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Wyoming Business Tips for Sept. 21-Sept. 27

September 12, 2014

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Sarah Lancaster, Wyoming Entrepreneur/Fremont County business adviser

“Who am I trying to reach with my social media marketing campaign?” Kathy, Wilson

With an estimate that 3 billion people in the world will be connected through the Internet by the end of 2014, it is important to know who you are talking to when launching your next social media marketing campaign.

Gone are the days where customers make purchasing decisions in isolation and companies have the ability to direct their own brand conversation with the public. Through blogs, message boards, podcasts, videos, social networks and wikis, anyone and everyone can be a social influencer for your brand.

Knowing who, and then creating messaging for, are the social influencers who sway your customers to purchase will help you focus your social media marketing campaign. There are three types of social influencers: referent, expert and positional.

Referent influencers are people who participate on social platforms. They influence your customers and brand through providing online reviews, updating their status and Twitter feeds and commenting on blogs. These are individuals who most likely know your customers personally, and because of this, your customers value the advice and perspective that these individuals bring to their purchase decisions.

Expert influencers are authorities on the product or service that your customer is interested in purchasing. These individuals often have their own blogs and have huge Facebook and Twitter followings. They rarely know your customer personally. When it comes to making large purchases, expert influencers have the ability to sway your customer toward your product.

Positional influencers have the most direct influence over your customer’s purchasing decision. Typically immediate family and close friends, these are individuals who not only directly influence the purchase but are also the individuals who live with the results of the purchase.

Start by getting to know your customer. Complete a Google search, join a Facebook group, search Twitter for mentions, or read online reviews. Compare the results for your product with that being said about your competition. Spend time building quality relationships with your customer; providing exceptional service is one way to do it.

The more you connect with your customers, the more likely they will be to use their own social media platforms to organically share your brand. This is the first step for developing social influencers and one that will lead you to being able to tailor you marketing message, promotions, advertising and social media content to reach each specific audience.

In a nutshell, this is what social media marketing is really all about.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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