Neal Schaffer, the author of “Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success” is here to answer questions on social media in today’s digital age.
Question 1: Is it important to have a social media strategy, or is it okay to post whenever I feel like it?
NS: This is where you differentiate using social media for your personal use — which is, you post whenever you feel like it — and using social media as a business tool, in which you need to have a strategy. I’ve worked with clients in a lot of different industries, of a lot of different sizes, and they all needed two things. One, was education on how to properly use the platforms as business tools, and two, they needed a strategy. Everyone’s objective is going to be different. Therefore, you need to have a strategy to make sure that what you do in social media is going to be aligned with your objective.
Question 2: Is it important to have one person in charge of all social media platforms, or could I assign a different person to each?
NS: That’s really a great question. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have a different person for each platform, but if you do, that’s where you want to have a written social media strategy so everyone knows the rules of the road. If you have someone who’s really good at Pinterest, someone who’s really good at Instagram, someone who’s really good at Facebook, it makes sense. But obviously, having one person in charge of all platforms is probably how most companies do it, just because they want to have only one resource [managing] it.
Question 3: There are new platforms popping up every year. How can I determine a platform is worth my time?
NS: Social media is about being where your audience is — so where’s your audience? If I was going to own my own health club, when people sign up, I would ask them. You ask a lot of questions — what’s your phone number, email address — I’d say: Hey, check a box as to which social network you’re active on. You can do that with your current clientele by saying: We’re doing a survey for marketing, everyone who participates will get a $20 Starbucks gift card, or whatever it might be. Another great way is to audit your competitors. Where are they? Where do they have a lot of followers?
Question 4: Is there a specific platform I should be focusing on most?
NS: I still think Facebook. Now one of the things that’s going to happen in 2015 is people thinking: Wow, I’ll just set up a Facebook page and everyone will come and it will be viral, and organically I’ll be able to get all these fans and win all this business. That world is going away very quickly, because there are more people and businesses on social networks. It’s really hard to get people’s attention now. But those platforms that have a paid aspect, that’s why I like Facebook — if you want to micro-target your audience, you have the ability to.
Question 5: What are benefits to my business of boasting a successful social media strategy?
NS: The benefit of boasting a successful social media strategy is you’re not asking any more questions about what you should be doing — you know what you need to do, you’ve already determined your objective, you’ve already determined how you’re going to measure your objective and you’re already saying: Wow, I’m investing this much [in] resources, but I’m getting this much business from social media. This is positive ROI.