October 2, 2015
Social media outlets appear everywhere these days. From Instagram to Snapchat to Facebook, Twitter, and more, the sheer number of social media pages can be overwhelming. If you are a business that is looking to develop a presence on these sites, the value is immeasurable and should be explored to its fullest potential. Be sure, though, that you are ready by asking yourself the questions you need to ask to make the best possible move forward.
Building a social media presence involves different steps and considerations that should not be taken lightly. Even though the site might be free to sign up, you won’t know everything about that site or other sites right away. Instead, as noted above, you need to ask yourself the ways in which you want to move forward, especially when creating a social media strategy. Your business reputation and social media success will depend upon it.
What Are Your Goals?
A business’ social media page should have a purpose. You should know and understand what it is you want this page to do for you and also why you want it to do this. What value is this page meant to bring to your business? What purpose is it to fill within your greater social media strategy? What are your goals for this page?
Businesses and their respective marketing strategists need to define these goals in clear and measurable terms. One way to accomplish this is to think big-picture first and then parse down the responses into tangible and measurable nuggets of information that can be qualitatively or quantitatively analyzed for ROI purposes. Identifying the micro-level aspects, too, will help to define the implementation strategy for marketers as well.
Who Are You Attempting to Reach?
Your social media presence is as much about your goals as it is about your audience. You need to think about what you want to do and the audience you are trying to reach. For instance, if a business had a special for adult dentures—traditionally used in older individuals—then a social media page that is geared to those in their 20s or 30s is not going to be the best approach. Instead, a more mature audience platform would be appropriate.
Moreover, knowing who you are trying to reach will allow you to target your promotional efforts, too. Beyond just the social media page’s typical audience, it will allow you to know when to purchase an advertisement on a social media platform and when to let it happen organically. This is important to the bottom line and allowing marketing dollars to go their farthest. Therefore, knowing your audience has a broad effect on your business’ social media marketing strategy.
Though it may sound redundant, understanding your audience and defining who they are cannot be stressed enough. Your understanding of who they are and why they are your target audience will weave its way through many different aspects of your social media strategy. Be sure, then, to take the time to define your audience and ensure that your marketing provider or social media administrator understands them, too.
What Platforms Are Best for You to Use?
When you have defined your target audience, you will have a better idea of how to reach said audience via the proper social media channels. For instance, Twitter tends to have a younger audience while Facebook is becoming an increasingly older audience. Knowing your audience will help you to choose the right channel for the right message and reach out to the proper audience.
That is not to say that you cannot be on several different social media platforms. On the contrary, many established and highly elite businesses cross-promote over several different social media markets. But, when thinking about strategizing for your page, knowing your particular target audience is important to knowing to whom you are ultimately trying to share your message. It may allow you to prioritize your list of social media pages in the rollout phase of the marketing schematic.
What does this mean for your business? Well, if you are planning a multi-page approach, you may wish to begin with the most important audience and the page that will reach them first and then build out from there. For instance, if you are looking for B2B promotions, then, you may wish to focus on LinkedIn while Instagram can be great for the younger adult crowd. Regardless, prioritizing these pages and their order of importance all relies on your understanding and knowledge of your consumer base.
Who Are You?
Getting a bit introspective is important for building social media pages. You need to know who you are and what your brand is. Think about your mission, your values and the message that you want to send to your visitors and page supporters. Having an understanding of this will allow you to translate it to consumers and potential customers via your social media pages.
Knowing who you are and what your brand represents, too, will better help define your marketing approach. You should be consistent not repetitious in your posts so, therefore, understanding your brand fully will allow you to stay consistent across all of your page’s and platforms. This will, in turn, create a reputational boost by showing that you are a brand that believes in consistency in the “big” items.
What Do You Do?
As important as understanding your message is understanding just what it is that you do. It sounds obvious, and you are likely to think this is a redundant question, but it is vital to developing your social media strategy. Focus on your business as a whole and think about all it is that you do for your customer. From the obvious services and products that you provide to the intangibles like customer service, having a clear and deep understanding of what it is that you do will greatly impact your social media pages’ successes.
Why does your business need to grasp what it does? Because it will better help you to understand your consumers. That is to say that it will help to define whom it is you are trying to recruit to your business and why you are trying to reach them. It will allow you to better target this audience by providing them with the services that they need and explaining it in the right, which will be discussed next.
How Will You Help Your Client?
If you are a business who has a wealth of services to provide, you need more than just to identify your goal or target audience. You need to explain to them what it is that you can bring to their lives in the way of value. Tell them what exactly your services can do for them and clearly explain the need that you can fulfill. This can be a difficult task if you are unsure of your services and the value that they bring and that is why the aforementioned question is so important to ask yourself and clearly define.
