Social Media has been the millennial superpower of the century and businesses everywhere have been exploring their opportunities in this ever-evolving digital world. As a business owner that is not familiar with social media, you know that you need to be involved but might not be sure how or where to start. The first instinct may be to open up channels everywhere so that you can plant your flag but before we start opening up accounts, there are a few steps you should consider, in order have a thoughtful and strategic approach. Not all channels may be right for your business and making the wrong decisions could affect your company’s reputation that you work so hard to build. Here are 5 things to consider before choosing a social media platform.
- Define Your Goals.
Before you even start to think social, you should have a good idea of what your marketing goals are. These should be aligned with the main company goals. They should be measureable, there should be a time component, they should be flexible and you should be able to justify them.
Are you a new company that needs to build a reputation and awareness? Then brand awareness is something you might want to consider. If you have been working on building your brand awareness and now want to see conversion, then you may want to consider a goal that involves attaining actual traffic to your website and possibly subscriptions.
- Know your audience.
Another important component to have in mind when deciding on which social media platform is best for you, is for you to know who your target audience is. Each social media platform has its own demographics and culture. if you are a B2B company, you definitely want to consider channels such as LinkedIn. If your audience tends to be younger adults, you may want to see what is currently trending for that age group. This can vary and evolve quickly. Snapchat continues to be a very trendy social media tool used by companies like Target and Starbucks to appeal to a younger audience. If your audience is made up of mostly males, you may want to consider a social platform that is dominated by more male users such as Reddit. It is also important to consider not just your current audience, but who you would like to have as your main audience, when making these decisions. SocialMediaToday.com shares some of the 2017 trends that can help you choose which channel will help you reach your target audience.
Forbes also has a great breakdown on demographics for some of the top social media channels.
- Be a spy.
Ok not really, but it is very important to take a moment to look at your competitors. There are a lot of very legal ways to do this, so don’t think it involves spy equipment or anything like that. Just simply googling them, or go the extra step and be a customer and see what it is to experience their service. This will give you extra insight to see how they follow up with customers even after the purchase. This also gives you a chance to learn from their mistakes and see what is working for them. You can also see how a similar audience behaves in the different channels. Look at their content and also take time to see how people comment or react to the content that they are sharing. This can help you think of what you can do differently.
- Understand the channels.
It is important to get familiar with the different channels and what they can each provide. How can they help you reach your goals? Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to reaching goals. For example, you may want to get into Instagram because it is growing at unimaginable speeds and can help with brand awareness, but it may not be the best for a B2B conversation. If you are looking for a women-based audience, and would like to see more conversion, Pinterest might be good for you. Shopify has an article that highlights the different sales patterns that happen within the different channels. This could help you understand how the channels function as a conversion tool.
- Have the proper resources.
One of the most important keys to a successful Social footprint is that you should consider how you will be feeding this animal. Just as when you get a new pet, you cannot just get one and be done, you will have to nurture it, feed it, and help it grow and develop. You should keep in mind that this is not just a one-way conversation that will be taking place. You will get questions, requests and even reviews in some of these platforms. The social media manager will need to have access to a customer service component, reputation management skills, and have the ability to generate content. You may want to consider an on-call schedule since these channels do not sleep and will need to be monitored constantly.
Finally, you cannot spread your company messages without an audience. You may need a budget to help boost your initial efforts. Consider a budget for a fan acquisition campaign at first, followed or combined with an engagement campaign.
Once you consider these elements, you can prioritize your choices based on what is most important for you. Being social is a requirement in this digital world that we live in, but the companies that focus on quality versus quantity can go a long way to help maintain and possibly improve your company’s brand.