Developing a Social Media Strategy

Every social media presence needs a thoughtful strategy in order to be successful. Start thinking through how you can develop a social media strategy by answering these simple questions.

  1. Who is your target audience? If you’re running your business successfully you probably know a little bit about your customers. You might even have a niche market, or a specific type of customer that you typically interact with. Write down as much information as you have about your target audience including age, gender, income, etc. and then start doing some research to find out what social media platforms they use. Here are some general guidelines:
    • LinkedIn is used primarily by older, male professionals to market themselves (1). The average user is 44 years old (2).
    • Facebook, among other social networking platforms, is used by 50% of all adults in the U.S. (3). Most users are 18-25 years old (4).
    • Twitter is used primarily by young professionals to discuss current, real-time issues including world events and business-related topics (5). The average user is 39 years old (6).
    • Pinterest is 79% female and the most pinned about topics are: gifts, holidays and seasonal events, pets & animals, and special event items (7).
    • Instagram is used primarily by young adults to share fun pictures of themselves, their friends, and other things that they’re interested in. The average user is between 18-29 years old (8).
    • Google+ is used by young white men in the technology industry to connect with each other and learn the latest industry information (9).
  2. What are your objectives in using social media? Don’t just use social media because someone told you that you should. Sit down and start thinking seriously about what you might want to accomplish with a social media presence. Here are some sample objectives:
    • I would like to be able to provide customer service to my clients using social media.
    • I would like to energize my customer base to use social media to spread the word about the products and services my business offers.
    • I would like my clients to influence the type of products and services that I develop by reaching out to them and asking them questions using social media.
  3. How will your presence on social media help you accomplish your goals? Begin developing a strategy for your social media presence that outlines how your activity on social media will help to further the goals of your organization. Here are some good tips for developing a strategy:
    • Create a plan that starts small, but has room to grow.
    • Think through the implications of having a social media presence for your company.
      • Map out some things that could happen when using social media, and plan for how to handle some of those possible situations.
    • Get buy-in from key supporters and stakeholders.
    • Put someone in charge of managing your social media presence and be realistic about how much time they have to dedicate toward managing your social media presence.
    • Develop social media policies for your company, and user guidelines for your customers.
    • Develop a communications calendar mapping out who will post content to each social media platform, and at what times throughout the day, week, month, and year.
  4. Which social media platform(s) should you use? After you’ve carefully thought through who your target audience is, what your objectives are, and how you would like your relationships with your target audience to change as a result of opening yourself up to social media it’s time to select which social media platforms to use. Regardless of your industry, it’s always a good idea to be on LinkedIn, so your first step into the social media world might be to develop – or improve – your LinkedIn Profile and set up a LinkedIn Company Profile.

The most important thing to do is to take it slowly. It’s important that your social media presence be manageable, because if it’s not manageable it won’t be successful. Start with a platform that you know well, and that you’re confident your customers are using and become successful with that platform. Think about expanding and becoming a bit more creative once you’ve successfully created traction and engagement on one platform.

If you need a bit of help deciding what platforms to tackle first this Social Media Comparison Infographic should help!

Social Media Comparison Infographic