One of the first things you'll learn from Social Media Marketing 101 is that conversations are essential. You're supposed to ask your followers questions to make them feel important, increase engagement, and hopefully build the loyalty that keeps you in business.
What you might not realize is that there are some questions you need to ask yourself about your social media marketing. They address all the key elements of your marketing plan, from audience and resources to overall business objectives, and the answers will give you an idea of whether you're on the right track or your goals need a major facelift.
So, what are the most important questions to ask yourself?
Who is your social audience?
If your answer to this question is "anyone who likes (insert your product or service here) and has a working credit card," your social media marketing strategies will be equally broad and meaningless.
Your social audience is the group you want to appeal to with your Facebook posts and tweets. You can identify them based on age, education, job title, income level, and similar demographics (think buyer personas), but what you really need to figure out is what content they will relate to and what voice or tone you should use.
Knowing these details makes it easier for you to speak your customer's language, inspire their trust, and make them ultimately want to buy from you.
Where does your audience hang out online?
Understanding your social audience makes it easier to identify which platforms are most likely to reach them. Different social media outlets appeal to different demographics. For example:
- 75% aged 18–24 use Instagram (Statistica)
- 84% aged 25–30 use Facebook (Sprout Social)
- 37% aged 30–49 use LinkedIn (Sprout Social)
- 42% of women use Pinterest, compared to 15% of men (Statistica)
- Snapchat is the most popular network for 41% of teens (Statistica)
See what we mean?
You will have to do some research to find your social audience's favorite hangout spots. Teens and younger adults are eager to explore newer platforms, so you'll likely find them on sites like TikTok.
Bonus tip: if you're trying to reach an overseas market, plan strategies that you can deliver on WhatsApp or even country-specific platforms, like Weibo in China.
Which platforms flatter your brand?
This is a take on that old and dreaded "Does this make me look fat?" question. Some social media sites will flatter you more than others.
- If your brand is highly visual, such as a fitness studio or upscale florist, you'll get the most mileage out of Instagram or Facebook. You must use Facebook tools, Intagram tools for the best result on these platforms.
- Anything that's instructional in scope, such as fitness, meal prep, and cosmetics, will do great on YouTube, which hosts millions of video tutorials.
- If you're planning a series of sales or special offers, focus on Twitter, as it's ideal for timely content like customer service announcements and news reports.
Once you identify platforms that show your brand in its best light, start showing off. You've found the sweet spot and you've got the right audience: now it's up to you to make the most of the opportunity.
What is your content strategy?
One consumer survey found that 46% of respondents followed brands because they were inspired by the content. The best content strategies encourage conversations and sharing that can help grow your brand. So, what content will drive the most engagement with your social audience?
There are a few ways you can answer that question.
- Check your analytics. Your social media analytics can give you some insights into what's working and what isn't. Once you've pinpointed your top-performing posts or videos, identify a few common denominators and use that information to recreate new and equally compelling content.
- Use a content research tool. Tools like Buzzsumo let you input any keywords (e.g. "natural facial masks") and see relevant content that has been shared the most. A close review of the results can help you identify popular topics that you may not have covered yet. As an added bonus, the share count is divided according to networks, so you can see if a certain piece of content was more popular on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
- Check out the competition. A lot of things are proprietary, but social media marketing strategies generally aren't among them. Visit the social media profiles of your top competitors and see what content is 'liked' or shared the most. A fresh take on these ideas could work wonders.
- Ask your followers. This strategy is so simple that it's often overlooked. You can post a Facebook or Instagram poll or simply ask, "What would you like to see more of from us?" or "What's your favorite content type?"
How do you define success?
If the answer is 'more engagement' or 'greater brand awareness,' that's fine. Those are typically the top indicators of success for most social media marketing strategies. However, try diving a bit deeper.
For example, if your ultimate goal is increasing community engagement, ask yourself what that would look like to you. Is it increased traffic to your website? More likes and shares? More product or service purchases? More quality sales leads? Maybe a combination of all?
Once you've identified your goals at a micro as well as a macro level, you'll know more quickly whether a social media marketing campaign is on track and can divert or reassess if things don't appear to be working out.
Social media marketing is a powerful tool for engaging and building trust with your target audience but to make the most of it, you've got to know what you want to achieve and what the best approaches are.
By answering the simple questions above, you can boost your social media marketing and ensure that it adds value to your audience while aligning with your business goals. So get ready to have a serious conversation with yourself, and if anyone gives you a funny look, great! You've got them talking about you already.