1. Who Are You Communicating With?
You decide to use social media in your business. But you’re unsure what to do next? Start by asking: who are you communicating with? The answer to this question will help you decide: 1) What social networks to use. 2) What content to produce.
Let’s say you own a ski equipment shop. The first step in using social media is deciding who you want to connect with. You choose your customers. Your reason? You already pay for advertising, but increasing your visibility couldn’t hurt…
The next question to ask is: how can you reach your customers? Try to find out what social networks your customers use. Facebook and Twitter are often a must in today’s social media.
Lastly, what are your customers are interested in? As a ski shop owner, you know they have at least one thing in common: they ski!! Your content should usually be ski-related. You can write about ski equipment, skiing tips, snow conditions, etc. Anything that would be interesting to skiing enthusiasts.
2. Create Value For Your Followers
Next, we need to create value. Whether you are blogging, tweeting, pinning, or facebook-ing, it’s important to always think about your audience.
In point 1, we learnt what our customers will find interesting. But we need to make sure we’re also providing value. To do so, you need to monitor both yourself and others.
Monitoring yourself: It’s not all about broadcasting. Please don’t constantly talk about your business on social media. A post here and there about a ski shop sale may be interesting and valuable to your customers. But over time, constant broadcasting can come off as self-indulgent. You won’t be creating value for your audience, and you may lose followers.
Monitoring others: Creating value for your followers also means producing original content. If many others are posting or tweeting a particular idea, please don’t follow the pack. Try to add to the conversation, or talk about something else.
3. Time Your Posts and Social Updates
So much content is produced every day. It’s easy for your message to get lost. The question to ask is: when are your followers most likely to use social media? Daytime? Evenings? Weekends? 2 AM?
Determining when your audience uses social media will help maximize your exposure. Individuals look at the most recent content posted. You want to post your content right before their peak viewing times.
So how do you figure this out? In the ski example: think about the type of customers that frequent your store. How old are they? Do they seem to be in school? Have full-time jobs? Work weekends?
From these questions, you can hypothesize what times are best. Experiment and monitor the results. The more your post is liked, shared, or re-tweeted, the more likely you’re on the right track.
4. Frequency Of Social Media Updates
How frequently should you post? This depends on the type of business you own. Is your business seasonal in nature? In our ski shop example, they would post more frequently in winter months, than in summer.
The key is to ask: How much content does my audience want? During winter, the ski shop’s audience would be happy to read multiple posts on the topic. However, during summer, their focus is elsewhere.
When trying to decide on frequency, keep in my that your audience appreciates quality. Don’t post so much that your content suffers.
5. Build Relationships With Your Audience
Lastly, it’s important to build relationships with your audience. Find ways to encourage participation. Create calls to action. The goal is to create a sense of community. You want to feel connected to your followers, and that only comes with reciprocal communication.
Comments on your blog, replies to your tweets, and likes on posts are a few of the ways to measure community participation.
But remember, try to keep it authentic. Building relationships doesn’t come from contests and prizes. Your audience should want to be there.
So I ask, what’s important to you when using social media?
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