By now, marketing professionals have few doubts about the impact of social media on a brand. We've all heard the stories of some company or product going viral from a single tweet.
What we don't hear about as often is the preparation that companies do before opening their Twitter account. Like most things in your entrepreneurial journey, it's all about preparation. Don't just open social media accounts for your company without some basic first steps.
Here are five steps to take before opening your company's social media accounts:
1. Define your target audience.
You'd think this was extremely obvious but my experience tells me otherwise. Don't just open a Twitter account because you heard that that's what you're supposed to do. First, ask yourself who you are targeting with your social media efforts.
Defining a target audience is absolutely crucial not only for social media but for all of your marketing in general. How could you possibly leverage social media if you don't even know who you're talking to?
Are you interested in reaching a certain age group? People living in a certain location? Maybe it's people with a certain title in an organization. Whoever it is you're trying to reach, make sure you have total clarity on that before jumping in.
2. Figure out where your audience spends their time.
Ok, so you've figured out who you are targeting with your social media efforts. Fantastic. Now figure out where they are, so you know that you're not talking to a wall.
For example, if you're targeting a chief technical officer in an organization, TikTok is probably not the platform for you. Alternatively, if you're targeting teens, pretty sure LinkedIn would be a waste of your time.
The point is, once you figure out who you're talking to, the next thing is to figure out is where you're talking to them.
3. Make sure you have valuable content to share.
Again, this should not even have to be said, but unfortunately, I've seen one too many marketers open social media accounts for their company without having any idea what they'll be sharing. In general, content marketing is a super powerful tool, but in this case, it's an absolute must. Don't just open a new Facebook page for your company without knowing what you're going to share there.
The type of content you should be sharing is not self-promotional but rather value-oriented. In other words, give people a reason to follow you.
4. Establish an actual strategy and goal.
So what are you hoping to achieve on social media? More sales? More interest from investors? Maybe you're looking to hire talent. These are questions you absolutely must ask yourself before jumping in. The strategy and goal will deeply impact the type of content or engagement you're going to be producing on your accounts.
For example, if you're looking to attract talent, maybe a visual platform like Instagram where you can share company events and culture would be the right platform for you. If that is indeed your goal, the type of content you share will be very specifically tailored to attract talent. If, however, your goal is to attract investors, maybe you'll focus more on the size of the market and the opportunity.
To truly get the most out of social media, make sure you know what you're doing and how you're going to do it before jumping in.
5. State a very clear metric of success.
So you defined an audience, figured out where they hang out, began to produce content to share, and built a strategy. Now what? Before you start the actual tweeting and posting, define how you'll know if you're succeeding or failing.
Are you measuring success by follower count? Maybe it's engagement, like replies or shares? Perhaps it's the traffic driven to your website?
If you open your company accounts and start posting without first defining a metric of success, you'll be shooting in the dark without knowing if you're on the right path to success
The bottom line is that it's true that social media can be tremendously effective and impactful but don't kid yourself that you can just jump in without preparing yourself in advance.