My Experiment with Segmented Social

Social networks function best when your audience is aligned with your message.

Over the past few years, many people (including myself) have hustled hard to grow their audiences in a particular vertical. However, once you have an audience of 42,000 recruitment and HR people as I do on LinkedIn, it is kinda hard to talk about anything else.

They followed you because you wrote about “people” matters, so it would seem incongruent if you were to suddenly go on about the value of Bitcoin (which sadly isn’t one of my hobbies).

When you build a specific audience, you create a monster. Some of them might be interested in Bitcoin, but you can’t possibly know who, so you keep on banging your original drum. You have to keep things relevant or you will quickly lose them.

However, something happened the other day to make me rethink my approach a little.

My daughter is a keen netball player, and I love every aspect of being a netball dad. I wrote a blog here about when she scored a golden goal (highlighting the importance of sharing our stories). It was one of those ten-minute pieces of writing that flowed onto the keyboard, so I published it and didn’t think much of it afterwards.

Then a client mentioned it to me on the phone the next day. Then the next client mentioned it, and another, and a fourth. It turned out that they either played netball or their daughters currently play. We found that we had something else in common apart from our passion for people….

This made me think. Maybe there are many more people out there who love netball as I do (after all, it is the 4th biggest participation sport in the UK), and maybe some of them are even potential clients? I can’t possibly write about netball all the time on LinkedIn, but how about I write about it every now and again on my website, and how about I dedicate my love of netball to another social network?

It wasn’t hard to pick Twitter. After accumulating 2,500 followers with previous HR tweets, my account had lain dormant for a good 18 months, so I have decided to add my voice to the netball Twitterverse. I changed my nickname to Netball Ghost (which nicely hints at my ghostwriting occupation) and have started to tweet a bit. I am losing a few HR followers (as I thought I would), but I am gaining a good few netball-lover followers. Maybe some of them (or some of their friends) might turn into clients, but the real point is that I am being deliberate and authentic with what I care about on social.

You could argue that you can talk about whatever you want on any social network, but the concept of segmentation has been around for ages in marketing for a reason….

I am not sure how it will work, but it sure feels right to me. Every now and again I will cross-pollinate my two social worlds, and maybe I will find out just how many of my 30-50-something HR crowd have a hidden passion for netball….

I have a feeling that a good few of them could well, and they might join in the conversation with me on Twitter @ThePaulDrury (Netball Ghost).