These days, it’s impossible to run a business without encountering what feels like a requirement to have and maintain multiple social media accounts. We’re often asked by clients, “How do I know which social media networks are right for me?” – the confusion is understandable. There are many networks to choose from (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Periscope – to mention only the largest ones), and each one supports business goals in a different way.
The important thing to know right away is that it might not be right for you to have more than one social media account, and that’s okay. It’s better to have only one and to do it really well than to have four because you feel like you will be left behind if you don’t, and then to only update them every two weeks because you’re overwhelmed. There’s an easier way to approach developing a social media strategy for your business, and it starts with finding the right channels. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you hone in on the ones for you.
What is your content-production bandwidth?
Creating a profile on any social media account is just the beginning – like any living thing, they require constant care, attention and love! The amount of content and activity that you put into a channel directly correlates with its growth and your success, so you need to be realistic about you and your team’s ability to produce quality content. Think about it this way: to really do an excellent job on your selected channel (that is, to spend time making sure the post is the best it can be by selecting targeting or budgeting options, writing the best accompanying copy and responding to any other comments or activity, plan an hour a day per channel. It may take less than this, but in the beginning it may take more).
Think about the activities that you or your team does on a daily basis, and think about how those could easily be translated into content. Are you a landscape designer who always takes photos of your completed projects? Those photos can be used on Instagram or Facebook. Do you travel a lot for work, visiting new places? Using Snapchat to document your travel experiences would make sense. Are you an ice cream shop, with new flavors each week? Share the flavor announcements on Facebook, targeting your posts to people who live in your area. Let social media mesh with the work you’re already doing, so that it comes naturally. You don’t need to invent more work for yourself – share what you’re already doing with the world!
What platforms do you actually like to use?
We all tend to avoid things we don’t enjoy doing. Therefore, it’s essential to engage with social media accounts that you don’t dislike using. Do you communicate better in visuals than in words? Instagram is the way to go. Do you love chatting with people throughout the day? Twitter! Try a few accounts and see which ones feel fun to use. The fact that you enjoy it, and the enthusiasm that will come from that feeling, will be obvious to the people who interact with your content. Also, social media accounts take a while to grow and pick up speed, so remember that you’re about to make a considerable time investment into the channel, so try to find one you love.
What platforms do your key audience members use most?
The first rule of effective marketing is: know who your audience is, so you can reach them in a way that is relevant and resonant. This rule applies beautifully to social media. Where does your ideal customer like to hang out? Find them there. Click here to find some helpful information on the demographics of some of the users of the most popular social media channels. Not sure where your audience spends their time? Ask them!
And finally… what are your goals for social media?
Choosing the right social media presence for your business depends entirely on what your goals are for it – and remember, those goals can evolve. If, for example, your long-term goal for social media is to have one or two channels that help to generate revenue for your eCommerce site, your initial goal should be focused on building a sizable audience of followers. Once your audience is big enough, you can begin to shift your strategy to turning those followers into customers, and then hopefully, brand evangelists who want to share your product or mission with the world.
Your goals can be small at first. The more specific you can get with your goals, the more closely you can track your success, and learn from your mistakes to get better and better over time!
Another important thing to remember is that social media channels are fluid, changing things whose rules and best-practices differ from year to year. This can feel intimidating, but the reality is that the basic essence of social media will never change, and that is that these platforms exist to help people connect over common interests, joys and struggles, and that your role as a business on social media is to provide value that they can’t get anywhere else. Once you figure out what that value is, who needs it and where you can find them – you’re almost all the way there.
Looking for strategy beyond social media? We’re here to help! Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org – we hope to hear from you soon.