What’s Your Social Media Strategy? – Part 3
In last week’s post, “Finding Your Customers on Social Media”, we talked about identifying your audience (customers) and how to determine which social networking sites your audience participates in. The previous steps are relatively easy if you know your business.
This week, we dig a little deeper into territory you may consider more unfamiliar. Now that you know your audience and where they participate in social media, it’s time to see how they socialize and to establish what you want to accomplish with these new avenues of marketing and communication.
Step 3: Determine Types of Activities for Each Site
This is the second part of getting to know your audience; discover the types of activities, or behaviors, your audiences engage in on each social media site. This step will help you develop an understanding of how your audience interacts on these sites. This is very simple if you take the right steps:
- Visit the social media sites of your competitors and peers and observe how audiences engage on these sites.
- Select a few participants on these sites and visit their personal pages, and observe how they engage with their friends and peers.
The more observation you do, the more insight you will gain into how your audience behaves on each social media site. Your observations will provide some direction as you explore how you might engage your audience on each site, and what you can expect to accomplish on each site.
That leads us to the next step of your social media strategy: Establish your objectives.
Step 4: Establish Your Objectives
For most businesses a set of objectives might look very similar:
- Find New Customers
- Sell Products/Services
- Introduce New Products/Services
However, these objectives are generally unsuitable for social media, at least initially. Social media is more about social interaction, and many people on social media sites frown upon direct commercial engagement.
Like much of a business’ offline activities, the sales process begins with developing relationships. Social media objectives should conform to the culture of the site. For example:
- Develop new relationships
- Provide helpful advice
- Offer insightful ideas
- Address problems you know how to solve
- Participate in discussions
Your social media objectives should be more about getting to know your audience directly, by helping them with their needs, by offering advice and guidance, by introducing useful information and presenting solutions that may or may not be directly related to your products or services. Your objectives then translate to even softer objectives:
- Develop trust
- Build loyalty
- Establish authority
- Improve communication
Your Business + Your Customers = Your Strategy
There’s no book you’ll find that can tell you exactly what your objectives should be or the best social strategy for your business, because every business is as unique as every person. How you do business will help define your objectives and strategy. Understanding your customers and how they behave will also help define your objectives and strategy.
Apply these tips and start experimenting. Don’t feel pressured to get it right the first time you try. Social media participation for business is one of those things best learned through experience, because social media audiences can be fickle, and each channel has its own set of unwritten rules for commercial engagement. Try a few different approaches and gauge the response. Make adjustments. With practice and patience, you will get comfortable with the process.