I am now 25 years of age. Wow, you sarcastically utter, ‘…and yet somehow the world keeps spinning.’ While it’s not another decade under the belt just yet, I have found it challenging. I’m like a really uncool double-agent: by day, a marketer, by night, a part-time MSc student and by Saturday, a kind of a mish-mash as I gently nurse a beer and juggle a collection of insanely boring marketing journals. Now you may wonder why I am posting this. I believe my reasons are valid. Because of this double-life and my growing social media addiction, it has really helped me to position my favourite platforms not just on demographics, functionality or reach, but on private and professional aspirations. Everybody has a couple of friends they admire or even envy. The kind of friends that you sit at a table with only to find yourself zoning-out and pondering, “What would life be like in their shoes?” Now imagine that you’re at a table with a group of social media platforms. Here’s what I’d be pondering: Twitter This guy is ‘short’ – makes concise but loud statements that can be utter tosh or insightful. What I admire though, is his ability to keep me on my toes – while a bit needy, he always has the latest and greatest insights into everything. He can be fickle though, if you bore him, he won’t give you the time-of-day. Facebook This lady has everything going for her at the moment. She has more friends than anyone I know. While the lads (yuppie investors) think she’s looking attractive right now, I’m inclined to think she’s overrated. I went to school with her, and because we have loads of friends in common, she’s a great way to stay in touch with those. Apparently she has great connections in retail too, and if you’re in the right place at the right time with her, you’ll get great deals – just recently one of my mates got a free personalised stout bottle when they checked-in to the Guinness Store House with her. That said she tends to cruelly underrate her younger sister FourSquare and she’s a gossiper of biblical proportions – if you want a secret to spread and get you into trouble, tell this lady! The Moral… I could go through every platform out there from Hi 5 to Path, Yammer to LinkedIn, YouTube to Flickr. That’s not the point though. I annoyingly hear so many marketers take social media as a way to ‘reach’ people and ‘engage’. Why not think outside the box: pick your top ten friends that fit your target customer description. Now imagine you’re setting them up on a date with another friend they haven’t met i.e. your social media platform, and approach to promoting your offering. Are they suited? What have they in common? Will they find a common interest? Who knows, it could prove to be a strategically productive move… a bit like a life-long marriage I guess. While the exercise may require a lot of assumptions, I defy my peers to tell me a more cost-effective and fun way to really understand your target public’s behaviour. Like you, I use and believe in market analysis: the 4/7 p’s, SWOT, PESTEL and even a good ‘auld’ fishbone for a more complex campaign. Remember though, so do our competitors. However, i’m sure they have not tried the approach above. The moral is: “those who don’t think outside the box, can never look from the outisde in”. Apologies, I’m no Aesop, so if you don’t like or don’t rate it, well, as my old teenage friend Bebo used to say… “meh”. Would you use this technique? Have you any to share?