Step 1: Define Your ObjectivesWhat “return” do you want to see by using social media? If you sell a product, you may want social media to bring you more sales revenue. If you want to sell more online, your objective might be to increase web traffic through social media. Your service-based business might need new leads from potential clients filling out contact forms. No matter what your business, you must clearly define what success looks like. If you aren’t clear on the return you’re trying to achieve, you’ll never come close to measuring the impact of the time and money you invest in social media.
Step 2: Identify Your AudienceOnce you know what you’re trying to achieve, you need to clearly identify who your audience is through your social channels. Some businesses seek to engage all their market segments online. Others have a particular client or customer in mind that they’d like to engage. It’s important to know who you’re trying to reach so that you invest your time and money in the right channels. You might have the best Pinterest strategy out there, but if your customers are 18-25 year old men, you’re not likely to see results. Think about where your audience already spends time and meet them there. It’s much easier to engage with people in the places where they’re already used to spending time instead of trying to change their behavior.
Step 3: Develop Your ContentOnce you know what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach, you can begin to think about what type of content will support your goals and resonate with your audience. Too many companies skip straight to step 3 and gloss over the first two steps. They end up making two mistakes by skipping ahead.
Mistake 1: The company that focuses on objectives and neglects its audience will share content that is overly aggressive, sales-oriented and self-promotional. This is the company that only talks about its products, never asks engaging questions and uses social media as if it were a television commercial. This type of content doesn’t engage fans and over time, they’ll either tune out or opt out of receiving your updates.
Mistake 2: The company that focuses only on its audience will share exciting and engaging information. Fans and followers love reading the updates, watching the videos and participating in the discussions. But if this content is merely entertaining and not helping achieve any goals, there will be no return on investment. In order to see a ROI from social media, the content needs to both support your goals and provide value to your audience.