Choose the Right Social Media Technologies
Take a Look at Your Defined Objectives
The social media objectives you defined will help identify which social technologies to use. For example, if you are looking to connect with your customers online and send them quick updates about your company, then Twitter and Facebook would be ideal simply because of its ability to push messages to your community instantly. If you are looking to educate your customers by posting regular articles, then creating a company blog should be your first social media priority. If you have video commercials you would like to publish online, then obviously YouTube would be your preferred portal, and so on.
Keep in mind that the social technologies you choose will need to have the features and functionalities required to help you accomplish your goals. If your company is launching a corporate blog, then you will obviously need to use a blog building platform. But if you need that blog to share and syndicate information, then you’ll have to integrate RSS and social bookmarking tools.
Likewise, if your goal is to establish brand visibility and generate awareness, then you will need a tool that tracks visitor activity and engagement. If your objective is to increase brand recognition or manage your online reputation, then you will have to consider tools that can monitor and track social mentions (32% of marketer’s worldwide look for this functionality in social tools, according to eMarketer).
Where is Your Target Audience?
The next thing to look at is where your audience is most active. This will vary depending on your industry. Think about the demographic of your target customer. Are they primarily male or female? What’s their average age group? What are some of their interests? Based on your customer demographic, determine where they are likely to converge online to communicate. This is where your market research and social media teams will collaborate. Your market researchers will define the demographic of your target audience and your social media researchers, who are now well educated, will shed light on the best social technologies to use based on user demographics.
LinkedIn is used primarily by business professionals, so if your company is a B2B enterprise, then it would be wise to create a LinkedIn group and participate in relevant discussions. On the other hand, if you operate a B2C business and your average consumers are teenagers and young adults, you might want to consider other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. There are some platforms that are appropriate for virtually every industry. For example, Yahoo! Answers is a community-driven website used to ask and answer questions on any topic. It’s the current largest knowledge-sharing community on the Internet, which means it would be a good website for your company to monitor and use to answer questions related to your industry. This will help build your online brand credibility.
Keep in mind that social technologies that are popular in one region may not have the same level of adoption in another region. Part of the job of your social media researchers is to seek out this information and make appropriate recommendations for your company.
Industries Most Active with Social Media
Regardless of which social technologies you choose to use, the important thing to remember is that your company should be incorporating social media into your overall strategy period. Staying connected is imperative especially since many companies, including your competitors, are likely using or planning to use social media.
According to eMarketer, 72% of those in the education industry are already implementing a social media strategy and 17% are planning on doing so. Meanwhile, 71% of communications companies use social media, while 16% are in the planning stages. Sixty-six percent of service companies currently leverage social media, while 64% of retailers/wholesalers use it.
Other industries mentioned in the study that currently use social media are financial services, health, manufacturing, government and energy. It’s obvious that social media marketing is a strategy many industries are implementing.
Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve selected the right social technologies to leverage, the next thing you need to do is develop a content marketing strategy. Determine what type of information you will communicate to your audience, the frequency of your communication and how you will respond to inquiries coming in.
Content is critical to the success of your social media strategy. People will follow, connect with and subscribe to organisations that provide valuable content on a regular basis. They will interact with your company when they feel provoked to engage with your brand.
Therefore, regardless of the channels you use to interact with your audience, you need to have content defined and scheduled. Keep in mind that your content must flow with your overall objectives, brand personality and organisational voice.
Evaluate Existing Content and Repurpose
Take a look at your existing resources. Perhaps you currently have some articles, whitepapers or reports that can be repurposed. As long as the information is relevant, recent and beneficial to the public, you can easily include it in your content marketing strategy. Avoid using content from your website or sales materials. Website content is already online and is likely stagnant. Content from your marketing brochures will probably be too sales focused, which will deter your audience. Remember: content marketing is about education –so no hard selling.
Brainstorm Topic Ideas and Create New Content
More than likely, new content must be created, which starts with a brainstorming session on potential topic ideas that would best resonate with your audience. To get the creative juices flowing, ask yourself the following questions.
- What are the features and benefits of my product / service?
- What are some challenges that customers experience with my product / service?
- What are some commonly asked questions that I receive from my customers?
The answers to these questions will produce topic ideas for your content. For example, let’s say you operate a hair salon. Below are potential topics based on answers to the above questions:
- Top 5 reasons to freshen your hairstyle this season
- Haircutting tips to suit your face shape
- How to style your hair like a professional stylist
That’s just scratching the surface. Several other topics could emerge as your marketing team brainstorms other content ideas that will help your consumers. The key is to help them solve a problem, clarify confusion or answer a question they may have.
TIP: Keep in mind that in your content marketing strategy, you will also need to outline the channels, frequency and syndication methods. Then ensure that your social media team understands and sticks to this schedule.
Lastly, remember to track, monitor and respond to comments made by your readers.