Social Media: Where To Start?

August 16, 2012
By   Jen McDonnell
Category   Social Media

It’s a whole new world wide web. The days of getting all of our information from portals and news sites are over; now we pick and choose our updates from friends, brands, and people we trust like we’re at a yummy, Internet buffet. Surfing social networks is now the most popular online activity, with 62% of adults worldwide using social media. Thanks to these sites’ growing user bases (Facebook: 901 million, Twitter: 200 million, LinkedIn: 175 million, Instagram: 50 million, Pinterest: 11 million), it’s no wonder brands and advertisers are jumping at the chance to engage their audience in these new and powerful ways.

But throwing up a Facebook brand page and praying for ‘likes’ isn’t a solution. Successful campaigns begin by outlining a clear strategy and having measurable goals. Gone are the days of ‘set it and forget it’ ads; today’s campaigns are ongoing interactions that need to be actively managed and cultivated. You’re no longer interrupting people’s lives; you’re participating in them. Companies are recognizing the need to run campaigns in social spaces, but many still haven’t wrapped their heads around the need to own those campaigns. According to recent reports, only 10% of marketers are actively monitoring social media ROI, and only 22% of businesses have a dedicated social media manager.

That’s not to say you have to drop your traditional campaigns and focus all your energy/resources on building a presence on every social media site out there, which would be impractical and ineffective. Instead, ease into the social space by starting small and concentrating your efforts on one or two networks. You can narrow your focus by asking yourself some basic questions:

-What type of interaction, feedback and sales am I hoping to attract?
-Where does my audience spend most of their time on social media ?
-Where can I expand my reach (engaging not just my audience, but my audience’s friends, and friends of friends)?
-How can I use social to add value to my audience’s lives?

You might find that everything you want to achieve can be done by having an ongoing presence on just one social network, at least in the beginning. Start by concentrating your efforts where it most makes sense for you and your brand. Once you learn how to walk, then you can run (and tweet, and pin, and +1…)

-Jen McDonnell, [email protected]



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Jen McDonnell

Jen is the Vice President of Content and Social Media at Reshift Media, where she manages a team responsible for the social strategies for several national and international brands. She has a strong content background, having previously worked in online journalism for 10 years. Her articles have been published in the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, the Vancouver Province, the Calgary Herald, Flare, and more.

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