The Four Pieces of Your Social Media Pie
Social media serves as an ideal platform for visual content – when meticulously executed. Before you jump in to or as you’re revamping your strategy, consider your social media activities in these four pieces:
Platform – Start with legwork on the demographics of social networks. Much of this data is publicly available or easily attained by request. For example, a fishing equipment retailer may not find the female-user-heavy Pinterest audience valuable, opting instead to produce high-value content for a more male-engaged platform like Facebook or Twitter. However, activities like posting pictures of big customer catches, short videos and detailed information on advanced equipment, and images of great fishing spots are positive brand builders that platforms like Pinterest or Instagram serve well and can be executed with little effort.
Grade platforms against your target audience: how many of them are there? how much time do they spend there? how actively engaged are they? As you launch accounts, list out the types of content you plan to produce and which platform offers the most value. Have a plan to invest in the platforms you rank highest for engagement. Earned media is hard to generate. Kick-start your socializing with paid media from ads and sponsored content to build your audience. Reinforce branding elements in screen names, profile images, avatars, and other static account elements. Avoid complex letter/number/symbol combinations and use plain, simple text to keep search engines happy.
Organization – Document your overall social media mission statement, then tweak per platform based on reach and audience. Ask yourself: Are we here for more sales? Looking to build name recognition? Establishing thought leadership? Let this guide where and what kind of content you distribute. If LinkedIn is best for sales prospecting, company picnic pictures aren’t the best use of the medium.
Address curation methods and resources to take the heavy lifting of content creation off of the team while keeping your feeds full of content. Tinker with posting frequency, dayparting, and copy testing to find the right blend for your unique audience.
Establish a social media calendar to help tie together events like product releases, in-person events, and seasonal activities and to keep other teams aware of activities and opportunities. Streamline team processes to enable fast reaction to comments, breaking events, and trending hashtags for real-time relevance to your audience.
Content – Create and curate content against the strategy. Brainstorm content that fits your audience, platform, and business goals. Watch vendor budgets against project goals. If you pay a bundle for a flashy video, have a strategy to leverage it to the fullest.
Find ways to extend each piece of content to offer value for each platform. For example: take a webinar recording, transcribe and format it into a whitepaper, build a deck or interactive to support the whitepaper, compose a series of blog posts based on the whitepaper, and pull the audio into a podcast file. Prospects can consume it in multiple ways and you have content formats suitable for a number of platforms: SlideShare, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on.
Be conscious of content specs, but also of your audience’s goals. Pinterest users aren’t likely to download an architecture whitepaper but might engage with collages of cool buildings with which your firm has participated. Use a 3:1 ratio of three posts of value to them, one post about you.
Distribution – Ask for follows and connections everywhere – on your website, email signatures, print materials, etc. A large audience means more eyeballs on your content and more opportunities for audience building through shares and likes. Segment delivery where possible to send certain updates to users based on interest level and stage in buying cycle.
Research the tools you need to benchmark, observe results, and evaluate success. Integrate social listening and automation tools for a dashboard view of your social standing and status scheduling management. Keep your ears open for the rapidly evolving display, privacy, and other vital platform changes that impact how your content is presented.