Social media is a robust and valuable tool for any size business, however establishing a social strategy can be a very overwhelming experience. Most marketers understand the importance of having a social media presence, however they make the mistake of thinking that all social media channels are the same. These brands share the same content that contains the same copy and imagery across all their social media channels. This approach limits the chances of success, which in turn can produce poor results, discourage marketers, and waste company resources. The reality of the social media landscape is that each social media channel is unique and is designed for different audiences and different content strategies.
Not every social media platform is designed for every business, it is very important for marketers to do their research before committing to a new social platform. The most important question is which platform should my business be using and what content should I be sharing on that specific channel? As I did some research into this, I discovered a few steps that can help marketers decide which platforms work best for them.
Who is your audience?
Determining your target audience is very important when determining which social media platform your business should commit resources to. You need to understand who your typical customer is. This could be age, gender, and even education level. It is equally as important to understand what type of things your customers are interested in outside of your product. Businesses should utilize their existing customer database for insight on who is currently buying from the company and who will be most interested on social media channels. Social listening is another tool that is available for marketers to understand who is talking about their brands, where they are talking, and what they are saying.
Establish your goals
Once the business has a good idea of who the target audience is, marketers should then begin to establish realistic goals for that audience. Typically, business goals are geared towards increasing brand awareness and increasing sales, however with social media there are many other possibilities such as customer service and support. In order to set goals, a baseline must first be established. If there are existing social media channels already in place, conducting an audit of those channels and tracking past performance is an ideal place to start to determine this line. If the company does not have any existing social media channels, marketers could research the business’s competition to understand what kind of engagement they receive. Understanding your business goals is a critical aspect of establishing a social media strategy and producing results. A good way to develop goals is to keep note of the S.M.A.R.T goal framework:
Specific – Be clear in setting expectations. By simply stating something like “Increase followers” marketers could mean gaining 100 followers, or 100,000 followers. Make sure you have a specific goal in mind.
Measurable – Every goal needs a metric that marketers can track and measure. This is how marketers can understand what works for the business and what doesn’t.
Attainable – Setting realistic and attainable goals is very important. Marketers should aim to continuously improve, however setting unrealistic goals and in turn missing those goals is recipe for disaster.
Relevant – Goals should be relevant to the business. For example, setting a goal of increasing followers on a social media platform should have a business purpose outside of simply increasing followers just for the sake of it.
Timely – Accountability is important when setting goals. Goals should have a set deadline so it is understood when successes or failures occur, and goals / expectations can be adjusted.
Plan your content
Once the target audience is defined and goals are established, the next step is to plan content for specific channels. Please see the below graphic that outlines popular social media channels and what type of audiences / content is present on those channels:
DMI, Simon @. “How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business.” Digital Marketing Institute, Digital Marketing Institute, 15 Nov. 2019, digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-best-social-media-channels-for-your-business.
“How to Find and Target Your Social Media Audience (Free Template).” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, 28 July 2020, blog.hootsuite.com/target-market/.
“How to Set and Reach Social Media Goals (+10 Types of Goals to Track).” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, 28 July 2020, blog.hootsuite.com/smart-social-media-goals/.
Source Graphic – https://us.accion.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/whysocialmedia_infographic_0.jpeg