There is enough buzz about social media marketing these days to drive you crazy if you’re not grounded in some basics about how to evaluate it for your company. If you’re feeling pressure to keep up, here are five simple steps that will cure your social media envy or provide a good rational to get onboard:
1 — Understand clearly who is on each social media platform and research what experts and thought leaders have to say about who might be joining in the future. Do these platform users match your customer demographics? Here are the demographics of the major platforms from Pew Research Center to get you started.
2 — Research how each platform is currently being used by advertisers. Large companies with plenty of marketing resources (read money) are likely to be the first to test and adopt new media. What they do is helpful in assessing the potential marketing value for your company.
3 — Look for your competitors. If you don’t see competitors or companies like yours, you should not necessarily be detoured. If the above considerations appear promising, you could be looking at a great opportunity. If you do find competitors, it’s equally important to see if you can understand their strategies. Note that because advertising on many of these platforms can be bought by location, you may not see others who are in your industry because they are not in your market.
4- Determine how you will measure the results of your social media investments. This can be easy or complex. The sales department of the medium is likely to have case studies, guidelines and tools for measuring results. In addition, you are very likely to find plenty of analysis from bloggers and others who specialize in social media marketing who have published success and failure stories.
5- Make sure you understand the resources needed to effectively utilize a promising social media platform. In many cases, your website will need to be set up to capture visitors so they can be retargeted. Retargeting marks or tags online users who visit your website with a pixel or a cookie. Some social media platforms can utilize this data to serve up your ads and more to users. You may also need to commit time and resources to produce social media content. These are important considerations that will keep you from wasting time pursuing social media marketing opportunities without the adequate infrastructure to make the investment worthwhile.
Social media is moving fast as platforms are constantly evolving and, in fact, being disrupted by new platforms. For example, Twitter recently launched a streaming video app called Periscope that offers you the ability to tweet a live streaming broadcast. Perhaps you’ll be streaming your company’s product launches, events and more on Twitter in the near future. Once you’ve established some core social media marketing knowledge, following a good independent news source like TechCrunch and blogs like Medium are good ways to stay current.