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Social Media: Be Strategic, Not Superficial

In a recent blog, we discussed the various social media platforms and what some of the data suggests about who is using them. The interesting fact is how many people, of all ages, are engaged on social media. Social media, therefore, provides a great opportunity to reach people. The question is how best to reach whom with what platform.

A fundamental objective of marketing is to put yourself in the right place at the right time, or at least increase your odds of being there. The right place is in the mind of the person selecting someone who provides your goods or services. These days, we must expand who is in that group to include influencers – those who may influence the decision by making a recommendation. The right time is when they are making the decision.

Social media gives an additional opportunity to “touch” these potential clients or their influencers.

It also allows you to do some sales, either educating them on who you are and what you do or reminding them if they already know. No wonder those social media users with large followings are called “influencers.”

You cannot effectively use any social media platform without considering your target audience, intended message, and platform capabilities.

Knowing the basic demographics (like age) of your potential clients and their influencers is a critical first step. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How old are they?

  • Where do they live (zip codes)?

  • What is their education level?

  • What is their household income?

  • What are their hobbies?

  • How do you get this information?

How do you get this information? Make an informed guess. Or better yet, ask. Why not issue a survey to your clients when you do their intake? Tell them that you are simply gathering basic statistical information which will be kept anonymous.

The beauty of our digital world is that there is data available allowing you to get much more granular on the demographics of your target audience.

For example, you can take an email list of your clients and determine the social media platforms on which they are engaged, again broken down by demographics within your grouping. You can do the same with your referral sources. Those same lists can be used to target social media ads to “look-alike” target audiences. Scary, right?

What is it that you want to communicate? Are you simply building your brand or providing more detailed educational information? Trying to communicate too much in a social media post can backfire.

They weren’t designed for conveying lots of information. If you want to communicate more, provide a link to your website. You must make sure that your branding and message match your platform. A skilled social media marketer will be able to design something that works on multiple platforms for your target audience, but even the most adept can’t squeeze a square peg into a round hole. There are some platforms that are better suited for certain styles than others. Most have morphed to attempt to provide as many different variations as possible but not all have done so successfully. For example, you can now see short video clips across multiple platforms. Originally, they were found primarily on YouTube. They were honed by TikTok, exponentially expanding its influence. Now they can be seen on Instagram and Facebook as “reels.”

Making the decision to include social media in your marketing efforts is a good first step. But there is a lot more to using it successfully. Don’t stab at it blindly. Give it some strategic thought.


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