Achieve, Perceive, Believe–Unmasking Your Customers

Unmask customersDeveloping an effective digital strategy today requires that you break out from the pack. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry business has a Facebook page and a Twitter account where they try to get customers to converse, comment and advocate for them.

To beat the competition or just break through the noise, you need a different strategy—and that strategy has to be rooted in understanding what your customers want from their online interactions. You need to unmask your customers.

The winners in the Post-Like phase of digital marketing will be those who create an integrated strategy focused on finding ways to maintain long-term connections with customers. Those connections will be rooted in serving customer’s needs in different communities, but serving their needs in a way that benefits the business itself. We call these social offers. The key to developing effective social offers is to understand who your customers are online and their motivations in different communities—their socialgraphics.

Whether you’re looking at how customers behave on your Facebook page, in a forum, on Pininterest, or interacting with your videos on YouTube, consider these three socialgraphic areas.


What do my customers want to achieve in this community? What are their goals? Why are they here and want do they hope to gain from being here?

The most important information to know about your customers when trying to interact with them online is what they want. You have to understand your audience’s goals and motivations in order to engage them and retain a relationship with them in any community.


How do my customers want to be perceived in this community? What are they willing to show to others by their actions? How do they want others to view them? How are they showing off and what traits are they interested in demonstrating by their activity in this community?

For the 9% of customers that will interact with you, you must know how they will want to be perceived in this community. Remember that people display different facets of their personalities in different online communities. In each community, you need to understand what facets people are showing off and how they want to be viewed. This will allow you to create social offers that let people “show off” in the way that they want. It might be their Like of your content, their willingness to share it, comments, sharing your poll results, contributing their own user-generated content about/around your brand. Whatever actions you’re hoping to elicit from your customers, first make sure you know how they want to be perceived so you can align your request and ensure it serves their self-expression needs.


What do my customers believe about this community? What are the values of the community that my customers hold? What are the conventions of this community that they adhere to? What do my customers believe is the acceptable way to interact and for businesses to interact with them in this community?

Every online community is different. To play effectively in a community, you need to understand its conventions, its unspoken rules, and the general mentality and values of the community. Pay particular attention to how businesses are expected to behave and what the community finds acceptable as far as self-promotion.

As you research where your customers are living online, consider each of these topics and use the simple table format to capture your learnings:

Community   Achieve Percieve Believe
Community1 Audience Segment
  • Goal/need
  • Goal/need
  • Be seen as…
  • Be seen as…
  • Value/convention
  • Value/convention
Audience Segment
Community2 Audience Segment
Audience Segment
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