In life, it’s important to find your “tribe.” They’re the people who love you for you, and can be counted on to stand by you no matter what. For brands, netnography – also known as audience segmenting – can bring you just as close to consumers. Here’s how.

Look Below the Surface

If “just as close” sounds like an exaggeration, you’ve just uncovered what you’re missing in your engagement efforts – which impact your ability to convert via social media.

Engaging consumers is all about connecting to them personally – as if you were their bestie, hanging out over coffee. Or guiding them like the cool aunt who gets through in ways a parent never could. You can’t foster sales or loyalty through acquaintanceship – you have to go deep.

What netnography in 2019 offers is more than a buyer persona based on demographics and assumptions. It combines social listeningsentiment analysis, and audience segmentation to create and discover online cultures you can speak to in these personal ways:

  1. Discover – using social listening, identify topics your audience cares deeply about, as measured by sentiment analysis, and speak to segments where these topics crossover
  2. Create – use audience segment insights to create a unique fandom around your brand, with a culture all its own; think Justin Bieber’sBeliebers

When you zoom in on what consumers are most passionate about, you can’t help but connect. But here are some ways to do that more specifically.

Find Your Pack Leaders

Every kingdom has a King – or Queen – and that’s what influencers are in relation to audience segments.

Some segments may be “ruled” by less prominent subjects – or by many people together sharing the same brand love. In less metaphorical terms, we’re talking about macro and micro influencers. Both have value, and can help you make things more personal from segment to segment.

Consider the way Budweiser’s Clydesdales rule the “nostalgic sports fans” segment – people who eagerly anticipate their appearance at every Super Bowl. Though there are other ways to reach that audience year-round, the Clydesdales are certainly influencers – if unconventional ones.

On the more traditional side, agencies like Octagon use netnography to find celebrity influencers in the entertainment sports marketing space. For example, they helped course correct a food product brand whose influencer marketing was adrift.

Even though they were a huge, successful, and well-known brand, they were a bit off on category and type of influencer. They had the demographics right, but were missing with regard to where consumer passions overlapped against the influencers they were hiring.

Octagon used NetBase to find influencers that made sense, and could lead the brand’s audience to where the brand wanted.

Create a Personalized Experience

Of course, netnography doesn’t just help you speak to consumers online – it allows you to “speak” to consumers through the experiences you offer.

For instance, GMR Marketing used audience segment insights to help Bridgestone create a custom experience for those flying into Tokyo en route to the 2018 Summer Olympics in South Korea.

They created custom audiences in NetBase for the large nationalities Bridgestone was targeting, so when people arrived on the ground there was a tailored experience based on what they individually cared about – resulting in new business for GMR.

Find Your Tribe – Literally, On the Map

Audience segments can be created from just about any common interests or attributes that matter to your brand. Demographic information may be part of segmenting – but additional insights should narrow the focus to enhance that personal connection.

A great example of this is illustrated by the way entertainment marketing agency Fanthropology uses geofencing to zero in on metro-area conversations, identifying specific segments region to region to make localized campaigns more efficient for the studios they work with.

While launching the campaign around Mission: Impossible – Fallout, they learned older women disliked the idea of a younger romantic interest for Tom Cruise because they felt pushed aside and disregarded.

Fanthropology took this information to heart and designed the campaign to focus on Cruise’s older romantic interests that this audience segment was more likely to find relatable and appealing.

Watch the Pennies

Though your audience as a whole matters, it’s not smart – nor effective – to speak to them as one broad group. Just like when you “watch the pennies the dollars take care of themselves,” when you focus on each tribe as an individualized unit, your audience overall will be taken care of – and the conversions will happen.

Are your netnography tools up to par? Reach out to learn how AI-boosted Analytics can level up your efforts!


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