Social Media Strategy: where to begin?

September 21, 2015
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By Thijs de Valk

Social Media Strategy

Social media are increasingly important for business. However, it is hard to know where to start. There are a lot of social media out there and not all of them might be the right one for you. So how do you know which social media to use?

In this post, I’ll walk you through the first steps of determining a social media strategy: how to define your goals and find the social media that suits both your business and your audience best.

What are your goals for social media?

Before you can choose the social media you want to be active on, you have to know what your goals are for using social media. These goals will help you define your social media strategy. Some social media offer a lot more options to leverage your business than others, so it’s important to know what it is you want. Social media can have an effect on quite a lot of things, whether directly or indirectly. They can help you to:

  • increase traffic to your website,
  • increase sales,
  • create or increase brand awareness,
  • build customer loyalty,
  • increase your retention rate.

Odds are, that they’ll have a marginal effect on all these goals, but you probably can’t focus on all of them at the same time. So the best way to go would be to pick 2 goals and focus your efforts on that. Be sure to make your goals as specific and measurable as possible. If not, you won’t know whether you’ve actually reached the goal. And more importantly, you won’t be able to know what the actual effect was.

Specifying goals also helps you think about what “increasing brand awareness” implies. “Increasing brand awareness” is a pretty vague notion. Setting a target like “the amount of mentions on Twitter have increased by 50%” makes it a lot easier to understand, and to measure.

Which social media suit your business?

The first step in determining a social media strategy is whether that social medium is one that you’d want to be found on. In other words, does the social medium suit the message and branding of your company? And on top of that: does this social medium offer the options and reach you’re looking for?

Most social media are innocent enough, but when I think of Snapchat, for instance, it’s not a social medium we would soon choose for Yoast. Being active there would probably diminish our professionalism in a lot of people’s opinions. And on top of that, it would probably not get us any more customers, since our customer either won’t be on Snapchat, or won’t be engaging with our content on there.

Social media like Facebook and Twitter offer a lot of ways to advertize and make your brand and company known beyond the scope of your followers. With other social media, this can be more difficult and would require a lot of hard work to get the same results. So be sure to dive into the social media and know what your possibilities are on each of them.

So think about what presence on the considered social media would mean for your company and how people view it. And make sure that this aligns with how you want your business to be viewed.

Which social media does your (desired) audience use?

Different kinds of people use different kinds of social media. So you have to know what social media your audience uses. And for you to know that, you’ll have to get to know your audience. This requires some effort and research, but it will definitely be worth it.

For instance, if your company mainly works in the business-to-business area, you should definitely be active on LinkedIn. And if you have a young audience, your business is best off using social media such as Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr and Instagram:

Image source: Business Insider

The advice above is just based on general numbers. Maybe your audience is much more diverse. So the best way to go would be to ask your customers and visitors what kind of social media accounts they use actively. You can do this quite easily by using a survey.

If you’re still building your audience or have a target audience you want to target in the future, don’t fret. There are a lot of sites out there that give insights into what kind of people can be found on what social media. Pew Research Center is one of those sites, as you can see in their report about the demographics of social media users.

Social media you can’t ignore

At the moment there’s basically only one social medium you really can’t ignore and that’s Facebook. Why? Let me show you:

Social Media Strategy - Stats

Image source: Statista

Facebook currently has nearly 1.5 billion active users every month. That’s over 20% of the entire world population being on Facebook at least once a month. So you can see why this is one bandwagon you’ll want to get on.

Think about your social media strategy!

The main thing you should take away from this post is that you should determine your social media strategy, before your start. It’s easy to waste time, effort and money on the wrong media and/or the wrong goals. So bear in mind these 3 key questions :

  • What do I want to reach with social media?
  • Which social media suits my business?
  • On which social media do I find my target group?

Let me know about your social media strategy in the comments!

This post first appeared as Social Media Strategy: where to begin? on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

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