One of the most important considerations for your small business’s social media plan is picking the best channels and times to connect with your customers. In this video tutorial, digital strategist Martin Waxman explains how to make your social media marketing customer-centric by learning how and when your customers are using the platforms.
- [Voiceover] One of the most important things to consider when developing your business' social media plan is picking the best channels and times to connect with your customers. In order to do that successfully, you have to understand the behavior etiquette for each platform. It's a bit like traveling in a foreign country. Even with the best intentions, your actions can make you seem like a boorish tourist. We're gonna show you how to pick your social media channels based on the ones your customers are using, and where they're most likely to engage with you.
You can find out a lot about customer social media habits by listening and seeing where, when, and how they're most active. Observe whether they're using social media personally to connect with friends and family, or if they also interact with brands. Maybe they use it to gather product information or get customer service when they have a problem and expect a speedy response, even after hours. Get familiar with your customers' behavior by watching what they do in the social media wild.
You can also learn a lot about your customers' social media preferences by asking them directly. There are many ways to accomplish this. If you have a mailing list, you can ask them to complete a brief survey. You could write a short article in your company's e-newsletter and ask for comments. Does your company have a discussion forum with an active community? That could be a good place to start a conversation. In a bricks-and-mortar location, you can have your staff inquire.
You can also check your competitors' channels. Because most social media's public, it's easy to see if your competitors' posts are getting comments and shares, or maybe they're just talking to themselves. Determine whether or not their content is working, and if not, figure out what you could do differently. Knowing that, which platform should you be on? Facebook's got more than a billion and a half users, so you should definitely be there, or should you? You're a B2B company and LinkedIn specializes in business, so that's a no-brainer, isn't it? You're a restaurant and your food presentation is amazing.
You should be all over Instagram, right? Isn't Twitter the best place to share quick updates and company news? The answer to all of these is it depends. It depends on what your customer's looking for and whether you can be helpful in a non-spammy way. While your post can be self-promotional some of the time, most of your content should be focused on providing value, not selling. The Hootsuite Blog suggests businesses consider the rule of thirds, 1/3 of your content should be about yourself, 1/3 should be sharing other peoples' posts, and a 1/3 should go to building relationships for your brand.
Whichever social media platforms you choose, remember you have to earn your customers' trust by showing and doing, not just telling, and that doesn't happen overnight.
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