Blog – Planning your social media strategy

Blog by guest contributor Paul Wilson of PR Wilson Media.

The 3 Ms are the 3 key elements to consider when planning your social media strategy: Market, Message and Media.

  1. Market – Target Audience

Understanding your audience is the foundation of social media marketing success. It is virtually impossible to get results if you are blindly posting without first knowing who your audience is, where to find them, why they would want to follow you and how your organisation can bring value to them.

Think about 2 or 3 of your most active supporters and advocates and start creating a profile.

Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • Is gender important (are they male or female?)
  • Is age important (what age group?)
  • Is location important (where do they live and work?)
  • What are their reasons for supporting you?
  • How did they find out about you in the first place
2.   Message – what matters to them

The next step is to now think about what’s important to them. Having created basic identities for your ideal clients, you can build out these profiles by obtaining more detailed information on what they are looking to get from your products or services

Consider these questions:

  • What would they look to accomplish by engaging with you?
  • Is there a personal connection with your cause?
  • How has it helped them or their loved ones?
  • Why should they commit their own time and energy to support you?
  • What are your key messages they can relate to?

Write down 3 key marketing messages that might appeal to your target audience and what matters. Messages that make you stand out from the crowd and show what’s unique about your offering.   Make sure that the messages are:

  • Reflected in how you present your organisation on each social media platform (e.g. if on Twitter, what is the key message that you can fit into 280 characters)
  • Consistently branded in an easy to understand way that will inspire your supporters to take action on your behalf (e.g. with images/videos/GIFs/logos/links and calls to action)
3.     Media – where do you find your supporters online and how do you manage your presence?

Remember that wherever you are discovered (perhaps for the first time online in some cases), you will be giving out a clear impression of your organisation and what it represents.  So if you are discovered on a social media platform which has a half-finished or empty profile and no recent activity it is not likely to set a positive image.

It’s therefore important to have a plan for how you will manage your organisation’s social media activity before you get started.  This is why it’s best to start with just one or two social media tools (Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for example) based on what your target audience uses most, rather than trying everything at once.

It’s also important to think about the differences in how these social media platforms work, and give consideration to how and how often the people engage with them (e.g. on mobile devices, do they ‘follow’ people or browse for interesting content)?

When it comes to charitable causes, and indeed in terms of social media overall, by far and away the biggest user community can be found on Facebook. At the time of writing there are well over 1.5 billion active Facebook accounts in use and most Facebook users are there to build their own virtual community that consists primarily of friends, family and people they know.  With this in mind, organisations should always be aware that their messages on Facebook can sometimes be disruptive to people who use it primarily to keep in touch with those who matter most to them.  Build their empathy with your social media messaging and they are much more likely to pay attention to what your organisation says.

The other main platform in terms of audience base and usage is Twitter.  Twitter is more about in the moment, news as it happens, and has a strong base of media and information outlets.  It’s great to use if you can deliver a stream of regular, informative and interesting content in short messages 9with interesting imagery).

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