The social media landscape is no longer the one-horse-show it used to be. Brands now have hundreds of “content distribution” channels to choose between.
These days, both businesses and influencers struggle to keep up with all the new platforms while maintaining consistent and high-quality content.
What’s important to understand is that it’s impossible to be everywhere. The Internet is getting bigger by the second, resulting in shrinking and more niche audiences.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, TikTock, LinkedIn, Flickr, Quora, WeChat, Vero…the list goes on.
How do we know that we’re in the right place?
Consult your analytics
If you already have existing social media accounts, start by looking at your analytics. This data, when combined with your Google Analytics and Google Search Console, should provide a solid overview of how well your brand is performing.
Tip! Most social channels only display analytics to business accounts – so make sure your account has the right settings.
Your reports will give you a clear view of what works, and what doesn’t, both in terms of your channels and content. List the accounts that work the hardest for your brand, including, for example, engagement, reach and conversion rates.
Tip! List the types of content that generate the most engagement and tailor your social media strategy accordingly.
It can also be useful to check out what your competitors are doing, to see how well you measure up.
Evaluate your competitors using an online tool or a simple spreadsheet:
Fan page Karma: offers limited services on a free 3-month plan
Sprout Social: Guide to creating your own template (free)
Ahrefs: From $99 per month
SEM Rush: From $99 per month
Raven Tools: From $99 per month
Bring your audience to life with a persona
Do you know who your followers are?
What about the people who buy your products or services? If your immediate answer is not “of course”, it might be time for a review.
Use the analytics available through your platforms and websites to find out as much as you can about your visitors; who they are, where they’re from, what they like and how they behave on your website (e.g. do they prefer mobile or desktop?).
If you want to learn more specific details about your followers and their preferences, try sending out a survey and ask them how they feel about you. This can also be an excellent way to check what platforms they would prefer to follow you on.
When you have established a detailed description of who your target audience is, you can visualise the information by creating a ‘persona’.
A persona is a detailed profile of your target customer (see below).
While there are different ways to use this virtual profile, most brands use it as a guide when planning marketing campaigns or events. The easiest way to create a persona is to use an online tool such as the Xtensio Generator.
The Xtensio Generator allows you to create a personalised profile of your customers including:
– Personal details such as name, age, city
– Personal traits
– Preferred social media channels
Most of us have our preferred channels – but if you are not using the same platforms as your audience, you’re missing out on potential revenue streams.
Optimise your content for relevance
Unfortunately just having a social media account is not sufficient as a strategy.
Luckily for you, you’ve now got all the data you need to create and optimise relevant content for your audiences.
At this stage you should have:
– Strategically chosen social media accounts
– List of best performing content
– Clearly defined target audience, displayed in a detailed persona
– Overview of what and how your competitors are doing
It’s not unusual to come across some surprises in the initial research phase, so make sure you consider any new information or data when you plan your content strategy going forward.
Last but not least, you need to consider optimising your content for search engines (SEO), such as Google and Bing.
The problem with SEO is that the rules change constantly, and it’s hard to keep up with what Google is looking for.
Some general tips that tend to work regardless of changing factors:
Always post original content on your sites: Search engines such as Google are constantly crawling and updating the web – if your content appears twice it can register as a duplicate and possibly lose power (re-posting or sharing parts of an article sometimes is OK!).
Name your images (and add alt-text where possible): Images are indexed on the web just like text, but Google isn’t really able to read images (yet). Adding a text will help the search engines understand what the picture is about.
Use a plug-in: If you’re using WordPress for example, you can use plugins such as “All in one SEO” to make your posts SEO friendly (the text displayed in search results).
Speed up your site: Avoid using massive images or clunky plugins that slow down the loading time on your website.
Balance your keywords carefully: Use Google Keyword Planner or similar to determine what keywords are relevant to your business – incorporate them in a natural way in your posts (with a human in mind). Google is getting better at recognising low quality and keyword heavy content as spam, and tends to ignore it (focus on delivering valuable content and the rest will work itself out).
Practice consistency: It doesn’t matter if you are an established brand or a start-up – you need to provide search engines with new and fresh content consistently. If your website or social media accounts are never updated, you’ll not attract any new users and the sites will lose ranking power.
Regardless of where you find yourself at this point; your overall online performance will likely improve once you’ve implemented some or all of these changes.
A version of this article was first published on this site.