In 1994, I conducted a fairly extensive study of marketing across a range of industries.   The study was part of a branding project for Carrier Corporation.  We hoped to find some common themes from these other companies we could apply to our industry.

The diverse list of companies included:  Sara Lee, Hanes, Mattel, Otis Elevator, Black and Decker and Whirlpool.  As we talked with the brand and product managers at these firms, the most powerful lesson was this:

Regardless of industry,  consumer durable, non-durable, commercial or industrial, marketing basics apply. Marketing campaigns which began with a clear understanding of the needs and wants of a specific target market, consistently executed had a significantly greater chance of success

I thought of this study recently, as I was talking with a client about a social media strategy.  His was a non-traditional business, and simply creating a Facebook fan page and Twitter account, was not going to be an effective use of his marketing funds.  As I talked to him, I found myself returning to the lessons I learned almost twenty years ago.

Social media is a type of marketing, and just like any other marketing, the basics apply.  To be successful your social media campaign should begin with a clear understanding of your target audience.  In social media this may or may not be your end user.  It may be an influencer.  Regardless of the role they play in your sales process, you need to take time to understand what is important to them, before you start distributing social media messages, if you want a positive result.

Questions about your social media strategy? Roundpeg, an Indianapolis social media firm, can help.