This post outlines ten questions you should ask yourself before using social media. Whether you are a social media beginner or a seasoned pro, the following questions and actionable steps will help you achieve success with social media.
1. Who Am I Speaking To?
Before you start planning your social media, you need to know who your audience is. To create an experience that connects directly with your audience, you have to get to know them, from their psychological behaviors to their demographics.
Create audience personas that don’t just describe your audience’s demographics, but also their challenges, dreams, hopes, and fears. You should know where your audience hangs out online, and what communities inform, inspire, and influence them.
Download my audience persona template here
You can identify who you are reaching and whether they fall within your target audience by finding data on your existing audience. You can do this with Google Analytics and built-in audience analytics features like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics.
2. Which Social Media Platforms Should I Choose?
Armed with information on who makes up your audience, the next step is to determine which social media platforms they use and direct your efforts accordingly. This doesn’t mean that you have to be everywhere at once. Do your research to determine where best to focus your social media efforts to be successful.
Use Surveys (e.g. Survey Monkey), Polls (PollDaddy; Facebook; Twitter), and publicly available reports to match your audience demographic to the social networks they use.
3. What Do I Want To Achieve With Social Media?
Goals and objectives guide every decision and tactic in your strategy. By setting clear goals, you kickstart the process of collecting data and tracking metrics, so your future marketing will be data-driven.
Goals should be as specific and trackable as possible. The more detailed your goal, the easier it will be to see if you’ve accomplished it. Use the SMART goal-setting model, which means specific, measurable, and achievable within a certain timeframe. Also, set benchmarks so you can see what’s working and what’s not so you can put more effort into what’s working.
4. What Is My Social Media Budget?
Social media requires money and man-hours. It’s up to you how you allocate them. There’s a misconception that social media is free. It’s true that all the major platforms are free, but most offer premium features you might want to check out.
It’s a good idea to budget for paid advertising, particularly if you want to make an impact on Facebook, where organic reach has steadily declined over the past few years.
5. How Much Time Can I Give To Social Media?
Time is another cost you need to factor in to the social media equation. To achieve results and credibility you have to be prepared to devote time regularly to producing and promoting content and engaging with your audience.
Ask yourself how much of a time commitment can you afford for social media? Will you concentrate on just one platform and do this really well? Do you need to hire some social media help?
The good news is that there are many ways you can actually save time and become more productive in managing your time online.All it takes is some organization, a few social media tools, and a dash of creativity.
Read Ten Tried and Tested Time Saving Tips For Social Media for ideas.
6. What Type Of Content Will I Create?
Your answer to the previous question may influence the type of content you will create for social media. Do you have time to write regularly for a blog? Would it be better to make short videos for YouTube or to communicate through a livestream broadcast?
You also need to keep in mind the content that works best on the platforms you have chosen – for example, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest require high-quality visuals (and increasingly this means video) to stand out. Whichever type of content you intend to create, quality and consistency are more important than quantity.
Read How to Create a Winning Content Strategy for more content tips.
7. What Are My Competitors Doing On Social Media?
You can learn a lot by taking some time to observe what your competitors are doing online. Which social media platforms do they use? What type of content do they share? How does their audience respond to them? What are they doing really well? What aren’t they currently doing that you could do well?
Take Action! Compare your competitors’ social footprint and content against your own. How have they chosen to use brand images? How many followers/likes do they have? How often do they post? What types of posts do they create? What is engagement like for each of these post types? What aren’t they doing?
Recommended Reading How To Conduct A Competitor Audit on Social Media
8. Who will be responsible for social media?
When developing your social media strategy, it’s key to clearly define roles and understand who will manage, monitor, and engage on each account. You may wish to take full responsibility for maintaining your social media presence, but if you are giving the task to someone in your organization, or hiring outside help, you need to ensure they are the right person for the job.
There are many different roles which make up a social media marketing job (for example content creation, e-mail marketing, social media management etc.). Clearly define the roles and outline the responsibilities of this position.
Recommended Reading: Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Social Media Manager?
9. How will I monitor social media?
From a marketing perspective, social media monitoring will help you determine the impact on your product, service or brand, and if required, make adjustments to your communication, marketing or sales plans. Responding in real time and resolving issues around your brand should they arise, strengthens public perception that your focus is strongly centred on customer satisfaction.
There are many free and paid monitoring tools, with new services being added continually, which will help you track the metrics relevant to your brand across the web. The tools vary in scope and range across a number of sites, real-time or delayed searching, sophistication of analytics, flexibility of data presentation, integration with other applications, and cost. Which one you choose will depend on your budget and the level of analytics you wish to achieve.
10. How will I measure social media success?
How will you know if you achieve your social media goals? To determine how effective your social media efforts are, you will need to measure your results. Understand and track the metrics that matter to the core of the business and the bottom line. Social media metrics should always be tied to your overall business goals. Go beyond vanity metrics which merely serve as an ego-boost. Instead, ask if these metrics make an impact on your bottom line.
Take Action: Use platform native tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, third-party tools, and measurement of social traffic and conversion with Google Analytics to track and measure your progress.