Where does your audience spend its time online?
Do you know, or are you guessing?
As search engines continue to evolve and AI-generated content floods the market, people will become more skeptical of written content they find online.
This will make social media even more important than it is today.
Social platforms will be the place to meet your audience, deliver value, and build trust.
But which platforms?
You’ve got limited resources, and you need to channel your effort towards platforms that deliver results. To do this, you need to know where your audience spends its time. There’s no use spreading yourself thin trying to focus on all social networks at once.
So, step one to social media success is understanding your buyers and their online habits.
Here’s how you can do it.
Understand how your customers use social media
To make sure you don’t waste your time on the wrong platforms, you need to know how your audience uses social media — as well as the mindset associated with each platform. (For example, while your audience might be on LinkedIn, that might not be the right platform for your brand of craft vodkas, say.)
To get the insights you need, use the tactics below:
Talk to customers. This goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people skip it. The best people to tell you about future customers are your current customers. Ask them how they found you, how they use social media, and what they like to see from the brands they follow.
Research your competitors. Figure out where your competitors are the most active and successful on social media. See what kinds of content they share and what their engagement looks like. Note, this is not advice to copy other companies. Imitation is rarely a sound marketing strategy. However, you can learn a lot from what’s already happening on specific platforms. And you should always think about ways to do something better or differently.
Analyze your audience. Use analytics tools from your existing social media accounts to learn who follows you and why. Analyze past engagement to see what types of content resonated with your audience.
Start social listening. Tools like Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, or Sprout Social can monitor conversations around your brand, industry, and competitors. These tools help identify where conversations are happening and the tone and context of the discussions.
Monitor industry trends. You should always stay informed about broad trends in your industry. At the same time, pay attention to chances in user behavior across social platforms. At IMPACT, we love Social Media Today for keeping our finger on the pulse.
Experiment with content. As they used to say about the lottery, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” Don’t just sit on the social media sidelines. Experiment! Social platforms give almost immediate feedback about your messaging, your tone, and your point of view. Social media is ever-evolving. Don’t get stuck in a rut and miss out on great opportunities.
Engage with online communities. Social media platforms are not places to go in for the quick sell. Instead, they’re places to provide value, engage with people, and be a part of a community. If your audience spends time on a particular Facebook Groups page, you should spend time there too. If a particular community doesn’t exist, start one! But do it for the community, not for the bottom line. Selling will come, but only if connection comes first.
This is important: Don’t think of these seven things as “steps”. If you do, you’ll think that you can move through them and be done.
Instead, think of them as things you do constantly, forever refining and improving your approach.
Develop your social media strategy
What will you do with this information? Campaigns? Partnerships? Paid advertising trials?
Once you know how your audience uses social media, you can open up the whole playbook. But remember this: People go on social sites because they enjoy them. They connect with friends, catch up on news, and follow their favorite brands and celebrities. If they encounter an off-tone sales pitch, the experience gets ruined.
Your goal with any social media marketing should be to provide value and build community. So, be funny, be helpful, be empathetic. Don’t be pushy or annoying.
The most effective social media marketing for your business
Identifying where your audience spends their time on social media involves more than just following the latest trends or joining the newest platforms.
It requires a strategic approach that includes understanding audience habits, conducting research, and experimenting with content.
When you find your workhorse platforms, make it a point to spend time there. But do it like a real person. Don’t just blast out posts and hope to go viral. Follow other accounts, comment on other people’s posts, and join conversations.
This way, you’re integrated into the community, building trust with a wide audience of potential customers.