Social media can work wonders in helping to promote your business. But it can also be a bit overwhelming figuring out exactly where to start. There are a number of things you should consider before deciding which platform(s) to utilize.
However, don’t just consider the platforms you frequent and are comfortable with. Instead, you need to be intimately familiar with your content and audience before using social media to develop your brand identity and build brand awareness. You also want to make sure that everything you do on social media is geared toward the goals of your business.
Here are five tips to consider before sharing, posting, or tweeting for the first time.
Know Your Business and Your Content
Know Your Target Audience and Where They Hang Out
What Are Your Social Media Goals?
You may not be familiar with every social media platform, so before taking the plunge, spend some time researching each platform. How does your content fit with each platform? Or does it? For example, you might want to create a behind-the-scenes video to showcase the personality of your brand and post it on Snapchat. Once you determine what fits where, you need to make sure that your content matches each platform’s functionality. With the previous example, your video should be short, fun, creative, and personable to match Snapchat’s vibe.
Related to this, what types of products or services are you offering? How can you get optimal engagement when promoting them? Will you engage your audience more with visual representation or by telling a story? If you’re a restaurant, why wouldn’t you use Instagram to entice people with your delectable dinners?
These are just some of the questions you want to answer before deciding which platform(s) to utilize. Also, if you’re a small business, it’s a good idea to try one or two platforms that best fit your content and audience before branching out. You not only want to see what works, but you also might not have the resources to post on several platforms.
So you have a good sense of your target demographic and audience. But do you know where they spend the majority of their time on social media? And why they use social media? As you research each platform to get a sense of the type and vibe of the content, also pay attention to the audience and culture. You can also utilize a number of platform analytics to compare demographics on each platform with that of your target audience.
If your target audience covers a wide demographic, you will have to create several personas to appeal to each group, along with posts that meet each of their needs. However, the key is to start slowly by taking the time to listen to what your target audience is talking about and what topics are of interest to them. Once you do so, you can utilize your brand identity to reach your target audience.
If you are just starting out with social media, chances are you are still building brand awareness. Even before you get on social media and launch your business, you can establish a presence by sharing industry-specific information and connecting with others in your industry.
You want to establish the fact that you are a thought leader, so the more compelling content you have, the better. You also want to make sure that you are engaging with potential customers and those in your industry. This entails more than liking their posts. You have a lot to offer, so don’t be afraid to give advice. Let everyone know what you offer and what makes you unique.
In addition, your social media goals should be tied to your marketing strategy and your larger business objectives. So you need to measure your success and return on investment. To do so, you will ultimately have to analyze metrics such as:
- leads generated,
- conversion rates, and
- web referrals
However, you can focus on those metrics once you determine which platforms you’re going to utilize.
What Social Media Platforms Do Your Competitors Frequent?
Speaking of platforms, it’s important to know which ones your competitors use for their social media marketing. Take a look at how active they are on each platform, and determine the engagement level with their followers and vice versa. If they are not very active on a platform, they are probably not getting the engagement they want, generating enough leads, or driving enough traffic from that platform to their website.
Be Consistent Across Your Social Media Platforms
Once you’ve figured out all of the above and are ready to create social media profiles for your business, you need to make sure that your brand persona is consistent from platform to platform. Consistency is an integral part of building brand awareness and creating meaningful connections, because how can your followers and customers identify with you if you have different personas?
Beyond using your logo on each platform, you’ll want to ensure that you use the same colors and imagery as well. You should also have a consistent voice from platform to platform, which includes your persona, language, tone, and purpose. Once you’ve determined your brand persona, you should document it so that all of your employees have a good sense of how it fits into your social media strategy.
Social media is an essential component of your business’s marketing plan. But you need to have a sound strategy and know your business and audience well before getting started. For more information on how your business can create and develop a social media marketing plan, access our free A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses eBook.