There will always be plenty of advice out there on how to make your business thrive in the modern world.
At present, a lot of that advice relates to the technology side of things, with a great deal of focus on social media.
It’s a given that your business is going to benefit from a sound social media strategy, but opinions on what that means will differ from place to place.
It’s generally accepted that your business should have a personality that comes across on social media. In turn, this affects the question of which social media platforms you prioritize.
When people use social media, they tend to have their own preferences for which platforms they use, or use predominantly.
As a business, however, the point is that you shouldn’t always limit your audience in this way. And that can mean that you don’t so much need a social media strategy as a collection of strategies.
The benefits of having a detailed social media strategy
In life, we talk to different people in different ways. If we talked to people in authority the way we do to our friends, it would probably be considered grossly inappropriate.
This is known as a register of speech – you specifically pitch what you are saying depending on the audience who might hear it. Similarly, if you are reaching out to a social media audience, you need to consider your approach – in terms of how you word your message, but also in terms of your entire use of whichever platform you’re on at the time.
A Facebook message will be engaged with differently from an Instagram post. An update on LinkedIn won’t be met with the same reaction if you screen cap it and put it on Twitter.
You have to consider which approach will be best received depending on which platform you are using, and in the fullness of time develop your own voice on each of the platforms you use. And considering you should be using as many as possible, that can mean a lot of voices.
Consider the specifics of the platform
If you’re au fait with social media, you’ll have a fair idea of the typical user of each platform, and the type of customer you might find there. Facebook is fairly open, with not many restrictions on the content you can post.
Twitter is busy and opinionated, and perhaps the platform on which you are most likely to encounter resistance to your business posts. Instagram is highly visual – and frankly, sometimes people won’t even read the words you post on there.
It’s important to work with each of the platforms in an appropriate way. Feel out the etiquette on each platform and work to get the best engagement.
If you find yourself wondering “why do people unfollow me on Instagram?” then more often than not it will be because you didn’t use it in the way Instagram users like to see. If you’re not used to a social media platform, you might need to play around with your register on there until you find the voice that works.
Be aware that Instagram followers are, typically, more optimistic and aspirational than the average Twitter user – so don’t use Instagram as though it were just Twitter with pictures.
Make the most of each platform’s tools
Each social media platform has its own specific selling points – it’s these points that attract us as users in the first place, and as business owners it is worth considering how the platform fits into a selling strategy.
One major example of this is the ability to make an Instagram post “shoppable”, meaning that with one click a follower can be taken to a page where they can buy the products advertised within. You can also use sites like Facebook as portals through to your store, so when someone clicks on your ad, they can sign in to your store using their Facebook account.
It’s a fact that many of the positive functionalities that arise with one social media platform will eventually be copied or emulated in some form by their rivals.
That’s pretty much inevitable – and is the way that businesses have responded to innovation for centuries – but getting to grips with how they can work for your company is something you should do when they first arise.
As you get used to experimenting with the tools each platform offers, you’ll gain a better instinct for what works for you.
You don’t have to give the different platforms equal attention
Promoting your products and services is really a simple matter of answering one question: What will drive the most new customers to my store, and convince them to stick around and make a purchase?
The fact of the matter is that the answer will depend to some extent on what type of business you are, and which products and services you are trying to sell. If you’re a bakery selling luxury goods, for example, it stands to reason that a lot of your focus should be on Instagram, and some on TikTok – and if you end up limiting your use of Twitter as a result, that’s not a bad thing.
There will always be some platforms that work better for you than others. You can use Facebook and Twitter to share your TikTok videos of delicious cupcakes and cookies – but the more visual platforms are the best place for more visual content.
If, on the other hand, you are selling books or educational materials, Twitter is a great place to do this. You can promote yourself by regularly posting threads that highlight a topic covered in your materials.
One viral Twitter thread can lead to endless opportunities to get your business in the media, and given that users resurrect threads when they become relevant again, it’s a process that can have lots of future benefits for you.
There is no such thing as a “social media strategy”: you should have a strategy for each of the platforms on which you engage as a business. If that ends up meaning that you’re more active on one platform than another, that’s fine – it’s just where you find your audience.