Communicating on social media requires both strategy and engaging material.

Why are you on social media?

Using social media is a given, for both private individuals and companies. But for many it is unclear why, in which media and with what objective. Communicating and marketing yourself on social media requires both strategy and engaging material.

A week ago I met a friend and former colleague on the way to work. We both stood there freezing on the platform with our mobile phones in hand. She explained that she was winding down her presence on social media. “It takes up too much time and gives too little back,” she said.

Her social media strategy is too resource-intensive and does not generate a sufficient return-on-investment (ROI), I thought.

In the future, she would choose channels and accounts carefully. Focus on Twitter for following daily news discussions, and only open Instagram and Facebook occasionally. It sounded like a smart strategy, tailed according to her needs and resources.

Companies should think in the same way.

Not found on social media

In the Content Marketing Association’s new report “The Role Of Social In Content Marketing” Irja Howie from the EnVeritas Group stresses the importance of having a strategy for how one uses content marketing and social media. “There’s only one thing worse than not being on social media and that’s being inactive on social media,” she writes.

For companies, it’s a fact that can have costly consequences. The conclusion is that social media requires content marketing and a clear strategy.

We have probably all found discontinued blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages in the hunt for relevant information and knowledge. Some of us have also seen our fair share of unanswered posts from irate customers. These are all clear signs of a company’s social media needing resources, time and engagement. To hop onto every new media channel, without analysis or strategy, is not only pointless – it is plain stupid.

Which social media will you use? And why?

Which social media a company should use is an important yet difficult question. But it must be answered before you get started. Many parameters influence the choice of social media and none are really more important than the other. Here are the main basic questions.

Where is your audience?
Hopefully you know who your target groups and audiences are, but do you know which social media channels they use? Find out and think about what sort of communication they want.

What is my goal?
Do you use social media to drive traffic to your site? For generating business? For employee branding? For recruiting subscribers for another platform? Your goals dictate which content and which channels you should use for reaching the right audience.

What do you want to communicate?
Different social media channels are suited for different types of content. Maybe you have one audience on LinkedIn and a completely different audience on Twitter? Maybe you want to use video, images, info graphics or text? Maybe your audience is easier to engage in a specific media format?

What resources do you have?
Using social media effectively requires both good planning and a lot of time. The more channels you use, the more resources you’ll need. Consider whether you should prioritise a specific channel or if you have resources to handle more? Consider the cost of sponsoring posts if you want to achieve greater reach in specific media formats and invest in tools for scheduling and planning of content and publications.

How will I measure, follow up and analyse?
Is your social media activity successful? Is it having a favourable impact on your business? Are you reaching the right audience, in the right channels, at the right time? Is your content engaging enough? Most things can be measured – find out what is most important for you, and use the results to continuously improve your presence on social media.

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