Lisette SutherlandPrivate social networks succeed when organizations offer their members features that they NEED. So the first step in building a useful community – is to understand who you are building it for. Once you understand who you are speaking to, you can create content that is useful, and further, inspire your audience to engage and connect.

To create compelling, relevant and valuable content the first step is to learn, understand and get to know your audience. Learn who they are. What they like. What makes them tick.” – socialmediatoday

Knowing your audience is being able to categorize your users based on their interests, location, or qualifications. And remember, it’s important to classify users based on THEIR characteristics, and not based on your own perceptions or expectations.

Here is a list of some basic questions to ask (perhaps even consider conducting a survey):

  • How large is your membership?
  • Do your users have a specific role, company or market sector? (for example: business owners, students, mothers, scientists, alumni).
  • Where are your users located? (all in one city? international?)
  • How tech savvy is your membership? (scale of 1 to 10)
  • How do your users currently communicate with each other?
  • How does your organization currently communicate with its members?
  • What kind of communication tools would help your members?
  • What exactly do you want your members to do? (network? collaborate? share resources?)

To go a step further, you can try and determine what your audience really cares about. Learn what they do for fun. What do they talk about? What would help them do their jobs better?

Demographic analysis helps tell you who your audience is. However, it doesn’t tell you what your audience cares about or what their hopes, dreams, assumptions, and fears are. To learn these things, you must analyze the audience. You can do so by looking at seven key concepts: bias, agenda, fears, values, needs, commonalities, and differences and educational level.” – smart thinking

Use the knowledge of who your audience is to create a collaborative atmosphere with compelling and useful content. Knowing and understanding your audience is required to genuinely inspire them to further engage and connect with you.

And I’m curious… what is the most unusual or effective marketing/promotion activity that you have heard of or participated in?