Here we are barely into 2011 and already it’s time to identify, market, and engage our target market? Yes. The faster you get into the mind of your consumer the quicker results will show. When it comes to the game of business, or life, it’s results we’re after so now is the best time to get a game plan in place.

The real brand owner

Your brand is what your customers say it is. Anyone remember the uproar following GAP attempt to change their logo a few month’s back. In less than a week the premise that customers own the brand was proven, thanks to Facebook Fans outcries that the corporate brand had no right to take away their beloved logo. How dare GAP think they own their brand!

In “Groundswell” by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, concepts such as customer-based brand ownership to social media strategy are explored and demystified. Now that the customer owns your personal brand, it’s essential to identify who your target market is clearly. Who is your target market?

Reaching your market

If you’re a job seeker, it would be wise to market yourself on LinkedIn given that 73% of today’s recruiters spend time online and Linked In has become their #1 resource for highly qualified, well educated talent in over 200 countries. How do you market your brand if you’re not a job seeker?

As a bottom-line numbers kind of gal, I focus on where the market is to determine how to reach them. The social technographics profile of online U.S. adults (Q2’07, Forrester) shows that 48% of them are mere spectators, meaning that they simply read what others produce (e.g. blogs, vides, forums, podcasts) and another 44% are inactive online. Does this include your target market?

My optimistic personality says to look at these stats, 25% of them are joiners, which means they participate in, or maintain profiles on, social networking sites such as Facebook, and another just under 25% are creators, which means they develop content online. Regardless of the numbers and percentages, it’s imperative to know where your target market is to understand how to market to them to achieve your desired result. Speaking of results….

Getting engaged (without the diamond)

No need to sweat or get down on one knee, we’re talking target market and personal branding here. Engaging your target market to achieve your desired result from your personal brand begins with identifying your objective. What is your desired result? Why are you engaging them? Here are the five most common reasons to engage a customer: Research, Marketing, Sales, Support, or Development.

Have you identified why you want to engage your customer? Do you know the reason behind your efforts? What is your end result? As Franklin Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Social media is fast-paced, which can be to your advantage, or detriment, based on your starting point. When you start with an understanding of why you’re engaging your customer, the social media strategy you deploy has a significantly better chance of succeeding.

What purpose is your personal brand is engaging with your target market (e.g. to secure a job offer, make a sale, customer referrals)?

Kick off 2011 with a great strategy to identify, market, and engage your target market!