Do You Speak Geek? How NOT to Engage Your Target Audience
Geek used have such a nerdy-negative connotation, but then somehow became pretty cool and became associated with mobile Apple products, Sundance-inspired alternative music, beards and fusion-foodie trucks … and by now has probably been so overused it frankly may include just about everyone. But yet, I just don’t know a better term to encapsulate that ‘sweet spot audience’ that most online marketers dream of reaching, if aliens landed here in San Francisco perhaps I would just call them, ‘my people’.
What we’re really talking about is the techies, gamers, enthusiasts, bloggers/journalists, early-adopters and perhaps most importantly influencers…of other geeks, and by proxy, lots of other people. These are exactly the people who are well connected thought leaders in their sub-genres of interest (tech, games, apps, mobile devices, etc.) and are visible + vocal + relevant on You Tube, social media and other online communities. These are the people that can become your biggest cheerleaders and spread the word about how awesome your company, product or service is…or it can turn nasty. Cross a geek at your own peril! They all have cameras and social media access 24/7:Â they are watching, listening, documenting and sharing.
This is of course an obvious generalization, but I’ve found that these highly valued Geek audiences are usually a couple steps ahead of most of the companies that serve them. They know what’s good, what sucks and have good ideas on how things can be improved…and they want companies to listen. But even though social media has been around for awhile now and lots of companies know you’re supposed to have a conversation with your audience, it’s still challenging for many companies to do, it’s just not in their DNA, or certainly some feel it’s not important enough. But for those companies that do want to reach out and engage with their Geek audience, there are certain tactics and tools that you can use to get their attention and earn their trust and respect.
In the online marketplace, geeks know value. They know a good deal, and they know what sucks. My advice is don’t try and pull a fast one one geeks. Don’t talk ‘at’ them and above all else give them the content they want, at least a taste. It’s not so hard to *reach *geeks but engaging and delighting them is the real trick. The best bet is to give them brand content they like and want to share. Geeks like cool stuff: free games, early access to betas/demos, cool info-graphics, online video, it’s all about *engagement *– in other words ‘social & sharable’ content. The challenge is making content that’s share-worthy and why many companies need a hand.
For those companies that need a hand, I’d recommend finding content providers/creators that can help infuse the geek-friendly tone into the corporate marketing message and shape the content offering and distribution tactics to suit the audience’s taste. Being here in the Bay Area has helped shape Digital Accomplice into a geek-speaking trans-media marketing machine and our clients know that we know their audience…and that’s really what this is all about, knowing what makes them tick and appealing to their inner geek.
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