As you begin planning your social strategy, it’s important to do so with a focus on customer relevance.

You should learn how your target audience is currently using social media, how they’re engaging, what their general preferences are and where they’re participating most often. Looking at a combination of these factors will help you ascertain the value of one given venue versus another, and help ensure your engagement plan is on track with an eye towards maximizing potential. The best way to get started is to develop an ongoing social listening practice that informs your overall social outreach plans. Doing so will ensure that you are targeting your audience with precision.

Social engagement planning with your target audience top of mind

For each social outreach effort, you must determine who you are trying to reach. Historically, this has been done through market segmentation, but the rise of digital media requires us to think differently about the people we wish to engage and how best to connect with them. You should define your target audience sets and then consider:

  • Who are you really trying to reach?
  • How will you identify & locate these target audience(s)?
  • What are their demographics?
  • Where do they most often participate online?
  • What are their issues & ambitions?
  • How do you describe their current relationship to your organization?
  • Are they positive, negative or neutral toward your brand?
  • What are their shared pain points and interests?

Once you have these answers, work to define the value your brand provides to the target audience and build a team of Subject Matter Experts who can engage with the audience and share their domain expertise and contextually relevant content. The more targeted and specific you are up-front about your target audience, the easier it will be to create an integrated digital and social outreach plan they will respond to.

Social media can play an integral role in your brand’s overall marketing plan, but like any other tactic or channel, it should not be approached independently.

Rather, social should be incorporated into your larger digital strategy and connected to other properties where and when relevant. When planning to leverage a social presence it’s important to understand what role you expect it to play in supporting your overall business and marketing goals.  This will not only help you frame your approach, it will also help put in place measures to monitor performance, progress, and success.

Social media is not just another venue used to push out content; rather, social gives you the ability to connect your target audience with with members of your brand team and other individuals who have a stake in your brand’s message. It’s about helping you develop long-term relationships.

First posted at: Defining your social strategy – Building Social Brands | Building Social Brands.

About Susan Emerick

Susan Emerick is recognized by industry leaders as the foremost authority on building, implementing, and measuring successful advocacy programs for leading brands.

Susan is the co-author of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth: How to Transform Teams, Empower Employees, Integrate Partners and Mobilize Customers to Beat the Competition in Digital and Social Media – A must read for anyone striving to build brand advocacy.

Prior Susan led global enterprise social business and digital marketing programs for IBM where she led the technology giant’s social media strategy including social media listening and planning, brand engagement guidelines, social media governance, policy and measurement standards.

She serves on the advisory board of Social Media Today and is an active member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association where she serves on the Research and Measurement Council, and in 2013 she co-authored the WOMMA Influencer Guidebook. In 2011, Susan was named to the elite iMedia Top 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators.

Subscribe to OP|EN for BUSINESS!
Receive A Weekly Digest of the Most Popular Posts to Your Inbox!