In the past handful of years, social media and digital media has gone from a new-age novelty to an essential part of any effective communications strategy. As a new college grad during the beginning of this boom, and a product of the proud “MySpace generation” (fortunately my profile no longer exists, sorry folks), this shift has proven to be a fascinating opportunity.
With the vast majority of organizations embracing the power of this new medium for content distribution, there is still one consistently daunting question: “Where do I start?” One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make with social content marketing is operating without a targeting strategy. With the number of new social networks expanding exponentially on what seems like a daily basis, how do you determine where your brand should build their social media home? Three key steps will set you on the right path:
Identify your Audience
Different networks have different users. Every new social media network that finds its niche further segments what, at one point, was a much more universal audience. Now more than ever it’s beneficial to identify where your target audience and current community spend their time online.
Facebook, which started as a college-age only network, now spans nearly all generations. 30% of Facebook’s audience is within the 25-34 age range, and its user base is growing with baby boomers and older generations as well. As for younger audiences, in 2015 over 60% of graduating high school seniors reported using the new mobile king, Snapchat, on a daily basis.
Identify your Message
There’s a time and a place for every content strategy. Outside of just age, some networks can skew towards different interests and serve different functions. Out-of-place content will fall on deaf ears, but with potential negative brand impact.
Is your message geared towards trade publications and industry professionals? LinkedIn may be your new best friend. Are you more focused on building a following through humorous brand pieces? Facebook and Twitter might be a better bet. No one wants to be the brand that posts memes on LinkedIn or dissertations on Facebook.
Other communities can skew even more niche in their specific community interests. Networks like Tumblr and Pinterest tend to focus more on the creative sectors, while the audience on Facebook and Twitter can be much more diverse.
Identify your Format
Each network also specializes in different types of content. Part of what may draw different niches to social networks is the type of content being shared and how it is presented. Outside of subject matter, different networks find success with different content formats. Making sure that what you publish is optimized for your chosen network is just as important as targeting your audience.
Facebook is generally a somewhat even mix of photos, videos and text, while Twitter is largely a text and image-based content platform. Instagram, on the other hand, is designed exclusively to publish image and video-based content. Optimizing and adopting your message to the unique style of each platform is one of the best ways to maximize your engagement.
Looking for help finding your social home? Let’s chat: [email protected]
Ryan is the Director of Digital Services at RDW Group. Living his career on the digital frontier since ‘poking’ was social currency, he is ever on the pulse of the integrated mindset. Outside the office he can be found running silly distances to the beats of electronic music, capturing life through a camera lens, and soaking in the hop cologne at RI’s bountiful local breweries.