Although your reach may be unlimited with social media, you want to connect with your target market, especially when there is a cost involved. An existing business, marketing, or communications plan would be the starting point for your social media strategy.
Knowing the demographic and sociographic makeup of your audience will help lead you to them online. Age, gender, geographic location, income level, and related consumer or hobby interests are all important criteria. All these characteristics define not only which channels your audience frequents most, but also what devices they are likely to be using and what times of day they are likely to be online.
Tech favorite GitLab which produces tools to manage software development, has a very detailed Social Marketing Handbook and includes guidelines for reaching their target audience on various social media channels. For Twitter, they recommend five or more tweets a day plus retweets, to be posted between midnight and 5 pm PT to reach what they know to be a large part of their audience in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
How do they know that? Research. They did the background work of identifying their user group (software developers) and made good use of the business intelligence already available to find out where they live online. They then put together a strategy of approach addressing tone, content, time of day posting, and frequency of posts. You’ll notice that GitLab’s Handbook has content and posting guidelines for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Instagram and Pinterest don’t get a mention; GitLab knows that their developers are not using those channels AND that their content does not lend itself well to imagery. Focusing your strategy also means focusing your limited resources: People, creative energies, and budget.
You should also conduct an environmental scan, looking at your competitor’s social media offerings and how well they are or are not connecting online. You can even ask your audience directly using your existing online assets to create surveys (throw in a chance to win a contest and increase your response rate significantly!)
Your social media strategy should also be conscientious; there are several “dos and don’ts” to be wary of, including that quality of content is far more important than quantity. Spamming your audience will turn them off, and content that doesn’t engage will also send them packing. MoneyCrashers.com offers an excellent guide to social media etiquette.
You’ll want to tweak your plan often, gathering feedback as you go. Include in your strategy a sound approach to measuring the success of your social media efforts using a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs). Whether followers, sales, sign-ups, or any number of other measurements that are meaningful to you. Be wary of relying too heavily on “vanity metrics” like “likes” that may not be a true reflection of your level of engagement with your target group. And again, you can survey your audience directly! Ask them what they find most and least valuable about your channel feeds and adjust accordingly.
Set reasonable goals and expectations in your strategy. If you have 200 followers now, you are not likely to increase to 20K in a year. Two thousand might be a more reasonable objective.
Is developing a social media strategy in your plans? Ask us if we can help, we have the Aptitude for that.