It has been well established that today a social media presence is necessary for success online. It establishes credibility to your brand, makes you more approachable, and allows you to continually engage your audience. While these all sound like fantastic additions to your business, they will not come instantly upon creating a facebook fan page. Social Media still requires a strategy, and we will look over a few main considerations you must take in your social media campaigns.

Is this the network that your customers are on?

Not every audience uses the same social media networks, and different demographics use different social media channels very differently. It is important to understand who you are targeting with your social media strategy and plan for this accordingly. It is essential that you are in sync with your audience, and not wasting your efforts on a campaign that won’t be seen.

For example, many young males follow Instagram pages which display the latest fashion trends. They may follow their favorite brands, or sites and stores which showcase this content. They wouldn’t ‘like’ all of these pages on Facebook and browse these images in their Facebook feed which may be cluttered with personal posts from friends, or on a twitter account where they consume text content. If a streetwear brand for for this demographic wanted to build a following, they would be wasting their efforts by simply having a Facebook page with content pushed to it, as that is not how that content is regularly consumed. This can clearly be seen in some brands where the Facebook page will have 10 times the following of the Instagram account, yet have much lower engagement from each post. Another example of this would be a Pinterest account for a company. Pinterest is a female dominated network and has a strong emphasis on showcasing high quality content photos. It would be a waste to push a Pinterest page for an e-commerce store that sold computer components, due to the focus on specifications, details and a mismatched market.

Don’t build your entire brand under one roof. Learn about your audience and how they use social media, do not just push the same content to each network and hope for ROI in Social Media.

Make your posts meaningful to the world outside the screen.

Your audience has countless interactions outside of their computer chair (unless we are going back to our computer components e-commerce site), so take advantage of this to maintain a greater personal connection with your audience. Use seasonality to your advantage in social media, but remember seasonality is not just limited to the calendar year and holidays. Making posts and promotions related to Christmas, Halloween or the Superbowl are only scraping the surface.

Find out what your audience follows around the calendar year. If your website is frequented by gardeners in Canada then it would be a good idea to make posts encouraging people to get outside and into their gardens once the weather warms up in the spring. This could even tie in with other markets, as this female market might need a new outfit for the weather, or they could be in the process of planning a spring wedding. A post mentioning nice weather would not be very relevant to our example of the computer parts store, but they would much more likely to be following the latest tech release than the gardeners would be. That would be a good opportunity to make a post which is a meme or parody of the latest iPhone keynote, or a blunder made by Microsoft at their newest OS announcement.

Customers are the #1 content creators.

Your customers use your product, let them show it off for you. Feature community made content on your social media channels, not only does this save time for you on content creation but it is a huge boost to engagement. Make sure to credit a user by tagging them in your post, and give positive feedback on the post. This could be either a craft or painting they created by buying supplies on your store, a shot of them snorkeling in your branded gear, or an outfit which was tied together perfectly by your brand. People will love to be noticed, and you are establishing a greater community involvement around your brand in doing so.

Be sure to retweet and share the community content that you are sent. Do not spam users by doing this with every message, but rather select a few projects a week to showcase. You can even tie this in with your promotions by setting themes. For example, encouraging users to show off a picture of them in your shoes when exploring the outdoors, or wearing a certain hat in an outfit allow you to push your intended goals without even needing to create content yourself. This organic content is much more effective as well in not appearing as a ‘shill’ to visitors, and shows a transparency and openness that customers will find comfort in.

Be as agile as the platforms and don’t forget to A/B test.

Do not get caught up into a set pattern of posting. Being tied down to making a post about product x daily will not only stunt creativity but prevent you from noticing other opportunities. Social media posts can be made in an instant, so do not be afraid to throw in new ideas as they come. Spending hours on a well photoshopped image to share on Facebook won’t carry the same ROI as a funny brand related tweet which came to mind.

While you might not be able to use Optimizely for your Facebook page, you can still showcase a variety of content in your posts. Check the engagement across these posts as well to see what works and what doesn’t. You may have not yet discovered what your followers want to see, and this variety of posts will allow you to pivot towards the most optimal path.

Have universal goals but unique methods across your networks.

Post unique content across your various social media networks. Have an overall vision for your company in mind, and then mold your posts around it. Being on all social media networks doesn’t give an excuse to repeatedly display the same content across each channel. The level of commitment that appears to be necessary in social media might seem intimidating, but it is important to not waste your opportunities for engagement with your audience. A very focused Pinterest campaign would benefit a business much more than generic posts made across every platform.

In closing, remember to focus your social media strategy with engagement in mind. Focus on reaching out to your viewers and do not spread yourself thin across various networks.