Social media has changed the communications landscape. We are now able to directly interact with our consumers, partners and collaborators on a moment’s notice. It has been an incredible shift – but it’s also become incredibly overwhelming.
There are 2.32 billion users on Facebook, 1 billion users on Instagram, 321 million users on Twitter and 250 million users on Pinterest. While this kind of social media usage presents a greater opportunity for brands to engage with their audience, it also leaves a lot of room for error.
To engage a meaningful social media campaign, the first thing you have to do is find your audience. The below steps highlight three key best practices to help companies hit a social media home run.
1. Defining Your Audience
First things first: who do you want to talk to? Knowing who your audience is may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s not as easy as you might think. For example, you might think that your audience is other tech companies that your product could enhance or complement – and you would be correct – but an audience goes well beyond those direct targets. You also must engage intervening publics, such as media, key government officials, respected entrepreneurs, product influencers and other high-profile thought-leaders. These can provide powerful third-party validation and can help carry your message – and make your messaging more impactful.
2. Knowing Your Audience
Second, discover what makes your audience tick. Social listening is a valuable practice that can help you keep a finger on the pulse of your audience and more effectively tailor your messaging for maximum engagement. While there are a number of paid tools that can provide social listening insights, we believe there is no better way to understand a community than organically monitoring online chatter. At HCG, we build custom lists to help our team monitor a target community’s trending hashtags, shared posts and thought-leaders.
3. Engaging in the Conversation
Now that you know your audience and understand their priorities, it’s time to get social. Authenticity is a must. Users want to know that you genuinely care about their community and that you aren’t using your profile purely for self-centered reasons. Through leveraging your research and observations, you can tailor your content to meaningfully engage with your community and effectively spread your message. For example, you may have discovered that your target community engages with three hashtags – make sure to include those in your post. A key thought-leader may have shared an article that validates your company’s strategy – give it a retweet. Strategies like these are ways of demonstrating an authentic, active interest in your community.
Knowing your audience is just one of many social media “musts” – but it’s an important step to get your efforts pointed in the right direction. Stay tuned for more social media tips – and be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.