Social Media Marketing Strategy: Rifle vs Shotgun Approach

On November 14th, 2014, Facebook changed its algorithm again! Facebook announced that non-advertisers will have even lesser post reach and paid advertisers would face the challenge of creating unique content. Advertisers who over promote their content will have lesser visibility and even penalty.

By now, you should be wondering what has this got to do with the rifle and shotgun approach right? Give me 5 minutes and you’ll get the point.

It wasn’t long until I received a call from a close friend of mine, let’s call him Mr. A. Just like millions of others, he and his company focused entirely on Facebook marketing (aka the rifle approach ~ more on this in a few minutes). Having over 90% of his marketing budget was allocated solely for Facebook marketing, you can imagine the level of seriousness he had on Facebook.
The return on investment (ROI) was great and he was constantly getting at least twice the returns he had invested … until the Facebook algorithm changed (again)!
The number of reach especially from post engagement and visibility dropped tremendously. Of course, totally understandable since he usually reuses his old posts.
Long story short, he knew what he (and his marketing team) needs to do but he is having that moment, deciding whether if Facebook is still worth it.
Now, let’s take a few steps back and get to basics.
best social media marketing strategy

Social Media Marketing Strategy: Rifle vs Shotgun Approach

Make no mistakes. These are two very popular marketing techniques not only in social media but relatively in any form of marketing in the world right now. Jay Baer from Convince and Convert also have an excellent post on this.
Rifle approach is all about having laser targeted audience. The ultimate goal is to focus on sell, promote or distributing information to one or several, very specific markets. You should have a good grasp that these markets or audiences will appreciate such information.
And on Facebook, this is where targeting the right audience is always important to ensure success. You can be even more specific by focusing on specific states, gender, and other demographics. Yes, you get the point.
The shotgun approach is much different from the rifle as this is all about spreading information to multiple channels and targeting various markets.

The goal is simple; reach out to as many people as possible.

In social media marketing, this is done especially when companies are targeting various social platforms for marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Social media marketing based on the rifle and shotgun approach

As you have read above, the rifle approach is all about reaching to a smaller, much more specific audience. On the other hand, the shotgun approach is all about maximizing the reach but lesser on targeted markets.
Here are two things to consider when trying to determine which is the best social media marketing strategy to utilize.

1. Do you know who your target audience is?

This is probably the most basic part of any marketing strategy. Understanding your target audience will help you determine who you should be targeting. For example, rifle approach is more suited especially when you are targeting a niche market; say realtors in your hometown.
However, the shotgun approach is more workable if you are targeting millennial market without having specific (or extreme) demographic requirements; fresh graduates, customers who love to shop online etc.

2. Is your audience more active on specific social media platforms or scattered around?

Knowing where your audience is usually active is vital in social media marketing. In order for you to do so, you can perform surveys on site or in email newsletters. A few free tools you can use are:

Once the feedback is collected, importing them into an Excel spreadsheet (or Google Drive) and make a point to update them from time to time. This is to ensure that you are having the latest information for future planning.

How to determine if it is better to go for shotgun or rifle approach?

Want to know which of these social media marketing strategy works best for you? Here’s a quick summary of both.
A. Choose the shotgun approach if:

  • Audience and customers are spread widely across various social media platforms
  • Reaching more people is more important than getting higher ROI and CTR
  • You want to build more brand visibly across multi-channels instead of building a big audience in (solely) one platform

B. Choose the rifle approach if:

  • You have a definite idea of who your exact audiences are
  • Your company focuses on ROI and CTR (above reach)
  • The business is already stable and you are looking to expand your marketing needs to specific markets

What do you think?

Right, you must be wondering which path Mr. A is heading to after the talk. Could you take a guess? After the call and some long hours of discussion with his marketing team, they decided to reduce Facebook advertising budget and the balance funds are used to engage in other platforms.
Of course, this was a pretty easy strategy since they are in business for over 10 years now and they have a solid understanding of their customers.
So, how about you? After reading this post, what are your takes on social media marketing? Are you the shotgun or rifle type of person? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss further.
See also: 3 Powerful Social Media Marketing Tips Targeting Millennials