Last month, I was on a mission to find the best Social Media Management Tool for my business. As I was playing around with the trial versions, I started to think about having an actual social media strategy. Now you may wonder "Why do I need a social media strategy?" If you're using any of these social networking platforms for business, you need to think about branding. In short, what kind of image do you want to present to the world?
A Google search will cough up countless articles on how to setup a social media business strategy. It doesn't have to be complicated. Really, it as easy as asking yourself the W5:
- Who are you sharing your message with?
- What do you want to say?
- Where are you going to communicate?
- When are you going to post?
- Why are you sharing your message?
- How are you going to communicate?
Let's look at them in turn:
Who are you sharing your message with?
I have seven blogs which represent different aspects of my business. Initially, they represented the different areas I wrote for as a Suite101 Contributing Writer. Each has a slightly different niche, although they are unified by the Greek Muses.
Sure, I could have used a single blog and organized everything with tags and categories, but I have to think about what is easier for the end user and for search engines.
Will those seeking to strike a healthy life balance want to read about my adventures in geekdom? Probably not. Will readers following Maestro's adventures in health and wellness want to hear about music practicing tips? Not likely.
Rather than have one vague, catch-all blog title, I've tried to carve a different niche and identity for each blog, right down to the title. That is something search engines like.
This helps with the ads that run on each of the blogs as well. There's no mishmash of pet accessories mixed with music theory books. Again, search engines also like that the keywords in the ads match the keywords in my blog entries.
What do you want to say?
Some businesses communicate when they have sales. Others share user tips, while others share their portfolio.
I brainstormed about what Musespeak™ Studio wanted to share. My favourite way of brainstorming is on the floor with Crayola® markers:
From my meanderings on the web, I've noticed the folks and businesses with the strongest following have a clear sense of what they want to share. Not only that, they have a keen sense on how they want to interact with their clients and fans.
Where are you going to communicate?
There are so many social networking sites out there. There's Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linked In, etc. etc.
My strategy is three-fold. First, use what I am (somewhat) comfortable using. Second, keep in mind what my audience is using and third, determine what is the best medium for each niche that I've carved.
For instance, many of my piano students are on Facebook. The quickest way for me to get a hold of them is through FB. I wasn't keen on the idea at first but really, if I want them to get my messages, I have to use the same medium.
I see that a bunch of them, along with my fellow writers, are on Pinterest. I guess I'll have to explore that at some point.
When are you going to post?
One of my colleagues, LaDona Ahenda, introduced me to the beauty of advance scheduling posts. That way, if I feel like writing six articles in one day, I can space them out throughout the week.
Now that I'm Hootsuite Pro, I can take that to a whole new level. Not only can I schedule my blog posts, but I can schedule my tweets, article shares, meme shares and so on.
The other end of the equation is that you should time your posts to when your audience is online. It's pointless for me to post music practice tips when my students are in school. Better to schedule those posts for when they are home and (hopefully) practicing.
My piano parents tend to do their social networking later in the evening when the kids have gone to bed. Therefore, it makes sense to send messages and posts targeted to them in that timeframe.
My non-music blogs have a wider reach. It doesn't matter when I post them since there are readers worldwide. However, I try to stagger them.
Why are you sharing that message?
Everyone seems to get bombarded with spam. Not just that, I've also seen in discussion groups that people don't really like it when one person keeps posting "wily nily".
Each post has to have a purpose. Are you informing? Educating? Warning? Inspiring? Humouring? This shapes what kind of messages you send out as well. Too much of one thing can get to be a bit much.
How are you going to communicate?
Each social networking platform has their strengths and weaknesses. For example, Twitter's strength lies in those quick hits - upcoming concert announcements, anything geeky and/or quirky. It's the perfect platform to share "all things geek" and all "all things dog".
Linked In is primarily for business networking. It's a great place to share accomplishments and anything that pushes your credibility in your field.
The only network that I'm currently using that requires further thought and exploration is Google+. From what I can see, it's similar to Facebook but with what I think is an older demographic. More international users too.
I captured my initial ideas on this sheet:
With all that in mind, I began to made a spider web brainstorm of my social media strategy. As with any plan, it's dynamic and will evolve as the needs and interests of my audience changes (mine too).