The world of digital marketing includes a mosaic of diverse strategies and approaches. Unfortunately, many of these strategies can often feel cold and impersonal.
For instance, search engine optimization (SEO) can help your website rank higher when people need content similar to yours. But SEO can come off as inorganic and mechanical.
Social media marketers often try to overcome this feeling of being impersonal by collaborating with influencers and creating content tailored to what their audience finds entertaining.
Whether they realize it or not, those social media strategies tap into a helpful tool for online marketing: shared culture.
Shared culture is all about understanding the symbols, art, and beliefs that are important to your target audience—either as one or several groups. For instance, some online marketing targets Millennials with references to the 1990s (I’m particularly susceptible to those ones).
So, let’s discuss shared culture, what it is, and how you might use it in your own marketing.
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What Is Shared Culture?
The shared culture definition can be summed up as the common values, beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors that bind a group of people together. Shared cultures can be found in various forms, be it within an organization, a community, or even among global internet users.
In essence, a shared culture helps define a group’s collective identity because it contains many aspects of life that become personally important to them. This can be characterized by common symbols, language, rituals, and norms. It forms the bedrock of how people within that culture perceive the world, interpret experiences, and interact with one another. In the marketing landscape, understanding shared cultures can help unlock a deeper level of audience connection and engagement.
How are Cultures Shared?
Culture is shared through communication, experiences, and social interactions. It can happen organically, such as through storytelling, traditions, art, music, or shared experiences. For instance, watching a film made by or about another culture or simply conversing with a friend from a different culture can help share those cultures with you. It can also be done intentionally, as in the case of marketing.
In the digital age, social media platforms have become the primary channels for sharing culture. These platforms act as global stages where brands and consumers can interact, exchange ideas, and form shared cultures. They also enable marketers to monitor trends, understand consumer behavior, and interact directly with customers from all over the world.
Thanks to the connectivity offered by social media, internet users can come together to share their culture. But they can also build their own online communities based on their niches and likes, such as favorite books, movies, TV shows, and hobbies. This helps them create their own new shared culture, or niche-ified versions of their cultures.
How to Use Shared Culture in Marketing
A primary way to use shared culture in your digital marketing efforts is to learn more about your target audience‘s culture. Understanding more about the culture of your audience can significantly impact how they perceive your product or service, which can then affect whether they decide to “add to cart” or not.
But you can also tailor your products and services to your audience’s culture. By sharing in their culture, values, beliefs, and attitudes, you can build products that are both useful and meaningful to them. If you use content marketing, you can use your understanding of their culture to create blog posts, social media content, email marketing, or even paid ads on digital marketing channels.
Additionally, you should consider the keywords commonly used within your target culture and optimize your content for these keywords. This improves your visibility on search engines and signals to your audience that you understand and value their culture.
Of course, all of this comes with a certain amount of nuance. When utilizing your target audience’s culture in marketing, it’s essential to understand the exact meaning of the symbols and language you use. Otherwise, you could inadvertently offend your audience or turn them off from your brand completely.
Benefits of Using Shared Culture in Marketing
One of the long-term benefits of digital marketing through shared culture is establishing trust and loyalty with your audience. By aligning your brand with the values and beliefs of your audience, you position your brand as a part of their culture, fostering a deeper connection.
Using shared culture in your digital marketing can also improve your conversion rate. When customers see their culture reflected in your brand’s messaging, they are more likely to engage with your brand, leading to higher click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates.
Shared culture can also enhance your SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) strategies. By incorporating cultural keywords in your content, you can improve your search engine ranking and increase the effectiveness of your paid ads.
A classic example of shared culture in marketing can be seen in the campaigns of many big tech companies in San Francisco. They often align their marketing strategies with the shared culture of innovation and disruption prevalent in Silicon Valley. By doing this, they position themselves as part of this culture and appeal to the audience that identifies with these values.
Another example is affiliate marketing, where brands partner with influencers or bloggers who share a similar culture with their target audience. This allows brands to tap into the shared culture between the influencer and their followers, leading to more effective digital marketing.