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Caption: Social media presence. Photo: yayimages
There's a lot of pressure nowadays for businesses to be on social media. While social media can be very useful for expanding a business and engaging with clients and potential customers, careful navigation is needed to avoid getting lost in the sea of channels and to choose the ones that work best for you.These are our suggestions for creating the best social media strategy:
1. Define your goals
The first step is to focus on why you want to create a presence on a particular social media site. What are you trying to accomplish by doing it: are you trying to promote a service? Generate leads? Interact with clients? Increase your brand exposure? Social media experts like John Haydon recommend the SMART goals system, which means that your plan should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
2. Know your target audience
Understanding your customer or potential client's habits on social media is critical for creating a successful social media strategy. It’s important to know your audience; who you want to reach and where to find them. Different age groups use different sites in different ways. Before deciding which channel is the best for you, you need to segment your audience and identify where to find them.
3. Choose the right social media for you
While it may look good to have several social media icons on your website, remember that not every platform is equally useful for you. Choosing the right channel depends mostly on the resources at your disposition, especially people and time. If your resources are limited, the best option is to find which social media works best for you (either because it supports the kind of content you need or because your client base is heavily present there) and focus all your effort on it. For example, sites like LinkedIn or Facebook can increase brand exposure and make you gain new followers, whereas using Twitter or Pinterest can help you get more traffic.
4. Adapt to your available resources
It's important to be realistic when it comes to how many resources you’re going to commit to your social media presence. These platforms are usually free but maintaining a channel is time-consuming, so before you create a new profile think about the size and technical skills of your staff, how much time they can spend on it and what kind of content they can provide.
5. Decide how you will measure your activity
How you measure success should be part of your plan as well and it needs to be in tune with your goals. Keep in mind that the figures mean different things. If you want to increase web traffic, views are more important than followers, but if your objective is to create a community and increase your brand exposure, the number of followers and friends on the main social media channels is key. Most social media platforms include built-in analytic options but you can also use tools like Google Analytics or Statcounter to keep an eye on the kind of traffic on your sites.
6. Use a social media calendar
This kind of tool will help you schedule your activity during holidays, campaigns and upcoming events. Most platforms include their own scheduling options but you can also use free tools such as Hootsuite, or make your own using Google Calendar, so your whole team can check the activity and avoid repeating posts.
7. Quality over quantity
There are no specific guidelines for how often a business should post something on their social media platforms; each industry and channel has its own rules. Studies show, however, that there shouldn't be more than 5 messages per day on any site except for Pinterest. For example, for Facebook it's a maximum 3 times a day and for Twitter it's 5.
The most important thing when it comes to social media is to be realistic and patient. Experts suggest that it takes at least 6 months to achieve results, which even then may not be tangible. Nevertheless, it's a very powerful tool that can draw attention to your business and help you achieve your goals; you just need to have an effective strategy..
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