Participating in social media today requires thought, planning and most of all – creativity. Some people skip the first two and jump right into the creative element. While I won’t discourage great ideas – I will say that it’s really important to spend the time working out the Why, the What and the Who…before jumping into the How.
I often get these questions/statements from people looking for help with their social media:
- Shelley, I don’t know who I’m talking to
- Which platforms do I need to be on?
- I have no idea what to say – my mind is blank as I stare at the blinking cursor
You need to take a step back (the ‘Why’ & ‘Who’)
If you are resonating with any of those questions or statements, then my biggest advice is that, from where I’m standing, you have not yet done the work on reviewing who your ideal customer/client is.
Even if you think you have – I promise you, you haven’t. With social media and content marketing in general today – your target customer/client (avatar) exercise needs to go pretty deep. While big brands do this in ways I can’t even describe to you as it boggles my mind. For smaller businesses today – it has become crucially important for you to properly DOCUMENT a fleshed-out avatar. This will give you an immediate edge when your main objective is engagement on social media (or at the very least opening up a dialogue).
The other elephant in the room to tackle is WHY. What are your broad business objectives? How do these filter-down into your marketing plan? And then…how do these drill-down into specific social media objectives?
Basically, you need to be looking at which business objectives social media can help to support over time. These may change – but you need a starting point.
Purpose of an Avatar Exercise (‘Who’ you are talking to)
In our Social Media Strategy workshop – I actually do this exercise with you in detail (so you can go back to the office and repeat it for any further avatars). The reason why it’s so important to go back and revisit who your ideal customer is – is so that you become very, very clear about who they are, what are they interested in, what motivates them or even what demotivates them. We spend a lot of time doing this in the workshop – and really dig deep. We even get into – what are the kinds of questions they ask you (at different points in their journey with you).
Once you have all of the detail nailed down – this will help to decide which platforms you need to be on (it may be related to specific avatars or to specific products/services you have). It will also give you a high-level view of the themes of content that will be pertinent to this avatar.
Which platforms should you be on?
In general, I would always advise small businesses to have at least one of the top 3 as one of their main interaction platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) – but today, it is really about watching where your audience most hangs out and engages. It may mean (depending on your business) – that you need to also add Instagram or Pinterest to that mix.
Remember that social media is NOT just about ‘marketing’ – it’s very much about communication. So – this means that while you will be doing a lot of relationship marketing, there is an element whereby your customers/clients will be expecting you to be able to communicate with them as well. This could be for complaints, support questions, information requests, enquiries on products/services, etc. You need to be thinking a multi-channel approach – which blends nicely into your operating procedures as well as your marketing and comms strategy.
We talk about the different platforms and pro’s and con’s in the Social Media Strategy session, but also in much more detail in the Improve your Social Media Engagement Workshop (with Heather Kynnersley).
Content – a steady stream of ideas (the ‘What’)
Once your avatar exercise is complete – I promise you will have an enormous list of ideas for the next 12 months, as well as a good repeatable framework for the following years too. It is key to always think about WHO you are creating content for – before you do it, and before you post it.
Let’s be honest – your audience doesn’t want to hear about how fantastic you are, why they should buy from you or all the features of your new product. They want to hear stories. Stories that grab their imagination about:
- how it would be to work with you (by hearing from others who have worked with you);
- how those benefits of that product could change their lives (by hearing from customers who already have used the product);
or whatever will grab their interest more than dry marketing/sales tactics!
You will never run out of ideas for content when you know why and who you are creating the content for.
Did that help? If you want more – then perhaps you need to come along to our full day, value packed Social Media Strategy Workshop (read about what we cover). We work through all of these things together in the room – where you can not only get my direct advice and feedback, but you also get the collaboration in the room to help with ideas.