Social media is an excellent platform for your business to authentically connect with your customers and build a community of loyal advocates that can share and promote your business. To achieve this, you need to invest time and thought into your social media strategy and management. Here are some key insights to get you focused and motivated to take your social media plan to the next level.
Have a plan
Just like any successful business, you need a plan. Social media is no different. Having a clear social media strategy to follow will give you a clear path to connecting with your target audience.
Know Your Audience and Where They Go
First, know who your target audience (customers) are. You most likely already have this information from your own business plan, and if you have documented customer personas that is even better. Take this customer information and select the best social media channel to engage with your audience and promote your business. Here is a quick look at some social media channel user statistics (as of 2020).
- LinkedIn: If you are looking to connect with business professionals or executives, LinkedIn is a smart choice as LinkedIn users are the most engaged, with an average age range of 30-49. They tend to read and share blog posts and other educational content much more than any other social media channel.
- Facebook: Unarguably the most popular social media channel, with 2.5 billion active monthly users, Facebook provides a much wider range of people with an age range of 18-64 (on average). The average income of online Facebook users is more than $75,000. The type of posts of Facebook that seem to resonate more (and get the most engagement) is content with emotional or personal connections. Facebook users are casual viewers, looking to connect with family and friends, so if you are a business wanting to connect, you need to connect with personalized stories and resources that will help them with a problem. Also, have fun! Facebook users want to be entertained.
- Twitter: With over 48 million active users in the US (300 million active users globally), Twitter has a high male user demographic (66% male, 34% female), and average age of Twitter users are 18-29 (38%) and 30-49 (26%), Twitter is a highly engaging platform that provides businesses an opportunity to instantly connect in two-way communications with their customers and prospects. In fact, 85% of small and medium business users use Twitter to provide customer service.
- Pinterest/Instagram: With 88 million Pinterest active monthly users in the US, and over 1 billion Instagram active monthly users, these highly visual social media channels offer an excellent opportunity to highlight your brand and have some fun. While both platforms skew heavily to female users (71% Pinterest and 56% Instagram users are female), the average age range is 18-35.
- SnapChat: With 218 million daily active users, SnapChat is predominantly used by females (70%) and has an average overall younger user age range of 13-24.
Know Your Brand and Stay On Brand
When planning out your social media posts, always consider how it reflects your overall brand. Create posts that have the look, feel and tone of your brand. This will create consistency and build brand awareness. Also consider the type of content you share (curate) from other sources (such as articles and other posts). Be sure that it also reflects your brand voice and beliefs, but also that it connects with your customers. Consider what would be interesting or helpful to your customers.
Use the Rule of Thirds
Don’t always talk about yourself, your business or your products/services. Social media users want to be entertained or educated. They appreciate knowing more about your business and offers, but if you want to build a community of engaged followers, keep your recipe for social media more diverse with the rule of thirds.
- ⅓ of your posts should share educational or interesting information that may have nothing to do with your particular business but would interest your customers. For example, a dentist may share a link to a blog about excellent foods to eat that will reduce your plaque build up.
- ⅓ of your posts should be just for fun! For example, you can include a weekly inspirational quote, offer a weekly factoid, or celebrate the various holidays throughout the year.
- ⅓ of your posts should be about your brand, products/services or promotions. You can still talk about your business, just don’t let this be the only thing you talk about on your social media channels.
Promote on website and in email
Most of the time your potential customers will first find you through your website or from emails you may send out. It’s important to place links to your social media channels predominantly and easy to find. Don’t bury your social media links in the footer of your website, keep it visible at all times. Make it easy for new and existing customers to find your social media channels and make it easy for them to share your content on their social media profiles.
Focus on quality, not quantity
This goes back to the rule of thirds when posting on your social media channels. Don’t bombard your feed with sales pitches and promotions. Remember, people are on social media to get away from all the advertising and want to either be entertained, inspired or educated. Don’t feel like you need to post daily if you have nothing of value or interesting to say. If you stick to the rule of thirds, you will have plenty to post on social media. The key is to show you are active at least every few days. An easy rule to remember: Don’t show a gap of more than three days on your feed – and use the rule of thirds when posting.
Stay engaged on social media
Social media is first and foremost a community of engagement and conversations. So be sure to engage with your audience and influencers on social media! Respond with comments and like other brands and influencers that align with your brand.
Invest in paid social media ads or promotions
When it comes to promoting your brand or offer, paid social media can be an excellent way to strategically focus on your target audience. Use your customer personas from your business plans to outline key demographics about your customers (age, location, education, etc.), but also analyze your current social media followers on all your channels. There is a wealth of insights and analytics in each of your social media accounts, so use this information to target specific audiences in your paid social media ad campaigns. These will increase the chance for success with your ads.
Also, be sure to test, test, test! It is important to test your ad copy (written content), images you use in your ads, and compare how different audiences react to the same ads. It may take a little more time up front, but if you keep your initial ad budget very low, you can quickly identify the ads that are most effective, then increase your spend on those ads specifically and increase your chances of successful results.
Experiment and analyze various content types
Continuously monitor all your posts across all your social media channels (each channel will have analytics and insights) to identify what is working well and what may not be resonating with your audience. Experiment with different types of content to keep your audience engaged. It is proven that posts with pictures perform better than just text posts, and posts with video perform significantly better than other posts. So invest in the creativity of your posts (there are a ton of free and low-cost online options for creating high-quality images and video) and monitor what is working so you can focus and expand on that type of content.