There are many things that we do in business on instinct without really knowing why. It’s just the way it has always been done – right? You can often find yourself completing tasks, systems and processes without a clue why you do them the way you do.
However, your social media activity should not fall into this category. Part art, part science, social media needs a strategy and that strategy needs to be assessed and reassessed. What works today may not work tomorrow.
With social media you have to keep asking questions and reviewing the outcomes. It is only by asking these questions that you will be able to adapt, modify and reach your social media goals.
In this post, I will look at the top 10 social media questions that you should ask your business.
I will then analyse each question in turn to find out just what benefits lie behind our questioning minds.
What Story Do You Need To Tell?
The companies that are winning on social media are those that are harnessing the power of storytelling. This skill is becoming increasingly important as, done well, it can achieve so many key business objectives.
Storytelling grabs the attention of your audience and holds it while, at the same time, making your business seem relatable and human. The emotional response a person has to a story will place them in a mood far more receptive to what you are offering than they would have been if you had decided to simply shout your message at them.
So think about your story. Where have you come from? What have you learned? When did you fail and how did you pick yourself up again? What experiences will your audience benefit from? Show, don’t just tell.
Who Is Your Audience?
Your story, your experience is yours and you can tell that story to develop close links with your audience. However, it is equally important to know as much as you can about that audience. Who are they? What do they need? Are you really providing an answer?
I love listening to business podcasts and one of my favourites is John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur On Fire show. John encourages all of his guests to share stories and, over the year, several key themes emerge. One of these themes is the fact that most successful entrepreneurs do not agree with the ‘build it and they will come’ approach. Instead, they approach their audience and find out what that audience wants them to build.
This difference is crucial. You don’t want to spend months developing a product that nobody wants.
It is far better to get to know your audience - by that I mean that you should really get to know your audience. Create a detailed profile of different types of audience members. Think about what they do all day and what they might do after work.
What are their pain points? This gives you an opportunity to fix them. When might they have the time to read your content? This will tell you when is best to schedule your social media posts. The more you know your audience, the stronger your social media strategy will be.
What Platform Are You Focusing On?
One of the questions that I am asked a lot is what social media platform is the best to focus on. My answer is always the same. You should be where your audience is. Don’t set your stall and expect them to come to you. If your potential client base hangs out on Twitter – that is where you should be.
Once you have developed your audience profile, you will know where best to find them on social media. Now keep in mind the wise words of Gary Vaynerchuck and view social media like a cocktail party. Take things easy, get to know people in a non-salesy manner. Help if you can and offer value. Then, go for the jab and explain why your business can make a difference.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Keep your friends close and your competition closer as the saying goes… sort of. You are, of course, well aware of the competition in your field.
Take a look at what they are doing on social media. Is it working? If so, is there something in that strategy that your business could use?
Now I don’t mean that we should all race out tomorrow and plagiarize ideas. We are talking much more broad brush here. Just keep an eye out and be aware of the industry around you. Don’t go too deep or obsess however. You need to tread your own path.
What Is Your Social Media Endgame?
Your social media strategy is not an end in itself. You should always view your work on these platforms as a way to drive people back to your own real estate – your website.
Your social media strategy should have a purpose. If you want to encourage sales, make sure that you link a photo on Facebook back to the page where people can buy it (and not just to your homepage). If you want to build your email list, create an irresistible lead magnet and tempt people with it on Twitter. If you want to capture bookings, share a video on Pinterest and link back to your booking form.
You need to know what you want to achieve from the time you spend on your social media marketing. Only then will you be able to tell if you
Who Is Responsible For Your Social Media?
You need to be strict within your business about who can post what on what social media platforms. Do not assume that this is a given. We have all seen how much damage a careless or ill-timed tweet can do.
From the start of your strategy, work out who is allowed to post on behalf of your business and who is in charge of monitoring your social media accounts. Make sure that you are covered in this way at all times. Social media does not clock off and sometimes waiting until Monday is not an option.
It is a good idea to create a social media guide for your business to help your employees to know what is appropriate content and when is best to post. Have a list of frequently asked questions and construct helpful and friendly replies in advance so that you are ready when your customers contact you.
In addition, you should have a system in place in the event that you encounter a dissatisfied customer. You often have one bite at this and if you already have a list of helpful suggestions or phrases you can (hopefully) turn a bad situation into a good one thanks to your awesome customer service.
How Much Time Can You Give?
Once you know who in your business is responsible for your social media marketing, you need to work out how much time they have to give. You need to be consistent. It is far better to be realistic and admit that you can only post once a day than start off posting many times and then drift away.
Consider using an automation tool such as Edgar or Buffer to schedule some of your posts. These tools are great time-savers.
What Content Can You Share?
A successful social media strategy does not simply involve words. Things have moved on. Now your content should include words, visuals and video if possible. You should create content and also share relevant content from others.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to do this as there are many online tools that can help you create stunning images for your business. In addition, a simple snap of your work space can be enough to engage with your audience.
How Will You Tell What Works?
Once you have a strategy in place, how will you tell if it is working? As I mentioned at the start, what works well on social one month may not work so well the next. Make sure that you have some way to analyse your efforts. Implement Google Analytics, for example, to monitor your progress and test different strategies until you find the one that best works for your business.
What Worries You About Social Media?
The final social media question is crucial. What worries you about social media marketing? When you sit down and think about it, this is the main barrier to your success. Once you have isolated the reasons why you feel uncomfortable, you can start work resolving them. The end result will make you stronger.
Have you asked these questions in your business? Can you think of any others that might help?
Thanks for reading! Take care, Jane x