posts per day, you’re competing with half a billion other tweets for crumbs of attention from an audience that is already having its attention split many other ways, not just on Twitter, but on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube or playing old DOS games in their browsers.
Social networks, like news networks before them, are attention hungry because attention is revenue. The sensationalising of news as a way of garnering attention is a mantle that social media has picked up and run with. The news never runs with the story of “everything’s fine” because it doesn’t grab your attention in quite the same way as saying everything is [EXPLETIVE DELETED].
How can your tweets, about your admittedly excellent products and services, compete with stories about the secret illuminati who run everything, have secret reality rebroadcast technology inside the hollow moon and who perform weird experiments on frogs. Or flat earthers. Or anti-vaxxers.
Even this blog is a way of getting your attention for what I want to talk to you about.
Your message on social media is important for establishing a presence, for helping SEO, for direct engagement, but it’s always going to be a place where attention is shared with many other competing interests.
What can you do to engage your social media target audience?
One of the core purposes you should be using your social media platforms for is redirecting your audience to a place where there’s less attention competition. Usually this is thought of as driving visits to your website.
The thing is of course, people are pretty used to constant streams of content now. Not just social, but rolling news and streaming platforms too, and likely your website is not like that. Maybe there’s a new blog once a week, but it’s not like the content on your frontpage changes hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, second to second.
So where can you house an audience and feed them new content regularly while minimising the attention competition?
Why, in the humble newsletter of course!
A newsletter allows you to generate fresh content at a predictable pace and send it to an audience that are defined by their interest in you. Competition in their inbox is naught compared to the competition for attention out on the web and on social platforms.
Yet, some marketers think of the mailing list newsletter as being a bit naff, a relic from the age of print. In fact, a newsletter is like social media. It lives and dies on the quality of the execution of its content and the quality of its message. You simply have a better audience for the newsletter if you’re converting interest on social media into a marketing mailing list.
Newsletters are an ongoing conversation, but not one that’s as manic as social. It allows for a different kind of pacing to messaging: periodic updates, rather than constant flow.
One of the topics which can draw in your social audience, that lends itself to periodic updates, is commercial sustainability. The increase in recent years, the emergence if you will, of the belief-driven buyer should be something on the radar of every marketer worth her salt. This group is increasingly interested in the green credentials of the brands and businesses they work in and while this is often portrayed in a B2C sense, B2B purchases are increasingly made by the same people.
Half of the global workforce are now millennials, increasing to 75% in the coming years. Beyond that, Gen Z are even more focussed on the protection of the planet because they and their children will be living through the end of this century. Currently, that looks like a hot, sickly damp world to be living in.
But sustainability is a journey. It touches on everything we do as companies. From the use of plastic packing tape in the warehouse, to paper in the office, to pollution from transport and resource management in the creation and reuse of products. There are no sustainable products, only sustainable improvements.
Putting sustainability into your social messaging speaks to your audience. Converting that to newsletter subscriptions is as simple as inviting people to join you on your sustainability journey. You can talk about product enhancements, changing practices, new products and more, and use this as a way to stay prevalent with your audience. Thus, when the time comes for a purchase, not only are you forefront in their mind, they can have confidence you’re the right choice for their beliefs, as well as their wallet.
Balancing the right content, the right frequency, the right aesthetics and the right platform present a challenge for marketers that want to house their audience somewhere they can maximise attention. The right foundation for this house is key. High-quality content is crucial for not only your newsletter but your social media channels that will aim to drive subscribers to your mailing list.
At Mulberry Marketing Communications, we’ve worked with a diverse set of clients to set up end-to-end mailing solutions. From picking the right delivery platform, to layout and design, to creating content plans, mailers require expertise from across our team. If you want to discuss newsletters, sustainability marketing, content planning or all three, get in touch, and let us help make your business-to-business, more personal.
Mike McConnell is a Creative Director at Mulberry Marketing Communications. An award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in London, Chicago and Melbourne. He has years of experience creating and editing written work alongside developing ideas for a diverse range of clients across multiple formats. His TikTok attention is taken by texasbeeworks, oldtimehawkey and 24framesofginger.