Finding your fit and planning appropriately
Oftentimes we have clients asking for input on their social media strategy. “What platforms should we use? How far do we take it? Should we even bother?”
First off, yes! Having a social media presence for your business is pretty much mandatory today. What you can adjust is how heavily involved you get.
Many small businesses don’t have the time or resources to dedicate toward a full-fledged social media presence across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or the other various platforms available. This is completely understandable and realistic! Managing that many accounts takes a lot of time — what’s best is to figure out where your customers are hanging out, and using the platforms that make the most sense.
For example, a custom jewelry maker would benefit from a Pinterest account showcasing different products. On the other hand, an outdoors retailer could gain a lot of traction by targeting users on Instagram.
If you’re still not sure, a solid rule of thumb is Facebook. Almost everybody has an account and it’s an easy way to share your company’s personality through posts. Avoid anything too political or controversial, focus on posts that pertain to your industry, and have fun interacting with followers.
Most importantly, remember the social part of social media. Having a conversation is a great way to connect with customers.
After you’ve chosen the appropriate platforms, it’s important to determine the type of content your followers want to see, which changes with the platform. You can either look at your current roster of followers and create content relevant to them, or determine the type of follower you would like to grow and create posts to attract that demographic.
In our own case, we have a lot of graphic design students who follow us and are interested in what it’s like to work here. This group calls for fun, cultural posts that showcase the personality of the company. A group we are working to attract is marketing professionals, which is why you’ll see more industry-related articles and blog topics being posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.
At the intermediate level you’re posting with a little more purpose, and typically your professional posts will outnumber the cultural ones. It’s good to get into a routine and post weekly if possible. To accomplish this it’s best to task an existing team member with the responsibility, but you don’t need to go so far as to hire a specialist.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the digital era is marketers’ ability to create targeted ads. Let’s say you sell flooring and want to promote an upcoming sale. One option is to pay a hefty sum to put an ad in the newspaper and hope it reaches your target. Another option is to create an ad on Facebook and set the gender, age, location, and interests of your target demographic, and Facebook will serve that ad only to people who match the criteria. You simply pay per impression or per engagement. It’s a much more accurate and efficient way to promote your offerings. You’re even able to gauge which ads are most effective and can fine-tune your campaign. And this is possible across many social media platforms, so if your platform of choice is Twitter, you can still take advantage of this option.
EXPERT: Social driver
If you have the budget, go big! Social media is an incredible tool for driving conversation not just about your brand, but also about popular culture and life in general. Take NBC for example. Its Sunday Night Football social media strategy is a prime example of how to capitalize on conversation that is already happening. It gives passionate fans an outlet to get involved with something bigger than themselves. The experience NBC has created for fans further solidifies people’s love for their product.
To summarize, YES, your brand should be on social media. Whether that’s by simply reposting funny YouTube videos and memes, providing professional advice, or changing culture, the importance of joining the conversation cannot be overstated—and it’s easier to do than you think!