When it comes to building that nebulous but oh-so-important “web presence” branding experts are always talking about, it’s easy to get caught up in things like website development and search engine optimization. Those things are important, undoubtedly (and they’re actually the most likely ways to bring in new leads). But if you’re truly out to make your brand a household name, you’ll also need to dive into the waters of social media.
There are lots of dos and don’ts to follow when developing a social media strategy — far too many to fit into one article — but there are three facts many business forget when they start building their social media program, and forgetting them can end up costing a bundle in both money spent and opportunities lost down the road. Here’s what you need to know:
- You Need to Follow Your Target Market and Focus
Part of the problem is found just in how most people describe developing a social media strategy: There’s no singular entity called “social media,” so you can’t have a single social media strategy. Does your target market use Twitter or Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram? Find out which two or three are most popular in that demographic, and then create individual strategies for each platform. By setting specific goals and metrics for each, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and assess whether they’re working or not.
- Your Focus Shouldn’t Be on Selling or Customer Service
If you have to define your social media goal in one word, it should be this one: engagement. The point of social media is to engage with your customers on a more personal level so that they’ll like and trust your company more. Many people have touted how it’s possible to use social media to sell products or handle customer service queries. But people don’t like to feel that they’re being bombarded with pitches when they’re on sites primarily meant for leisure, and surveys have shown only a very small percentage of customers actually prefer to contact a company with customer service concerns through social media. If you want to add additional functionalities on later, that’s fine. But you need to start by building relationships with your social media followers.
- Hiring a Professional Social Media Team May Pay Off
Managing social media profitably is deceptively difficult. Knowing how to use these sites for personal reasons such as keeping in touch with family does not qualify someone to use them as a business strategy. If you’re looking for a good return on your investment, it’s probably best to leave business social media to the experts. Many professional web design and development companies offer social media management (especially ones that include other website marketing strategies such as SEO and pay per click advertising), so you may be able to get a good package deal up front if you’re developing or redeveloping your website.
Do you have anything to add about developing a social media strategy? Leave your feedback in the comments below.