It’s hardly a secret that, if you’re promoting a brand, a great tool at your disposal is all the social media sites that have sprung up over the last several years and continue to flourish, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others.
But, as I hope everyone also knows by now, it’s easy – much too easy – to make brand-damaging mistakes on social media if you’re not careful. Big mistakes!
In fact, if your aim is to promote your brand successfully, you shouldn’t even attempt social media without a carefully planned strategy. The willy-nilly approach won’t do it, and you even could end up in worse shape than before you started.
So how does someone go about developing a social media strategy that works?
Glad you asked!
To answer the question, as I often do in such circumstances, I turned to one of the team members here at EMSI for assistance. In this case, it was Jay York, our senior social media strategist, who understands the nuances of social media and how to make the best use of social media’s advantages while avoiding the disadvantages.
Jay says these four steps are critical as you develop your social media strategy:
- Identify your target audience. It’s important to decide just who it is you are trying to reach because that will affect the subsequent steps in your strategy. For example, knowing the likes and needs of your target audience will help determine the type of content you share on social media. If you sell a pricey item for teenagers, for instance, your target audience might actually be their parents who have the money and the final say on purchasing decisions.
- Choose the social media platforms you’ll use. Each social media platform appeals to a difference type of audience, though there definitely is overlap. Each attracts niche audiences that may or may not be useful to your brand. For example, Instagram might not be the right choice for you unless you’re promoting a lifestyle product to Millennials and Generation Xers. If you are in search of Baby Boomers, Facebook would be a good place to look because that’s far and away their favorite social media platform.
- Solidify your content strategy. Once you know your target audience and the platforms you will use to reach them, it’s time to focus on your content. You want to develop a stream of content that will be relevant and valuable to the right individuals through the right channels. Here’s where it’s important to remember that each social media platform has different ways of handling and displaying content. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Twitter puts a limit on the number of characters you can use, yet there are still ways to get across a timely, interesting and valuable message. Facebook allows room for more detailed messages. Regardless of the platform, variety is important. Don’t just post links, for example. Your content should be a mixture of links, images, videos and articles.
- Define how you’ll network. Once your social media strategy is in place, you’ll want to attract and increase your following. Determining how and when you’ll do that is important. Will you follow like-minded people in an effort to get them to follow you back, or will you let content do the talking to attract new followers. With Facebook, perhaps you would want to consider purchasing social media advertisements to help keep your momentum going.
Finally, Jay emphasizes that consistency is incredibly important. You can’t post on social media once a week or once every two weeks and expect followers to start multiplying as if by magic.
It simply won’t happen!
Your social media platforms need tender, daily care, because once you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, you don’t want to lose it. That doesn’t mean cluttering their newsfeed with an avalanche of posts, but it does mean checking in regularly to remind your followers of what you have to offer and that you’ll be there when they need you.
P.S. If you need professional help with devising a social media strategy, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.