I’m sitting at my favorite bar in Brooklyn, ready to square up after finishing my single, responsibly enjoyed beverage, when the bartender slides an iPad in front of me with my bill. What a time to be alive! No hoverboards, no cures for cancer, no flying cars, but at least I can pay for my drink with an iPad. I slide my card, scribble an unreadable signature with my fat finger, and start to hand the iPad back when I stop.
“What POS software is this?” I asked. (aside: POS as in Point of Sale, not, you know, the other thing.)
“Can I ask what other sorts of tech and services are you guys using? Like for marketing or whatever… ”
The bartender goes on to list Facebook Ads, SumAll (yay), and Buffer. But he makes sure to tell me that the most important thing they use is regular ‘ol Twitter.
“It works the best for promoting events at the bar. Like music, or comedy, or pig roasts.”
I go home and start following them on Twitter. Not just because I won’t miss a good pig roast, but because it’s my job to learn how small businesses use these tools. Sure enough there are the tweets with the events and the promotions that the bar is running with a few tweets drawing impressive engagement (for a small bar in Brooklyn). But there’s something unusual about the way these tweets are gaining traction. I start scrolling and clicking and cover an embarrassing distance on their feed and the pattern jumps out at me. I go back to confirm.
“We found the users in Brooklyn with the biggest networks and tried to schedule events they were likely to go to, then tweeted at them directly,” explained the owner.
“Wow,” I said. “How did you find
“We went account by account and grouped them in a spreadsheet.”
“That sounds… fun?”
“Yeah, it took a while.”
Parties attract partygoers. It’s smart to host and promote an event with live music because people will come out to see live music. It’s smarter to host an event with live music that there’s a serious niche for in your neighborhood. It’s even smarter to get the most popular influencers to promote that event for you and extend your reach as far as you can. If you know the biggest networked users are a group of white 20-something hipsters, then guessing at content they’re likely to share isn’t too hard, especially if you’re a white 20-something hipster.
This is a principle of marketing which is simple but may not be immediately obvious to those who aren’t traditional marketers: Treating a small portion of your audience differently can drastically increase the efficiency of your message. You might want to target your female audience with promotion for Ladies’ Night and your male audience with a baseball event. You might not want to target your out-of-state audience at all because they’re not coming.
If data is the bun and burger of marketing success, then segmentation and targeting is the secret sauce. If you can help it, you should never send a message that isn’t crafted to appeal to or benefit your audience. It takes legwork to create segments and targets, even with SumAll’s Insights product easily pointing out the users in your audience with the largest network.
But we’re changing that soon.