I recently joined a new Facebook group targeting women entrepreneurs. So far it's been very engaging and am learning a few things from my peers. As of late, I have noticed that one of the most frequently asked questions is, “What social media platforms should I target for my business?” This really was a loaded question because the individual who asked did not give any further details about their particular business, who their target market was, nothing, nada. Random people just started posting their suggestions without even hesitating to ask any further details...Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, everywhere!
Given that my business, First Wave Marketing, specializes in social media marketing, you can only imagine the thoughts that may have been running through my head after reading these replies. I thoughtfully replied back with a few suggestions on how to approach this and she thanked me for my input. In just a matter of a few minutes, someone decided to challenge my suggestion by writing back to my post saying, “No, everywhere.” I was shocked, really. How could someone say I was wrong? Needless to say, I didn't say everywhere. After some careful background digging, I realized this individual did not have the proper qualifications to make such a claim and decided not to take it personally. What did matter to me was the misinformation of replies being posted continuously to this question, which prompted me to write this article.
Social media changes rapidly and trying to navigate these waters can be very challenging. Not only are there so many choices but each channel has its own technical requirements and how they need to be managed.
If you’re wondering whether your brand or business should or shouldn’t be on LinkedIn, or whether it’s worth opening a Pinterest account, it may be best to evaluate your social media strategy altogether. Despite what the misinformed Facebook trollers may say, you don’t have to be on every single channel. Focus on the channels that will help you connect with your target audience, grow your followers organically, drive engagement, and create revenue for your company. Bottom line, have a clear picture of your exact customer and build your strategy around that.
Here are my top five tips:
Determine Your Target Audience. Who is your ideal customer and which social media channels do they use? Are they male/female? What is their age? What type of content do they interact with? If your customers spend most of their time on LinkedIn, setting up an Instagram channel wouldn’t help you much in reaching out to your target customer. If you have existing customers, research where they spend their time online.
Which Channels Align Best with Your Brand? Are you a B2B or B2C business? Does your brand fit a visually driven channel like Instagram or Pinterest? Not all social media channels will align well with every brand, industry, or the type of content that may convert so pay careful attention to this step.
Which Channels Are Bringing in The Most Traffic? If you are an established brand, make use of those traffic reports. Each social platform has analytic data available at your fingertips and Google Analytics referral report is a great resource to analyze what social platform brings the most traffic to your website.
Which Channels Are Your Competition Using? Determine which channels your competitors are using and analyze which platforms aren’t performing as well so that you don’t invest your resources there. This simple step can deliver the most valuable insights and save so much time and expense.
Determine Your Social Media Goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to increase more website conversions? Deciding on what your goals are within your social media strategy will help formulate what type of content you need to deliver for your audience to achieve these goals and how to effectively measure your success.
Remember, not all social media channels are the same. They may not reach the same audience or deliver the same results. It’s important to do your research and have a solid social media marketing strategy before you start randomly posting. There are many companies who have done a ton of research on this already and would encourage you to check out a few of my favorites resources: Social Media Examiner, HubSpot, and Hootsuite. Hootsuite not only provides an awesome social media management and scheduling tool, but they also offer a ton of tips on their website and Twitter channel.
Need some help? Let the experts at First Wave Marketing help you design a social media strategy that fits your business and your goals. We have the experience you need at a small business price.
Resources: Social Media Examiner, HubSpot, Hootsuite