Initiating and maintaining an online community via social media for your brand is becoming more complicated by the day. Now that social media has become part of our routines, our feeds are saturated with content that we could not possibly fully consume. Some of us have built personal networks where we’re following thousands of accounts. How, as a brand, can we make sure our message is seen by the maximum potential number of relevant users?
In the biz, social media platform strategy is quite simply how branded social media platforms interact with each other. What social media platform is most dominant, orienting your content strategy across all of your media channels? How is your brand ensuring that it is keeping the conversation going and participating in the online community? How is your brand fielding requests, inquiries, and grievances online? Is there even a place that your customers can go to do so?
Your platform strategy on social media should be determined before your content strategy or anything else. Different types of content are needed for each different social media platform, and it is important to know the scope of your social media program before you actually take to executing it. For community managers, efficiency is key. Social media communities are best managed when the moderator has a daily routine of checking for interactions and engagement, responding publicly to said engagement, and keeping a pulse on your brand’s competitors on social media. This is all in addition to actually publishing content and promoting the brand. Keeping your chosen social media platforms narrow in number but deep in breadth (frequent, valuable, relevant content on fewer platforms) is necessary for success. As it is important to keep at least a placeholder account on all popular platforms, actively managing only a few (at least at first) will drive profit and affinity for your brand and optimize your investment in social media.
1) What social media platforms resonate best with my intended audience?
Facebook is a given. Every age range and demographic now has a solid representation on Facebook, and it is the first place people will go on social media to find your brand. But where do the people in your target audience live and interact online? Looking to reach women? Pinterest. Generation X’ers? LinkedIn and Twitter. Millennials? Instagram and Snapchat. Gen Z’ers? Snapchat, Vine, and Periscope.
2) How much are we willing to invest?
Social Media is free, but running it professionally is not. Whether your brand is best suited to operate social media in-house through an on-site community manager or if you hire an agency like Big Idea to manage your online presence, you should be prepared to allocate resources toward it. Social Media is an essential marketing investment in 2016, but it’s all a matter of what kind of resources you have to dedicate. This isn’t just about paying someone to manage it, either. It’s also about what kind of brand material is available to generate digital content to populate your feeds and what kind of advertising dollars you’re willing to put towards optimizing your posts or advertising your business on social media.
With users being inundated by the organic content in their feeds in addition to paid marketing on social media, the painful truth is that only a handful of your audience will actually see your content if all you do is simply publish it. Cross promoting it via other platforms and tactfully using hashtags can help, but the best way to make sure your intended audience sees your posts is by “boosting” them. This is a feature available on Facebook and Twitter, platforms that allow you to select the exact demographics of users that will see your post. A relatively small investment of just $20 per post can put it in front of tens of thousands of users and increase engagement on your posts exponentially. Even if the engagement doesn’t result in page likes/followers, it proves to other users who are actively engaged in your community that your content is valuable and worth following.
The bottom line is this: if you have someone that you can dedicate to social media or are able to hire an agency, great. If not, the person handling social media in addition to other duties will only be able to fully manage just one or two platforms at most.
3) What resources do we have available to populate our social media channels with content?
It is important to take inventory of what digital and physical resources are currently available around your brand to turn into publishable social media content, as well as what the sources of that content are. A successful social media program requires a calendar, generally 90 days out, with instances of planned content that align with your brand’s messaging goals. Each platform has it’s unique characteristics of what specs optimized content should fit within, and therefore posts must be prepared ahead of the time they are published. Gathering these assets early is key, even if they need to be adjusted later.
Keeping the available existing content in mind, turn next to the sources of that content. Will these sources continue to produce content, such as your brand’s cultural imagery, white papers/reviews on your brand or your offerings, and other things that your audience will find interesting for the foreseeable future? It is up to the community manager to repurpose and package content appropriately for each platform, but it is important to make a plan of where content will come from over the life of each platform and how it will be managed.
Big Idea is a fully-integrated boutique advertising and marketing agency in New York City. We help companies find a brand voice that resonates with consumers for attention-getting creative that delivers real results.