Social Media Strategy
They don’t care what you know until they know you care.
– Unknown Origins
Social Media works when you are engaged with the community. You need to show you care, before they care about your company.
The key to gain followers, drive traffic, generate leads or any goal is simple. Provide content that is useful to the people you want to attract. If you want to drive traffic to your site to increase sales, then you need to know about the demographic information of your customers.
If we extract some information from the strategic plan, then we can determine our target market. Maybe you are a photographer that specializes in family oriented portraits. Your target customers are parents, therefore, if you want to engage with parents through social media, then discuss anything related to parenting. The joys and struggles of being a parent are endless (we assume):
If you find some particularly useful tips, then share the link.
If your son or daughter creates some delightful art on the wall, then take a picture and share it.
If you are having one of those days, then ask for some support.
The reason all of these examples are applicable is simple…You are creating a relationship.
There are no magic bullets.
The repeated touch points show compassion and human nature. Social media works essentially as a sales strategy to demonstrate value to customers, but it works over time. These tidbits generate name recognition, so when they need a photographer for the family portrait or holiday card, then your company is first on the list.
The beauty of social media is low-cost and low contact, but high impact. Particularly, as a small business or organization, your story is tied to your brand. And further, the brand is likely tied to a personal passion, so by sharing content that you find valuable or interesting, then you are providing useful information. Low contact.
As discussed in a recent post (see How does Social Media help my Business?), your business will cater to specific platforms.
In the photographer example, parents would typically be on Facebook. Join groups related to families and enter the conversation. As you engage, then continue to evaluate how sharing with groups relates to changes in traffic or followers to your other accounts (see last month about Validation), like Twitter or Instagram. Engaging with your users is the first part of the strategy, followed by validating how the engagement resonates with your larger objectives.
Another component of engagement and generating a social media strategy relates to finding new customers.
Certain platforms provide an opportunity to connect to larger audiences if your mission ties to a topic of general public discussion. Focus on LinkedIn and Medium for content on broader concepts that go beyond typical tips and lists.
For example, if you are an organization involved with domestic violence, then the recent NFL domestic violence issues would present an opportunity to create long-form (think newspaper article) about the topic. You are an expert in the field and can publish (free of charge) to LinkedIn and Medium, which provide a new audience of readers looking to gather informative articles. In particular, Medium separates content by subject matter, so you can add to the discussion of engaged readers. This all works to elevate your mission to a new audience that likely would not be following you on Twitter or Facebook. The tone of an article on Medium should be professional, so it aligns with a large, important topic.
Through the use of social media aggregators, then you can share the link to Medium on your Facebook and Twitter page. The message on these platforms should remain consistent with your previous messages because you are already engaging your audience.
Example of a Tweet to promote your Medium post:
“The NFL is new to domestic violence, we are not. Check out our thoughts on the NFL’s actions.”
What are the benefits of taking these action?
In this example, it is probable that your followers, customers and potential customers are not seeking your thoughts on Medium, but will see your tweets. The more modes of expressing your brand, the greater opportunity for engagement and social shares across platforms. The underlying strategy remains to engage your customers where they live, which is Twitter, but take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
To further this example, an organization that is mission driven, like domestic violence awareness, should probably have a presence on a long-form site like Medium. The mission driven organization can create a channel (unique brand on Medium) to post related content and attract followers.
The topic lends itself to thoughtful prose. As opposed to a jewelry maker that may have an occasion to discuss larger topics, like conflict free diamonds, the jeweler’s content would most likely relate to fashion. In that example, then Twitter, Facebook and Instagram should be the social media platforms to engage users.
If your customers or potential customers are not on the platform, then there is no reason to waste precious time exploring the platform. In the world of customer engagement, there is no need to follow the “if you build it, they will come” strategy.
Engage with your customers. Find them and figure out what content they enjoy, what they find interesting. Then generate content that relates to those areas of interest.
Remember KISS…keep it simple stupid. If you find it interesting, then your followers will as well.
We hope this helps as you are working towards your entrepreneurial venture. If you have any questions or comments, then please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Please find below some useful resources to help build your social media channels and drive engagement.
Social Media Aggregators:
Buffer and their blog.
Neil Patel and QuickSprout.
9 Ways to Grow Followers (Ethically).
Generating Engaging Content:
It Starts with Why.