Who were your top 8 on Myspace? Do you remember? Wow, I guess that was a while ago.
Would it shock you to know the first social media platform, Six Degrees, came out even before Myspace in 1997? Let’s face it though, Myspace created the boom of social media that we know today. We have come a long way since that nostalgic time when everyone had a friend named Tom and an About Me section perfectly curated with a mix of colored fonts and song lyrics. With Facebook opening their platform to people outside of Harvard, YouTube creating a popular video sharing service and Twitter deciding to come onto the scene for those who wanted to talk in 140 characters or less (thank goodness we have more space now), it became clear that social media was going to be woven into the DNA of our society forevermore. And that meant businesses couldn’t ignore it.
Of course, LinkedIn has been around since the start of Myspace and continues to be the place for job seekers and human resources professionals seeking qualified candidates. But businesses in the social media space have needed to expand into other platforms for over a decade now. And if your business is not adequately participating in social media, your marketing strategy is incomplete.
Why does your business need to be on social media?
As of April 2022, 4.65 billion people are using social media, that is 58.7 percent of the global population. And those numbers keep rising. Over the past 12 months, in fact, 326 million new users joined the social media landscape.
“But Facebook is a dying platform.”
“Only older people use Facebook.”
“No one uses Twitter anymore.”
“Instagram is just for teens and 20-somethings.”
We’ll talk about what people consider “older” in a little bit. But the point right now is that all of these are unequivocally wrong assumptions. Facebook is the third most trafficked website across the entire internet, only behind Google and YouTube. Twitter and Instagram follow closely behind. This tells us that not only do these platforms have a lot of accounts, but users are actively using them.
Common marketing goals include increasing brand awareness, establishing authority in your industry, generating leads for new customers, increasing conversion rates to a company’s website or supplementing a recruitment campaign. With the number of people frequenting social media sites, you’d be missing out on significant reach for these marketing efforts by not incorporating a social media strategy into your overall marketing action plan.
Okay, I get it! I need to be on social media. But how?
Now we’re onto the fun part! How do you create a social media strategy? Don’t think about what your content will look like yet. Before you start, you need to understand your audience and your goals. Use these two steps to guide you in determining what social media platforms you should use and how you should use them:
Define your audience
Your target audience on social media should mimic your target audience in your other marketing initiatives. If you haven’t uncovered this yet, you should be analyzing your current customer base using customer surveys or Google Analytics to understand who is visiting your website. You should also be conducting market research into your industry and your competitors to understand what demographics make up your target market.
Once you have a good understanding of gender, age, location and hobbies, you can figure out what social media platforms are best to focus on. But this is where those assumptions from above come back into play. If your mom and grandma are always talking about recipes or articles they saw on Facebook, it might be easy to assume that older generations rule the platform. In reality, research tells us the largest group of active users on Facebook are between the ages of 25-34 with 57 percent of those being male.
Knowing your audience and what social platforms they prefer will also help you understand what trends you should be partaking in. There is always something happening on the internet, and it’s not always relevant to your business. Take TikTok’s #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon. This platform continues to grow rapidly, TikTok users spend close to two hours on the app every day and the company claims that 67 percent of their users agree that “TikTok inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so.” So, you should definitely jump on this trend and start a TikTok account if you’re trying to drive sales, right? Female users between the ages of 10 and 19 make up TikTok’s largest demographic. If that is not your target audience, then, no, you should not waste your time.
Define your goal
We already talked about some common marketing goals. This is something you have to decide for two reasons: social media platform usage and key performance indicators (KPIs).
First, like your target audience, your goals will help you decide what platforms to focus on. If reach is your primary goal to build brand awareness, you may want to focus your efforts on the one or two largest platforms like Facebook and YouTube. These will most likely get you in front of the people you want, even if they’re also using other social media sites. If you are looking to increase a connection with your client or customer base and your brand has a visual appeal, Instagram is by far the most engaged social platform. If you are putting all your efforts into recruitment, LinkedIn and Facebook will be your best friends.
The other reason you need to have a defined goal is you will want to be able to measure the success of your social media presence. Each goal you have should be supported by KPIs that you can analyze month after month.
Create your content strategy
Unlike personal social media usage, every piece of content from your business should be deliberate and supportive of your defined goals. With that being said, even if you have one goal in mind, your content should be a mix. Furthermore, each platform you have a presence on can have a different strategy.
Your goal is to supplement your recruitment campaign.
Your content calendar could be broken down into these categories:
- 50% boosts hiring posts
- 25% showcases company culture
- 20% shares industry news articles
- 5% directly promotes your brand
The history of social media began as a way for people to connect with friends and family on the internet. That has not changed. Businesses have come into the mix, but they are not competing with their competitors on these platforms, they are competing with their customers’ friends and family. Social users want to be social; they want to be entertained; they want to build connections. Having a mix of content keeps your target audience engaged, it allows them to see the inside of your company and the people that make it run, and it builds trust in your brand.
Once you have your calendar mapped out and your content created, you cannot post it and forget it. Once again, social media was created for users to be social. People will engage with business pages, and they expect to be responded to in a timely manner. Engaging with these users are just as important as putting content out in the first place. If you ignore them, you better believe that they will start to ignore you.
Analyze your performance
You must create a defined goal that has KPIs attached to it so you can measure how things are performing. Most social media sites have an analytics tool built in, but there are many other useful tools to purchase that will give you a wealth of information into how your posts are performing. Regularly analyzing your metrics will help you determine what things are working and what things are not. Don’t be afraid to pivot your strategy to accomplish the goal you set.
Social media provides an incredible opportunity for businesses to connect with their target audience in a variety of ways. However, to make the most out of social media, you need to have a well-defined goal and content strategy as well as be prepared to engage with your followers. Additionally, it is important to regularly analyze your performance so that you can determine what is working and what needs improvement. By following these tips, your business can create a successful social media strategy that will help you reach your desired outcome.
Do you still feel stuck? Connect with the Red Shoes team at 920-574-3253. We’ll help you make the most of your social media channels.