So you’ve probably been hearing from every magazine and colleague that you absolutely must be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Pinterest for your business to have a chance at reaching today’s consumers. Before you go create a presence on every social media platform known to man, it’s important to come up with a strategy that integrates social media into your current business activities. Many people underestimate social media with the concept of it being “free”. The truth is social media marketing requires CONSTANT content generation and management for each platform your company is involved with, and every hour spent creating and managing this content is an hour that was previously used for other business activities. Keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to pursue social media.
Social Media: Where to Begin
Similar to any business decision, the first step in your company’s social media journey is research. To start, identify your target audience so you can get a better understanding of how your customers participate in the social realm. Forrester Research has a great tool to help you determine the participation of age and location segments in the social media space located here. To see what the classifications used in that tool are, see their social media ladder presentation, located here.
After you have determined how your target audience behaves within the social media realm, it is time to start listening to them. This is a crucial step in determining what your social media presence will have to accomplish to engage these customers, and where this engagement can take place.
On some social media platforms, it’s easy to find out who is talking about your company. For example on YouTube you can search for your product or brand name to find video reviews of your products and services. Another way to find what is being said about your company online is through Google Alerts (google.com/alerts), where you can receive an email any time Google picks up a new blog, web page, or article mentioning a relevant phrase or keyword. On Twitter, you can perform live searches for a word or phrase to see who is tweeting about your brand or product. Other places to look for mentions of your brand include fan groups or pages on Facebook, boards on Pinterest, and various blogs and forums around the web.
What to Look For
After looking in all of the places mentioned in the above section, you’ve probably found quite a few mentions of your company across the social web. Now you need to judge the tone of the online talk about your brand. Are your customers praising and recommending your products or complaining about your customer service or product functionality? Probably a mixture of both, but what you need to do next is try to judge whether there is an overall positive or negative perception of your brand. Whether the majority of the talk is positive or negative determines how your company should approach social media. In the next part of the Inc. Plan Social Media Series, we will look into how this tone of feedback should affect your company’s use of social media.
Have a question related to social media marketing? Leave us a comment below and we might answer it in a future article in our Social Media Series.
The Inc. Plan Social Media Series:
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