Simply dipping a cautious toe into the overflowing pool of social media and web platforms can be enough to overwhelm some users. With the scope of the large, established platforms and myriad niche sites for a given industry, knowing which to focus on and how to sync them all together are key areas for consideration before committing to offering content on each.
A well thought out strategy will help decide what you want to get from your social media efforts and how best to utilize time spend getting there. From today and through next week, we’ll be looking at the first questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge. Today:
How do you want to engage your target audience?
For the most part, it is considered that an existing business or artist has already defined the type of people that are interested in their message. This was a requirement long before any new media was a consideration and will continue to be critical wherever technology takes us. The methods by which we connect to our audience, however, are ever fluid and the options far wider today than ever before.
Do you want to show your expertise on a particular subject and build trust in your authority on such matters? As often advocated by social media specialist Chris Brogan, people learn to rely on online opinions of those demonstrating a clear, wide-ranging knowledge of their field. So if you can write well on your speciality and offer helpful thoughts/advice, then starting a blog will be the perfect way to showcase your expertise.
Another way to offer your expert advice in a non-sales pitch manner is to answer questions for people on sites such as LinkedIn or Answers. By searching for and solving requests relevant to your knowledge base, you not only establish your insight to the questioner but also to those following the responses and your activity in general. This positions you for future questions and, quite possibly, future business when a more in depth need arises.
For a more direct approach, the demographic information and targeted advertising of Facebook is often a cost-effective method to reach those in your field or region that may not be aware of you yet. In this case, maintaining an informative and resource rich Facebook page will be an important part of developing your web presence.
Otherwise, if the sheer jungle of Facebook seems too deep to penetrate initially, you may decide to spend more time exploring and becoming a part of the community on relevant niche sites. The message boards, forums, and comments sections of websites related to you are a great place to meet and network with others interested doing business or seeking assistance in your field. This also allows you to target the most appropriate sections of such communities by commenting on their articles and discussions. Furthermore, you often cut through the first step of searching for an engaged audience, as by their very nature the concentration of your efforts on such sites is focused directly at the target market.
How do you spread your time across the various social media?
Could your current schedule benefit from a review & exploration of new online avenues?