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The 4 questions businesses should ask before starting social media

Social Media: Where do I start?

Starting a social media strategy for your business can be a daunting prospect. After all, there’s a stack of information out there – much of it written in jargon or going into intricate detail about things that really aren’t that important.

So if information overload means you’re struggling to know where to start, you’re not alone. That’s why we created a simple guide to the 4 questions you need to ask before you start using social media.

Answer these and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the way forward for your business.

Which platform should you use?

There’s no point trying to master every platform. You usually won’t have the time or budget to do it all and you’ll end up spreading yourself way too thin.

Instead, think about the purpose of your content and who you’re trying to connect with.

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in Australia – over 60% of Australians have an active account. It’s focus is largely personal but it can be a great platform for any business: especially if you have a consumer focus or you can create content that people engage with and are happy to share with their friends.

LinkedIn is often seen as the corporate facing social media platform and is a natural fit for B2B businesses such as professional services. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a place to find new clients for B2C businesses too.

Instagram is highly visual. If you’re prepared to invest in top notch imagery it can be a perfect fit. Insta has been used to devastating effect by many lifestyle brands, which lend themselves to this kind of “picture is worth a thousand words” marketing.

Twitter has over 2.8million active users but it’s a tough one to master and requires almost constant attention. Some businesses use it well but it’s not for the time poor.

Snapchat is the young’un of the group, quite literally. It has the youngest user base and can be particularly useful if your target audience is under 30.

Pinterest may not be as popular in Australia as it is in other countries but its users tend to be more engaged and it has the highest percentage of online shoppers out of the platforms. It also skews female” around two-thirds of Pinterest users are women, again the highest of all platforms.

The right platform for you will depend on who you’re targeting. And, just because the majority of users on a platform like Pintrest are women, that doesn’t mean they can’t also be used with devastating effect to target men too.

How often should you post?

This is something of a loaded question. You don’t want to bore your audience by bombarding them with constant content. But you don’t want them to forget about you either. Getting the balance right usually involves trial and error and a bit of tweaking until you find out what works best for you.

We know it’s not perfect but the answer to “how often” might just be as much as your time allows as it you might only find an hour a week to squeeze in.

That said, spending just one hour a week on social media is probably not enough to really engage an audience. Which leads to the next question you should ask…

How will you find the time?

Most people – especially most SME owners – simply don’t time necessary to spend hours a week learning how to use a platforms, run campaigns, create engaging content and build an audience.

There are some tools that will help you reduce the time burden by scheduling all you posts from one place – some of the best are Sproutsocial, Hootsuite and Buffer. (For the record, we use Hootsuite but they all have their place.)

But then then there’s the little things you need to know, such as the fact that some social media platforms actually image doesn’t show a face.

For that reason, we think the best solution for most businesses is to save time, save money and get it done right by outsourcing it.

Do you really have to understand all those terms?

You’ve probably noticed that social media is a world of acronyms and jargon. You probably don’t need to know what most of them mean. But there are a few you should probably be aware of (not least because you’ll hear your agency bandying them about all the time). So, for the record, here they are:

CTA – Call to action. This is the next step you want someone to take after reading your content.

CPC – Cost per click. How much you need to spend for every person who clicks on a link to your site.

CTR – Click through rate. The number of people who click through to your site divided by the total number of people who see/read your post.

B2C – Business to consumer. Marketing to the masses.

And finally…

If you’re struggling to create a social strategy that is right for your business, or if you can’t find the time or don’t have the skills to create the kind of content your audience wants, drop us a line.

Get in touch to find out more.

Statistics compiled by SocialMediaNews.com.au for August 2016.

Stats and research courtesy: Vivid Social. Figures correct as of 31/08/16.

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Written By: Rob