Social Media – Getting Back to the Basics

Bethany Sterzer

September 28, 2012

Let’s play a game.  When you read the two words below, I want you to note the emotions you experience.  Ready?  Here goes…

Social Media

Feelings?  For those of you that got excited and perhaps a bit giddy, this blog post isn’t for you.  For the rest of you – the ones that got that sinking feeling in their stomach – please read on.

A technique I learned from times in my life when I had to juggle multiple responsibilities and face high-stress situations has been to remove myself from the immediate issue and get back to the basics.  So, let’s do that now with social media.

Let’s get back to the advertising basics.

Social media is another technique to grow your business.  Simple as that.   You know those mailers, print ads, TV spots and radio ads you’ve been doing?  Let’s apply what you used for those campaigns to what you would use in a social media plan.

Target Audience – You need to know and understand your target audience.  Understanding what they like, what makes them tick, and what causes them to make purchases is important for any company.  With that knowledge you can connect with your audience through social media. Blog about topics you know they would connect with.  Engage with them on Facebook, ask for feedback on topics they find interesting that fit within your brand.

Branding – You wouldn’t throw up a billboard on the freeway or place a print ad without thoroughly branding it, and rightfully so.  This is true for your online presence as well.  You need to brand all of your web assets, from your Twitter account to your website, you need to be sure that they all follow your branding standards.

Call to Action – I have no doubt that on every mailer that you have ever sent out to your target audience, you had some sort of call to action on it.  Whether it was a data capture form, a phone number to call, or a website to visit, you have a clear call to action to draw them in.  This is true for social media as well, although your calls to action are less salesy and more engagement driven.  Instead of a “Call us now to purchase ____!” it’s more of a “Read this helpful blog post on how to _____.”

Get to Know the Medium – You would never treat messaging on a billboard the same as a print ad, and you shouldn’t treat messaging on Facebook the same as Twitter.  Each medium has its own rules that with a bit of study and research, you can master for yourself.

Manage the Budget – Every ad campaign has a budget, and managing that budget is imperative for successful execution.  Be realistic when setting up a social media campaign budget. Keep in mind the need for good design, solid programming and effective and branded communication that will position you as the industry expert.  Realize that those things are going to come at a price—plan them into your budget and rest assured that a strategic online presence will most definitely pay off in the end.

See, social media is not so different from the rest of your advertising campaigns.  The end goal is the same, and the basics still exist.  Getting familiar with the mediums and conquering your fear of the unknown will come in time.  The worst thing to do is to remain in denial of the importance of social media.  Take the time to familiarize yourself with it, and then move forward.

And remember, if you start to panic, take deep breaths and go back to the advertising basics.