A Guide to Social Media in 2017

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The year is 2017, and the number of social media channels these days can seem downright overwhelming. Do you need to use them all, or can you pick and choose? Prioritizing channels is just the beginning - each channel (AKA "platform") provides very different user experiences, and therefore very different results. Having a solid social media strategy in place is invaluable to your brand's success in this hyper-social world.

To help you decipher what makes sense for your brand, we've created a quick overview to help guide your social media journey.

Before you continue reading, it's important to know exactly what your end goal is. Do you want to use social media to participate in your industry's conversation as a thought leader? Drive more leads, or direct sales?  Once you have a basic idea of what your needs are it'll be easier to choose which channels to dedicate time and possibly money towards.

Platform: FACEBOOK

Overview: One of the juggernauts of social media, and one that we at Harlo utilize on a daily basis for most of our clients. Facebook's overall scale and reach is enormous, and is generally relevant to all businesses regardless of size and industry because of the fact that nearly everyone uses Facebook these days. Ad buying options have many objectives to choose from, allowing brands to run sophisticated campaigns on both Facebook and Instagram.

General Channel Objectives:

  • Increase brand activity
  • Drive brand awareness
  • Build fan count
  • Promote culture and service offerings
  • Drive qualified traffic/leads to your website

Tactics:

  • Be present. Trending content changes as quickly as the wind.
  • Post relevant content regularly, at least three times a week. If your brand is coffee-oriented, don't start posting about tea. (Unless you work with that, too!)
  • Put promotional money behind your posts to garner more reach. A little goes a long way, and posting without promotional budget means that your content won't be seen by the vast majority of your own Fans... almost like that content was never made at all.
  • Invite clientele, community leaders, and business partners to like your page.
  • Engage with your audience on a daily basis.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • Reach count
  • Engagement metrics (rate and cost per)
  • Fan count
  • Site traffic

Platform: TWITTER

Overview: Twitter's strengths are in brief conversations and in providing an easy avenue for customer service. Many brands and personalities use Twitter to put quick thoughts, opinions, and photos out into the world.

General Channel Objectives:

  • Increase brand activity
  • Drive brand awareness
  • Build follower count
  • Promote brand culture
  • Drive qualified traffic/leads to your website

Tactics:

  • Be present (same as Facebook)
  • Post relevant content regularly.
  • Follow like-minded accounts (brands within your industry, ideal clientele) and monitor conversations surrounding relevant industry topics.
  • Participate in relevant conversations, providing links as warranted.
  • Use strategic hashtags and mentions in posts to increase discoverability amongst the target audience.

KPIs:

  • Follower count
  • Engagement rate
  • Increase in @mentions and ❤️s

Platform: INSTAGRAM

Overview: Instagram may look like pretty photos that drum up your inner #wanderlust, but there's a lot more underneath the surface. Utilize Instagram to craft a brand style and experience that amazes your target audience.

General Channel Objectives:

  • Showcase creative perspective and process.
  • Increase brand activity and awareness.
  • Build follower count.
  • Establish an active Insta-community.

Tactics:

  • Be present. (That tactic is now #trending)
  • Post compelling and highly visual content regularly. Include high-level photography that highlights your brand/industry.
  • Ensure posts accurately express your brand style and guidelines.
  • Use strategic #hashtags and @ (mention) relevant accounts to increase discoverability amongst target audience/industries.
  • Follow current and target clientele, industry leaders and partners, and your own followers.
  • Respond to all comments/inquiries.

KPIs:

  • Follower count
  • Engagement rate
  • Increase in @mentions and ❤️s

Platform: SNAPCHAT

Overview: Do you even snap, bro? Snapchat's draw is novel and ephemeral content. Their brand platform is about building new experiences daily. This relatively new channel took over the Millennial demographic, with its audience ranging from teenagers to young professional adults. Now, Snapchat use has expanded into young Gen X, and down to the newest crop of consumers, Gen Z.

General Channel Objectives:

  • Showcase creative perspective and process.
  • Increase brand activity and awareness.
  • Build follower count.

Tactics:

  • Be present. Trending content changes as quickly as the wind.
  • Post authentic content regularly. Snapchat is not a place for highly visual experiences.
  • Ensure posts accurately express your brand style and guidelines.
  • Use lenses, geofencing, and Stories strategically and thoughtfully.

KPIs:

  • Views
  • Screenshots
  • Follower count

Platform: LINKEDIN

Overview: LinkedIn is the social media channel for professionals. Your brand's LinkedIn page is ideally where you'd post about career opportunities, business milestones, and any big news announcements. For B2B brands, it has even more potential with its targeted advertising options to generate leads.

General Channel Objectives:

  • Drive brand awareness.
  • Grow LinkedIn connections.
  • Drive qualified traffic/leads to your website

Tactics:

  • Share articles and new work relevant to your industry as they occur.
  • Put promotional money behind your posts to garner more reach. A little goes a long way.
  • Invite clientele, community leaders, and business partners to connect with you and/or follow your page.
  • Include Call-to-Actions where appropriate that asks for contributors.

KPIs:

  • Engagement metrics (rate and cost per)
  • Connection count
  • Repost count
  • New media contributor count
  • Site traffic

Platform: Pinterest

Overview: As with Instagram, Pinterest can serve as a highly visual representation of your brand. As with every other channel, its use case varies depending on your industry, but high-quality photography can help drive activity.

General Channel Objectives:

  • Drive brand awareness.
  • Share work and inspiration to showcase perspective.
  • Drive qualified traffic/leads to your website

Tactics:

  • Be active and present - understand visual trends as they relate to your industry and create content accordingly.
  • Create and share highly compelling visual content relevant to your brand and its industry.
  • Create boards that show inspiration points and reference material to illustrate thought leadership in your industry.

KPIs:

  • Follower count
  • Re-pin activity
  • Website traffic

Any combination of each social channel is better than utilizing none at all, but it's better to focus on your priority channel(s) before trying to bite off more than you can chew. Not all channels are equal for every brand, and each has defining pros/cons that should be considered when building your social media strategy.

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