In the second part of our series on getting started with social media marketing, we’ll take a look at the two final steps to putting together your master plan. We’ll look at things like researching your competition and how to take advantage of what you find, as well as ways to figure out which social media platforms are most relevant for you and your customers. Once you know the 5 steps to success on social media, you’ll have your marketing strategy mapped and ready to implement in no time.
Step 4 – Research Your Competition
Search for your competition on any social media platform you plan to use and see what they are doing. It’s not only good for keeping tabs on them, but it will help you to understand what is working well for them and how you can take advantage of it yourself.
The most important thing you want to try to gauge is your competition’s engagement with their audience. You want to find items that have high numbers of shares, likes and comments and then look at what they are posting and when they are posting it. Is it serious or funny? Do they post a lot during the week or more on the weekends? How about days or evenings? Are they asking interesting questions?
Take advantage of what they’ve already done and follow that lead. Look at how they are getting their customers engaged and try to come up with ways to build on that and do it better.
You can use some quick math to generate a sort of index to gauge who’s doing better and see how you compare as well. Scope out a few of your competitors, on Facebook for example, and look at their last 15-20 posts. Tally up the total number of likes, shares and comments on each post and then divide that number by the total fans their page has. Those with a higher result have a higher rate of engagement with their audience.
This will show you who’s doing things best and also let you see how you rank among them. Just make sure you use the same base number for everyone. If you check on 15 posts for one competitor, use 15 for all of the rest and yourself.
Step 5 – Concentrate On Relevant Platforms
You don’t need to be on every social platform out there. It’s not going to do you any good to be spending hours a week tweaking things on Instagram if your main audience is on Facebook or Twitter.
You can research demographics for your ideal customers to get an idea of where you are most likely going to reach a good level of engagement with them. Some groups prefer more visual platforms like Instagram, while others prefer the brief snippets of Twitter.
You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask your current customers what their preferences are. For example, if you’ve got a mailing list full of existing customers, ask them which sites they frequent in your next newsletter. Follow what they tell you. Your potential customers and existing customers usually share a lot of the same traits.
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