Social Media: Make it Targeted – or Don’t Bother at all

Sarah McInerney

Head of Content

Sarah has almost three decades of experience in crafting compelling, engaging content specifically designed to boost sales and enhance brand loyalty. She’s also an expert in developing unique tone of voice that helps brands connect with their audiences. Her marketing and client service background has given Sarah a natural understanding of how to write content that makes readers take action. Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, making an enquiry or donation or clicking the buy button, Sarah knows precisely how to convert with words. Pen down, Sarah is a proud member of the Essex Wildlife Trust and spends most of her free time enjoying inspiring walks through her local woodland and nature reserves, admiring everything that flaps, flutters and flowers.

Lots of businesses make the decision they need to have a presence on some social media platform or other. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest or whatever, the intention is to get on there, and fast. But the reason why may not be so clear.

If you find yourself saying you need a social presence, and then answering the ‘why?’ question with, ‘because everyone else is on there’ then you need to stop and think about your motives, because the crux of it is, that’s not a good enough answer.

Why do you need social media?

What do you think you might achieve by having social media platforms out there? Lots of people think some sort of miracle is going to occur. That hundreds of followers will appear overnight and start having conversations and sharing your page with all their friends. But the truth of the matter is, there are no miracles with social media. It’s all about hard work – and proper targeting.

How many Facebook pages have you hopped over to from a website you’ve been browsing, only to find a splurge of updates with the last one being in 2012? How many Twitter icons have you clicked on then found yourself looking at a handful of posts that date back to the same era? What do you think happened?

More than likely, the owners of these pages suddenly got to realise that there was far more to social media success than posting a few links to their services or uploading pictures of their product range. They spent a bit of time on it, then realised the world wasn’t reacting as they’d thought. There was no miracle, no magic and definitely no overnight success.

Never forget that social media is a marketing initiative

This is very, very common occurrence and the main reason for the lack of success is failure to work on strategy and targeting. Social media is a marketing initiative. Any marketing initiative needs a goal. And any goal needs a strategy. So if you expect to get results then you can’t just set a page up, throw a few posts on there and sit back in anticipation.

So let’s look at a few possible objectives for a social media campaign. You might want to promote an event. You may wish to demonstrate your expertise and raise your profile. It could be you want to grow your customer base. You might even want to use it as part of a customer relationship management initiative to boost engagement and cross sell.

Be clear on your objectives

Once you are clear on your aims, you can work out a way of achieving them. To do this, you need to ensure you target the right people, with the right messages in the right tone of voice. So for example, if you are looking to raise your profile, you could publish informative, authority content that demonstrates your expertise. You could go on to invite questions via a dedicated conference session.

If you are looking to attract more customers then you will need to focus on communicating the benefits of buying from you. You may wish to run some advertising campaigns to targeted audience sectors who will previously have shown an interest in what you are selling. And if you are looking to boost existing customer relationships, offering exclusive content and offers could be one way. Another could be to promote your social platforms as a method of contact via your website or any other customer communication channels you employ, such as direct mail or catalogues.

As long as you have a goal in mind and a structured way of achieving it, then you will stand a much improved chance of success.

Social media: not everyone’s cup of tea

One thing to bear in mind though – and this is very important – is that social media is not always going to be a suitable marketing initiative for every goal or every industry. Take some time to really think about your target audience and work out whether they are actually ‘into’ social media. They may be the wrong demographic. Similarly, think about whether what you are selling lends itself to social engagement. Perhaps it is a service that calls for sensitivity and something people won’t want to discuss on a public forum.

The key message is, get the targeting right, be clear on objectives and work out a strategy, then your social media should really work for you. If you’d like help developing a social media strategy and implementing a campaign, please get in touch.

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