Social media: love it or hate it, it should be a key part of every firm’s marketing strategy. A Pew Research Center report released last fall found that 55% of adults regularly receive news updates via social media, and with younger generations leading the charge, that trend is bound to grow in the years to come.
We at Forefront take pride in our social media savvy. We use it in countless ways to benefit our clients – managing their feeds, crafting paid campaigns that get results, live tweeting industry events and more – but the common thread is compelling content designed to resonate with users.
That requires a significant amount of work up front. Before taking anything online, it is crucial to have a firm handle on the subject, get to know your audience and tweak your message to capture the right voice. Without taking these steps, even a huge news update or fascinating article can amount to little more than a shout into the void.
That’s why defining your message at the outset is so important. At Forefront, we work with the media on a daily basis, so it’s only appropriate that we take a page out of Journalism 101 – the “Five Ws” – to serve as an overview for the kinds of questions you should be asking during the message development process.
- Who – Who do you want your social campaign to reach? If successful, who will it benefit? Are there other stakeholders who could have a negative reaction to your message? These types of questions could inform anything from the type of media included to the specific language used.
- What – What is the main point you are trying to get across? What are the most compelling aspects of your subject matter? What does success look like for this campaign? These are probably the most important questions to ask during the message development process. Any given product or service will have a set of characteristics that set it apart, and choosing which ones to emphasize can make or break a campaign.
- Where – Where in the world is your audience located? Which social platforms are best suited to your subject matter? For us, the answer often varies – capital markets and fintech professionals have a bigger presence on LinkedIn, while Twitter is the best bet for reaching journalists.
- When – When do you want to reach people – on their morning commute, on their lunch break, during their downtime at home? For how long do you want to engage them? We’ll have more on mastering when and how to schedule your campaign later on in this series.
- Why – Why is what you have to say important? Are there any trends or current events that make your subject matter particularly relevant? Social media users have a virtually endless stream of content at their fingertips – why should they take the time to engage with your campaign?
Questions like these will help you get at the heart of what you want to say. Of course, there’s no magic formula for the perfect campaign, but the more you think critically about your message, the better your chances are of getting there.
To see this process in action, look us up on Twitter @ForefrontComms or on LinkedIn, or check out any of our many clients for whom we handle social media. If you’re interested in learning more or engaging in further discussion on the messaging process, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!