Social media affects almost every area of your business — generating brand awareness, engaging customers, nurturing leads and providing customer support. On the surface, social media execution looks easy. However, social media is constantly evolving, adding more platforms to learn, more features to leverage and larger audiences to engage. Effective social media marketing means you must take careful consideration of your business, its goals and how social media integrates into your larger marketing strategy. Here are three tips to help grow your social media presence into a true business asset.

Identify Specific Goals

One of the most common mistakes businesses can make when it comes to social media marketing is not setting specific goals. Don’t start devoting your limited time and resources to social media without knowing what you want to get out of it.  Develop a clear strategy with specific aims to achieve growth. Take a step back and think about what your business needs and how social media can help. Whether it’s increasing awareness of a new product, generating leads for your sales team or creating conversation around your brand among key influencers, identifying a clear goal will help you get the most out of your investment. Once you’ve determined a general goal, try to get as measurable and as specific as possible. Don’t be content to merely “increase brand awareness.” Instead, try something like, “Reach 150,000 people with messaging related to our new product with at least 300,000 impressions and generate 5,000 new sales leads.”

Determine Your Audience

Before diving into to social media marketing, define your audience. Demographics are important, but use customer personas and data to hone in more particularly and create more relevant, segmented messages. Think of your customer. Start with traditional demographic information, but dive deeper into their likes/dislikes, hobbies and more to help you create content they want to see. Instead of trying to create an audience for the content you want to make, create content for your audience and reach them on the social platforms they’re already using.

Each social media channel attracts users for different reasons, and those users have their own habits when it comes to interacting with content. Once you’ve defined your audience and their interests, choose platforms that will help you meet your goals and reach the right audiences.

Differentiate Content by Platform

Many people believe that you need to post the same content to every platform, but each platform functions differently. Not all content needs to be shared everywhere, and some content isn’t appropriate for some platforms. It’s completely fine to post different things on each social channel, and this tactic may even boost your engagement.

Think about your overall marketing strategy and how you will generate content for each platform. How will you add value to your business through social media? Whether you’re sharing videos, photos or blog posts, make sure the content looks professional. Your visuals should provoke audience engagement with comments, likes or shares.

Consider the nature of your business and your overall objective. Determine which platform best fits the audience you want to reach and tailor content for the platform and audience. For instance, Instagram is highly visual and skews younger and more female. Facebook represents the most general audience. Twitter is best for reaching news junkies and sports fans. LinkedIn is best kept strictly professional, with content your sales staff can share to leverage their personal networks. 

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