Sh*t We Say: Lessons from a Long-Tailed Meme – Part 2

(Part 2? Yeah, check out Part 1.)

In case you missed it, Ron Paul supportersASU students, and VFX artists were among those that joined the fray since my last post. The variations continue to proliferate further down the tail, satirizing – and entertaining – more niche audiences. What does this add up to? Segmentation.

While I easily enjoy Sh*t ASU Students Say even though I’m not a Sun Devil – and haven’t even been to the campus – the video resonates better with those who were. Beyond that, the video’s arc is more relatable to students who enrolled in the past 5-10 years and drink socially – perhaps even deeper for students who were in the Greek system and enjoy campus takeout.

The point is, there’s a clear difference in the type of viewer who’s going to watch the video halfway through for a chuckle and a viewer who’s going to share across social networks. Those pearls of info are demographic, psychographic, and behavioristic qualities – in some ways digital has obscured their importance.

As segmented as some brands’ social media programs get these days.

On-platform segmentation

On Facebook you can get granular with ads – age, gender, interest, etc. – but what’s the deepest a brand can go with a non-paid Wall post? Zip code – better than nothing, but hardly ideal. What’s the most specific you can get with a non-promoted tweet? Well, there isn’t any targeting at all. A brand can use hashtags, but hardly a guarantee it reaches the right followers and non-followers. The list goes on.

When considering the lack of earned and owned targeting, should we have been so shocked by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute’s recent study showing 1.3% of users who Like a Page also engage with it? There are a host of reasons – and it’s not panic time – but a lack of targeted relevance is likely a large factor.

Is there hope? You probably saw the Pinterest infographic shared far and wide yesterday. The standout points are a 429% traffic increase since September and a higher referral rate than Google+. The larger question is how we account for the platform’s explosion – my takeaway is self-segmentation. Users can very specifically choose what content they consume from brands. For example, a user may be more interested in HGTV’s Design Happens Blog board than its Party Planner board – and the user can choose.

Of course, we can’t always expect audiences to do all the work – that’s kind of our job – but content segmentation is likely a contributor to the platform’s growing popularity. This is also why diligent brands should use Google+ to group users and serve-up relevance by the Circle-full.

What are the lessons?

Segment your influencers – While mega-buckets like green and lifestyle are easy defaults, your influencers should be as refined as your audiences – and pitched with the same specificity. This involves additional research, but is worthwhile in the long-run. This principle is emphasized in our and freshly-updated Ogilvy Social Media Engagement CodeWe will always work hard to have good reason to connect our brand or program with a particular influencer or fan.

Diligent application of paid – Sometimes paid feels like a dirty word in our idyllic world of social media and word-of-mouth comms, but it’s a huge value-add when used properly. If a brand has a strong, relevant message it feels will resonate with ASU students or VFX artists, paid could be invaluable in getting the value exchange to a receptive audience.

Be targeted in your research – Broad statistics about social media won’t get you far. You may see large trends, but it doesn’t say much about your audiences. Believe it or not, MySpace is still relevant to stand-up comedians and forums are strong in industries like health care. Research + expertise for insight. As quickly as the digital world changes, intelligence must also be refreshed regularly – and with rigor.

As we continue to hear what sh*t all kinds of people say, more lessons about marketing in a digital world will come to the surface. Including when a campaign has run its course. Exhibit A @ 1:29. (It’s still hilarious.)

Are there other lessons you took away from this meme? What niche do you think is underserved in social media?