Once your company understands the value of communicating through social media, it’s important to decide how and where you will do that.
Who is your ideal customer/audience? Who may influence others to become aware of your brand? Your thorough business plan probably already includes an exercise to identify your target market and create a customer persona. If so, review it. If not, this is a good exercise to undertake.
Research what social media platforms your audience uses to consume content. There’s plenty of information available describing the typical demographics for specific platforms. This information can be used as a general guideline; however, keep in mind there are always exceptions. Another thing to consider is how your audience prefers to receive information. Do they resonate with images, video, blogs or something else?
Establishing a presence on every social platform is not the best strategy. Balancing the time you can allocate to social media, with choosing specific platforms most likely to engage your audience, is essential. As well, once you commit to a particular social platform it’s important to interact with it consistently. Social schedulers can be a big help with this.
Some brands that inherently have more visual content, such as product images, may concentrate their efforts on Instagram or Snapchat. B2B brands who want to establish corporate relationships may choose LinkedIn. A google search can provide endless advice and articles on the topic of selecting social platforms. Once you’ve decided the platforms you want to participate on, and you’ve explored the types of content you’ll create, the next step is to establish a purpose for each platform. For example, some brands have chosen to share products on one platform while using another for customer service, additionally they may decide the purpose of social media is to:
- drive traffic to their website
- sell products or services, or
- promote events
How do you want your brand perceived? Perhaps you’ve already completed extensive work creating a brand identity; if so, refer to it and ensure anyone posting on behalf of the brand has this information. If you do not have your brand identity clearly articulated, there are at least two things you can do.
- List some words that describe your company – is it chic, cheerful, trustworthy, quirky, funny, serious, friendly or formal?
- Reflect on your corporate values. Ensure your social media strategy and brand identity aligns with those values.
Another way to understand your social media identity is to think about voice and vibe. What impression do you want to leave with people when they engage with your content? Social media is one communication vehicle where you can write like you talk; however, you should avoid jargon. Best practices suggest it’s advantageous to:
- be honest
- ensure your content includes more than self-promotion
- speak with your audience in order to engage them
- monitor your social media and respond to comments, shares etc.
- Decide how you will respond to both positive and negative comments
- Your brand is especially demonstrated in replies, calls to action, captions and direct messages
Social media can build connection and stimulate conversation as well as increase brand awareness. Those who do it well, know their audience by following them, listening and being open to sharing multiple types of content. Stay tuned for a future post that highlights some of Innovation Guelph’s clients who are doing social well!