When faced with an opportunity to change industries after 15 years, my response to a potential employer was, “I don’t Tweet…is that going to be a problem”? At that time in my life I had utilized social media for recruitment and networking opportunities. I had also used it to keep in touch with family and friends who were spread out across the globe. What I failed to see was a huge correlation between my professional goals and Twitter as a specific platform. After making the transition, I quickly realized that it wasn’t the platform that didn’t “fit” into my business needs; it was my own understanding of what those needs were and how to accomplish them.
Have you ever felt that you were using tools that simply didn’t meet your needs? It happens to small business owners every day. Someone recommends a tool and they set out to implement the recommendation without fully understanding why. Then three, six, twelve months down the road they can’t understand why they are not seeing a return on their investment. The problem is that you need to have a strategy. Just implementing a new tool doesn’t work, you need to understand how this tool or activity will positively support your overarching business objectives. So where do you start?
Here are the questions that I asked myself prior to launching into Twitter (or any social network):
What is my goal?
Businesses and individuals who do not establish objectives will spend the majority of their time spinning their wheels. Goals should drive your actions, not the other way around. When identifying your objectives, it should be broader than “Get 1,000 new followers”. Think about what new followers will do for you. How does the action of obtaining new followers filter up to your overall objective?
Who is my target audience?
Do you know who you want to connect with online? If not, this is another stepping stone to get your business heading in the right direction. Knowing who your audience is can help you determine the best platform to connect with them through.
Is my audience utilizing this platform?
Go where your audience is. It’s fun to use the latest and greatest technology available, but is it going to help you reach your goals? The majority of the time you need to go to where you can have the greatest impact. Do your research and find out where your audience is interacting with others. Figure out if you should join that conversation or try to encourage your audience to find you on a less utilized platform. Moving your audience to a new platform may take more time and may ultimately work against your primary business objective.
How will I share information or engage in order to meet my goals?
Will the content that your audience wants, be supported in the platform you are evaluating? For example, if your audience engages best with video content and more in-depth video tutorials, is a text heavy platform the best medium?
A social media strategy isn’t about the tools or platforms you choose, it is all about your business objectives and your audience. You have to start somewhere…start by identifying those key components of your overall business strategy.
If you have gone through the steps and realize that Twitter is a great platform for your business to reach its potential audience or current customers, but you don’t know where to start – check out the NISM #Twitter3030 course for daily tips to get you started and engaged!
Author: Jennifer Radke
Jennifer Radke, CEO of NISM, is a dedicated, passionate and strategic business leader with 15+ years in sales and recruitment management, leadership, coaching, development and training. Most recently, she was the owner and chief strategist at Socially Inspired, a social media training and consulting company. In addition, she is an NISM-certified Social Media Strategist (SMS), serves on the board for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota and can be found speaking and presenting to job seekers and businesses alike, on how to better utilize social media in the workplace. Jennifer believes that lifelong learning is the key to continued growth and your networks are the best way to expose yourself to new opportunities.