Getting Started in Social Media? Listen Before You Leap

Start with research before taking the plunge into social media. Both Facebook and Twitter are littered with companies that decided to jump directly into social media. However, months later, their profiles have only a handful of fans and followers, most of whom are friends and family, and the conversation is completely one-sided.

This could have been prevented. Careful research before getting started in social media can help set realistic expectations. Here are three steps to take before taking the social media leap.

Step One: Check out the Competition.
Before getting started on Facebook and Twitter, first see if any competitors are using these platforms. Like or follow them. Monitoring competitors will create a clear picture of what techniques are working. You might learn as much from competitors' failures as their successes. Finally, researching competitors can help determine appropriate goals in terms of fans and followers.

Step Two: Find Your Audience
One of the most powerful tools on Facebook is the advertising platform. Entering demographic information into the Facebook advertising platform can determine a rough number of your target audience using Facebook. On Twitter, monitor keywords related to your business to determine if anyone is mentioning your company.

Step Three: Ask your customers
Secondary research may not be enough to determine the value of a social media presence. At that point, it might be time to take the next step. Primary research provides a level of accuracy not offered by secondary research. Talking to your customers, either directly, through a survey, or a focus group, is a highly accurate way to determine whether or not social media should be a part of your marketing strategy.

These steps provide a solid platform for getting started in social media. CFM provides social media consulting programs for those interesting in getting started in social media or improving social media presences. For more information about CFM's social media consulting packages click here or contact Gary Conkling.

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