You will want to explain to your customers about that need where your product or service helps. But, many times your consumer may not even know that they have this need. That is where your strategy should define the problem for them and highlight that it is a need. This is not always easy so be sure that you approach it in a clear and respectful way.
What Will Your Budget Be?
Marketing on social media is relatively inexpensive. Most pages are absolutely free to use. That means that every individual or business can be on social media with little to no investment cost. That is a great advantage and can expand the market to include more businesses and those that want to create a page but may not have the savvy to develop their own personal website.
Yet, it needs to be understood that even free pages can have a cost to administer them. When you are developing your budget, you need to ensure that you consider the costs. For instance, a social media page is something that can have a free setup but there will be costs if you want to make the most of your page and advertising. There are options to promote your posts for a fee or raise your business with targeting market that has a price. Therefore, you must consider how much you want to budget when developing your strategy plan.
You will need to consider whether or not you are going to be going it alone. As will be discussed later, this can have an impact on your pricing and budgetary means. Partnering with companies can have benefits that affect your budget. Therefore, consider this when you are making your budget plans in your social marketing strategy meetings.
What Will Your Posts Be?
Many times, strategies are developed in a last minute manner. It is the “oh I need to post so let me throw something out there” mentality. This can really hurt your business and convey chaos to your customers. They are more savvy than you think so do not insult them by providing them subpar posts. They will notice, and it can hurt your business reputation.
Therefore, you need to understand just what your posts will be and think about the content that you will provide. Do not simply throw something out there but strategize so that you can get the most from your pages in the way of helping your business grow. You are in control and your customers will expect you to give them the thought and time that they deserve.
Consider the content at length for your posts because it will help to develop your reputation and credibility, too. Your social media pages are another chance for you to share with your audience the authority that you have in your particular arena. If you are not sharing with them in a proper and valuable way, they will notice. This will hurt your reputation and you will be worse off for it.
On the contrary, though, if you bring valuable content to your social media posts, you can establish your reputation. You will be seen as an authority on a particular subject arena. Consider this, then, when making your content for your different platforms of communication.
How Often Will You Post?
As much as planning your posts is important, so, too, is posting often enough that you stay relevant to your consumer. You need to think about your customer and your client and understand them before you ever post on your pages. This can take time and you need to consider how often you want to share something with them.
Depending upon your service or your product, the timeline can vary. It can also vary upon the depth of the post that you want to share and the social media platform you are using. For instance, Instagram is a great site for sharing pictures. Sometimes, these sites benefit from more frequent posts than a site like LinkedIn where knowledge sharing is a bit different as it relies on B2B marketing.
To help you stay on track and not get lost in the other daily tasks, consider scheduling your posts. A social media marketing calendar can remind you to make your marketing online a part of your daily routine. You can do this by sitting down with your marketing team or your employees and develop a strategy. Ask yourself how often you want to post, upon which site you will post and what your customers expect and need from you. Asking how often is an essential part of a complete marketing plan.
Can You Do It Alone?
If you are a business that does not have an internal marketing department or a small endeavor that feels that it does not have the time to use in this way, you should not simply give up on developing a social media strategy. Instead, you need to consider picking up a partner who can fill in that gap for you. Your investment can reap dividends in several ways.
Therefore, it should not be seen as a weakness or problem to ask for help in this arena. Social media marketing is important. If you develop your page with the help of someone else, you are giving yourself an increased likelihood to flourish and see success. Never feel like you have to do it alone when there is help out there and many new companies that can help you. Choose carefully but know that you are making the right decision for your social media pages and your business when you ask for guidance or help.
Who Is Your Partner?
Choosing a partner for your page should not be taken lightly. Ultimately, your social media pages are an extension of your business and should be treated with the utmost of care. Building your pages can bring a great deal of value to your company and your partner should know and understand the value to help you get the most from your overall marketing plan.
If you are searching for a company, ensure that it is both responsive to your needs and understanding of what it is that you want to achieve. Choose a group that has a reputation of communication and will work with you—rather than against—throughout the process. This will help both of you to get the most from the experience and ensure that you are getting a partner rather than a controller. Your clients and potential service users will benefit from a clear partnership as well, even if they do not know it.
Jessica Holmes is a content crafter at Crawford and O’Brien, a dental SEO company that provides search marketing practices at a world class level. She has been in the Internet marketing industry for several years and can be found online tweeting about her writing or at home, hiking sunny Arizona trails.