As more businesses look to get involved in social media, many others still remain unsure that it’s the best investment of their time. While some brands have realised significant benefits, a number of those also have dedicated resources managing their social presence, making it hard to estimate your own prospective success – if your comparison is a large corporation that has a whole social media team in place, how do you know of the same will work on a smaller scale?
So what’s the best way to determine if social media is for you? How do you get an accurate idea of possible return on investment specific to your business? Here are a few questions worth asking which might help clarify the best way forward for your brand.
1. Who do you want to reach?
You know who your target consumers are, the people you need to get your business material in front of – take a moment to get down to the specifics of who they are. Is it HR managers? CIOs? Small business managers? Make a list of the people you would like to get in contact with, note down the companies you want to reach, formulate groups of places and people for your marketing – even if it’s general terms like ‘people who like camping’, that’s fine, you just need an idea of who you’re aiming for, who forms the primary audience for your business.
2. Are they active on social media?
If you’re not overly social media savvy, you may need the assistance of someone who is, but what you need to do is to work out whether your target audience is active on social. The easiest way to do this is to searches on each platform. Look up the keywords noted on your list – like ‘camping’ – and search by people or profiles using Twitter search, Facebook’s Graph Search, LinkedIn’s advanced search functions and Google+ to locate all the people mentioning your desired terms (you can also use each platform’s ad targeting functions to get an overview of potential audience, as detailed here). Specify further with geographic searches by including the relevant city name in your search (e.g. ‘camping Melbourne’) or by using advanced search commands in Twitter ( e.g. ‘camping near:Melbourne within:15km’). The more specific you can get, the better, as you can narrow down to precise contacts and people. You can then ascertain the potential size of your active audience on each platform and analyse their profiles to get an idea of whether you might be able to connect with them based on their online participation.
3. What are they talking about?
By assessing their profiles, you can get an idea of what they’re using social media for and how and where they’re interacting. You can find out what sort of questions they’re asking, how they engage with their online communities. More importantly, you can get a sense of how you might be able to connect and make them aware of your business. You always need to tread carefully in how you reach out – you don’t want to go in pitching products out of the blue – but what you want to find is a way to create a relationship with the contact. Ideally, you want to find a way your products and services can help solve a problem for them. Social media is about communicating, finding ways to be of assistance and create community around your brand by becoming a part of your consumers’ world. In researching target profiles, you’re assessing whether there’s a way you could help them and form a partnership of mutual benefit. Have a look at what blogs they read, what content they share, communities and groups they’re a part of, questions they’re asking.
Are you getting ideas for how your brand could be relevant to this person or business?
Are you thinking of ways you might be able to connect?
This initial groundwork takes time, but if you’re considering putting more money into your social media presence, it’s worth taking a moment to get an understanding of the landscape you’re entering into. Social media monitoring is also another great step, and recommend for any business considering establishing or increasing their social presence, as you can get a much better idea of what’s being discussed in your industry overall, but asking these three questions, querying the data available to get a better idea of what you might be able to achieve in social media, is a great way to better inform yourself and your decisions on behalf of your brand.