Are you on social media? Are you on social media because you’ve heard that you should be on social media? Because everyone else is on it? To tick a box? Have you joined but are now not really sure where else to go with it?
Social media may not be the right option for you, and you may be spending valuable time and money on a social media campaign without really knowing why.
There are so many new platforms now it can be difficult to know where to start; Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Youtube, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, the list goes on.
But before you jump in and sign up because you think that you should, ask yourself these 5 questions, and ensure you are not simply wasting time that could be spent on other more worthwhile marketing activities.
So, in order for social media to work effectively, you need to have a plan. Answer these simple questions before signing up to another social media account, and determine whether social media is the right strategy for you.
1. What Do I Want To Achieve?
What is your purpose for being on social media?
Before you join a given social media platform, you need to decide what you want to achieve, or there is simply no point in doing it. Don’t just do social for social’s sake.
Will social media help you to achieve your goals? Will social media be the best method for achieving your goals? What is your strategy for achieving your goals with social media?
You may want to achieve any number of goals with social media. Perhaps increase traffic, increase brand awareness, communicate and engage with your audience, generate leads, or maintain your online presence.
Decide what you want to do with social media and why you want to do it. Form a strategy and plan to decipher how social will achieve this.
2. Is My Audience On This Platform?
Your brand is defined by its audience and exists because of it, so you need to be where your audience is.
Figure out who your audience is, what their pain points are, what motivates them, why they are on social media and their behaviour on it. Then use this information to effectively get in front of your audience and start a conversation.
There is no point in being on every single platform if your audience is not there, even if you think your brand would be a good fit there.
Use these stats to get a head start:
- Instagram’s demographic is 31% women and 24% men. 55% of all online 18-29 year-olds are using the platform.
- On Facebook, 82% of online adults ages 18-29 use Facebook. 79% of those aged 30-49 use Facebook, of which 66% are male and 76% are female.
- 56% of Linkedin users are male and 31% are aged 30-49. 30% of LinkedIn users are aged 50-64.
- 37% of Twitter users are aged 18-29 and 25% of Twitter users are aged 30-49.
Once you have determined where your audience are, you can use social media to get in front of them. But only if your audience is going to be there waiting for you.
3. Can I Provide Value?
It is important that you are on social media to provide your audience with valuable content.
How will users benefit from following and interacting with your brand?
Identify what is popular with your audience, what problems you can solve for them, and how you will entertain, educate, inspire (and convince) them.
You can do this through curated and created content consisting of videos, images, updates, competitions, guides, games, infographics, blog posts, articles. Social media offers a wealth of content opportunities for you to unleash your creativity on.
To do this you need to have a strong sense of your brand. Establish how your brand will be portrayed online across all channels.
Think about which tone of voice you will use and which topics you will cover in your specific niche.
In order to provide value, you also need to be posting consistently or your customers and fans will feel neglected.
Decide how often you will post, and it may also help to create a social media calendar, much like a content calendar, with posts lined up ready to be scheduled.
If you can consistently provide users with valuable content, social media can work for you.
4. How Will I Measure Social Media’s Success?
You need to be able to measure the effectiveness of your efforts on social media.
How will you measure social media’s impact?
Through traffic? Likes? Shares? Followers? Impressions? Click-through-rate? It is critical to understand your goals for social media and measure against awareness, engagement and conversion – ensure you clearly define what success looks like.
Where will social fit into the buying funnel and where will each piece of content fit into your customer’s journey?
Understand what these numbers mean and make tweaks to optimise your social success. This will help you understand if social media is working and helping you to achieve your goals.
5. Do I Have The Resources?
You may see that social media is a fantastic fit for your brand. You know what you want to achieve, you know that you can provide value, and your audience will definitely be there.
However, do you have the time or resources to curate and create valuable content for your audience consistently for the foreseeable future?
Have you got the time to create content for your own site that you will use your social channels to feed your marketing funnel?
Have you got a budget to use the paid advertising elements of social media platforms to ensure your posts reach a wider audience?
Can you respond to feedback and engage in online conversations, or take care of branding?
It’ll also take the time to get to grips with new platforms and tools. Do you have the extra time to maintain each profile?
You’ll need to be constantly tweaking elements with your analytics results, and you need time to analyse this information and refine your approach.
If you are time challenged would you benefit from outsourcing the activity? If you do not have the money to use the advertising features will your content reach a wide enough audience? Is the cost of investment worth it, and will you get a worthwhile ROI for what you’re putting in?
Before joining social media, make sure you can answer these 5 simple questions.
Determine what you want to achieve, where your audience is, whether your content can be truly valuable, how you will measure success, and most importantly of all, whether you have the resources in-house.
Simply answering these questions will help you to decide whether social media is the right marketing strategy for you and whether you have the time, money, and expertise to tap into this potentially valuable marketing opportunity.