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Social Media – Turning ‘Followers’ to Micro-Targets

Businesses want to be liked, but more than that, they want to know what you like!

The pockets of followers who ‘like’ certain links or activities tend to fall within clear behavior/demographic groups. For example, the group following Justin Bieber on Twitter is very different than the group of individuals following NPR news. These groups of followers have not gone unnoticed by the business community. And to be honest, how could they? With 24 million following Starbucks, 16 million following iTunes and 30,000 people (small in comparison to the former) following Bumbershoot, Seattle’s annual music festival, it’s clear that the number of individuals following products and events is not small. Businesses have joined the social media craze and are not only able to get people to follow them, but are able to market their products/services directly to specific followers.

This micro-targeting allows businesses to speak to their perfect customer. Whether they are targeting consumers who ‘like’ specific activities, are within a niche demographic or have a certain job title, businesses are now able to speak directly to who they want to. Thus, what you see as a consumer on the various social networks, in terms of advertising, is tailored specifically for you. Your boss, best friend, or neighbors in the library are guaranteed to be looking at different ads on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. As a consumer, we are exposed to businesses of relevance only to ourselves, and in turn businesses are able to talk directly to their targeted audience.

A great example of this micro-targeting happened when one of my friends recently changed her status to ‘engaged.’ Instantly, Facebook blessed her with flower ads, wedding gowns and travel deals on her sidebar. This type of micro-targeted advertising is very visible within the social networks and is just a glimpse of the targeting that takes place in the greater online community.

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