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Let’s face one fact: We are a society dominated by social media. I know, that isn’t a popular sentiment. People don’t want to admit that they are glued to Facebook 24/7 or that they continuously check Instagram at work. But, whether we admit it or not isn’t the issue. Social media is huge part of our lives. Mark Zuckerberg completely changed the game with Facebook, and we’ve been obsessed ever since. I mean, ten years ago we barely even knew what social media was, and today some of us are making careers out of it. Is that not crazy?
But social media isn’t just about keeping up with your old high school friends or reading Aunt Sally’s once an hour updates; social media has also gone corporate. Today, more businesses than ever are taking advantage of the ability social media has to give them a one-on-one relationship with their audience. There are still some business men and women who don’t take social media seriously. Let’s put it this way: There are more people on Facebook than the entire population of China (1.71 BILLION active users as of the second quarter of 2016).
With all those people at your disposal, you would be crazy not to be on social media, right? Businesses need to be leveraging this to their advantage. The problem that most businesses face is that they don’t exactly know what they are doing. There are a lot of platforms out there, and a lot of different strategies. But let me give you the best advice I have for social media: Don’t over think it – just keep it simple.
Social Media Strategy
If you go to Google and type in “Social Media Strategy,” you can find tons of articles telling you how to gain thousands of followers and engagement on your social media channels in no time. Don’t listen to them.
What has worked for one business probably isn’t going to work for you. Let me give you a first- hand account. I graduated with my degree in Marketing and Public Relations in the pretty recent past, and I took several courses about social media and how to use it effectively. But what I was taught was how Coke did this on their Twitter account, or how Target won people over with their Facebook accounts. Fact: I don’t work with companies like Target or Coke.
While our clients generally have pretty good social media followings, they don’t compare to those companies at all. You can’t take what Target did and think it is going to work for your business, unless you are a direct competitor. But if you are a smaller business, their social media strategy probably doesn’t help you in any way.
Do Your Research
You can go take one of those social media strategy articles and follow it step-by-step, and maybe gain a few followers, but most likely they aren’t going to be the followers you want. What’s the use in gaining followers if they aren’t going to use your service or buy your product? Having followers just for the sake of having followers is the worst social media strategy out there.
Or you can do one simple step, gain the followers you want, and build your engagement naturally. “So, what’s this magic step?” you ask. To which I reply, “Do your research!” Just like with SEO-content research or keyword research, other types of research are a huge part of social media.
First, research your industry. You should look at what others in your space are doing and how it is performing to give you a leg up. If your direct competitor is doing something that isn’t working, well, then that should be a red flag you shouldn’t be doing it, either.
Second, know your audience. You want to make sure you know exactly the folks you are trying to find. After you know who they are, then you want to find out where they are. There are over 200 different social media platforms; there is no use in using one of them if your target audience isn’t. If most of your audience is on Facebook and Pinterest, why would you start using Twitter? They aren’t going to just come to you on a completely new platform. You need to reach them on the platforms they already use.
After you know your who your audience is and where they are, look into the type of content that they engage with the most. You want the content that you share to be tailored to your audience. What is your audience talking about on different channels? What are they looking for? You want to answer their questions while providing fresh and valuable content for them.
Keep It Simple
You may think that using social media is just too much of a hassle for your business. But, honestly, it’s not rocket science. It’s knowing who your audience is, where they are, and what they are looking for. Do your research, and you should be able to leverage your social media platforms into a gold mine for your business.
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A Georgia Southern University graduate, Brittany joined Visiture in 2015 and manages Visiture's extensive internal marketing endeavors. Interests include: true crime podcasts, *watching sports, and her two pups, Lulu the Pug and Laurence the Greyhound.
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