In fact, whether for personal or business use, social media isn’t for everyone. But for many, it does more than just work, it takes their business to new heights. It’s not a case of plug in and go though, it takes a strategic approach, and is initially about choosing the right social media channels for your business.
From what they all do, to whether you’re equipped to manage them, social media channels can be daunting. So if you’re going to benefit from a social media marketing strategy that works, you need to spend a bit of time getting a grip on it.
There are many, many social platforms out there that all have a different appeal. While you don’t need to know all about each and every one of them, you do need to know about the big players – who they are, what they do, and whether they are right for you.
There are a handful of social media channels that have long reigned supreme when it comes to popularity, and effectiveness for business. First up is Facebook. Facebook is still the biggest social network in the world, and with dedicated business support in place, it’s geared up to help many different industries get the most out ot if.
YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the other four biggest platforms, each with very different focus points. Video, microblogging, business and ideas would be the first words to come to mind for each – which already splits them into distinct areas of interest that may or may not be appropriate to use for your business.
With this, knowledge is key. Are these channels about pushing out information, about two-way interaction or simply about the hard-sell. You need to know what those popular channels are and how they are used in order to establish whether you have an appropriate home on them.
Once you have brushed up on the social media channels to know, the next step is to define what it is that you want to get out of them.
Do you want to drive traffic to your site? To attract an online community? Or simply to build brand awareness?
One of the great benefits of social media is that it is easily measurable. You can see your goals and objectives in action, so it’s important to set them and to see which channels are most in-line with helping you to achieve them.
It’s all well and good knowing which channels are hot property, and what they could help you to achieve, but there’s little point ploughing your time and effort into them if they are not used by your target audience.
Look at the age, gender, location and interests of those using social networks, and link them up with the people you are looking to talk to.
For example, there is a big difference between the kind of customers that use Snapchat (a picture-messaging app that deletes content after a certain period of time) and LinkedIn (a professionally-focused networking channel that centres around careers and employment.)
What you need to do is determine where your current, and potential, customers are – to make sure you’re best-placed to be heard.
Just because we use them so widely in our private lives, doesn’t mean that social media channels are easy to manage. Companies that are serious about their social presence will have a dedicated social media team – creating and managing content around the clock.
If your resources are limited, then it’s all about refining your needs and ensuring that you are following the right path. Work out what you can produce with the team that you have, from imagery to blogs to live video content; then see how this offering stands up against others on social media channels.
What are your competitors doing, and what are the ‘best-in-class’ brands doing? You may not always have the resource to match up on scale, but the least you can do is be aware of what is working in order to help you raise your game.
The world of social media is fast-moving and ever-changing, so even when you have determined what works for your business at the moment, it’s vital that you continue to review its effect – alongside other social media channels.
New channels will crop up and existing ones will lose their momentum. By staying informed and engaged, your business has a better chance of utilising their features. Although nothing is a guarantee, your thorough research and strategic planning will see that your social channel choices set you out on the right track.
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