There’s an important moment in your brand’s history that needs pointing out. I call it the “Christmas Conversation.” You were spending time with friends or family, and a tech-savvy person cornered you. Their passion for a particular social media channel oozed from them and got all over you. They told you that you must use it, everyone is using it, and you aren’t doing social right until you are as well. You felt embarrassed that you hadn’t been using it and promised to try. This is where the disaster starts.
The right way
The first and most important step in a marketing plan is deciding what your brand is about and whom you want to reach. You’ll be targeting your current customers in addition to those who don’t yet know about you. Learn as much as you can about their needs, desires, and what they love or hate. Become an expert on your people.
To communicate effectively, it’s imperative to find out where they spend time on the internet. Don’t make the assumption that your personal online habits match those of your intended audience; research web traffic and behaviors. Use a search engine and ask directly “social media use women 21-30,” for example. Review results from a variety of sources and pay attention to studies from the last one or two years, as the data can change quite a bit over time.
Next, investigate the social media your customers are using. Look at the big brands in your category and take note of successful tactics as well as those that fall flat. Observe how your audience uses the channel. Now you’re ready to deploy a campaign on that channel.
Concentrate Your Focus
Let’s say you didn’t go through these steps—that you were trapped by the Christmas Conversation and now have a tangled web of unused social media. Don’t worry. It’s not too late. Go through the steps above and, when you’ve completed the research on what your audience is doing, audit your current channels.
If you find you’re using a tool that research shows is right for your needs and customers, great! Now you need to create a plan for messaging, tone, and frequency.
If, on the other hand, you discover you aren’t using a channel that’s right for the brand, or you have a tool that isn’t working well and you don’t know why, you’re faced with a tough decision: Do you keep the channel and try harder or do you delete it?
When your customers taste your product and love it, they’ll investigate you to learn more. What they find speaks volumes. If they find that abandoned Twitter account or empty YouTube channel, what impression do you think that leaves?
Like grapes left to rot on the vine, you aren’t taking care of your property. The best way to clean up is to chop off the dead wood to let the plant regrow. By deleting the channels and accounts that aren’t benefitting your brand, you’ll remove the guilt of not using it and the damage it’s abandonment reflects. You’ll also have more energy and creativity to devote to the platforms your audience loves.
Kerry Rego is a social media trainer, technology consultant, author, and speaker working with individuals, businesses, government, and nonprofits. She educates people, implements tools, and trains staff on new media. Contact her at email@example.com.