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One of the objectives that we, as marketers, should all have is to engage with our target audience. Otherwise what would be the point of being in business? There are many ways we can reach out to our potential customers – website, email, paid ads, direct mail, etc. As effective as these methods can be, they are mostly one-sided conversations. You, the business, is delivering your message to your potential customer. 

In 2020, consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to spending their time and money. This means you have to be more receptive to their needs. You have to be open to hearing their thoughts, comments, and even complaints. There is only one marketing channel that enables businesses to do this in an effective and timely manner. 

That is social media. Social media is unique amongst the marketing channels because you are able to generate a conversation with your audience in ways you have never been able to before. You can address concerns, answer questions, direct them towards helpful content, or even close a sale. Social media can be a very powerful method of communication. 

Another way social media is unique is that it evolves at a quicker rate than email marketing, website, or traditional methods. Advances in technology result in established platforms changing to meet user demands and new platforms to be developed to address different niches or to possibly be the new social media flavor of the month. 

As social media changes, so do the rules that businesses must play by. Let’s take a look at some best practices for social media in 2020.

Find Your Niche

When it comes to finding your niche in social media, we are not talking about your unique value proposition. That is a discussion for another blog. This is really speaking about your target audience. As you define your target audience, you create customer personas. These personas give you a better idea of who your customer is so you can better speak to them and their pain points. 

As you do this, you think of their likes and dislikes. For instance maybe you have a younger audience who likes to play video games. There is a social media platform devoted to gamers called Twitch. They offer paid advertising on their platform. If paid advertising is part of your plan, this could be a way to target your audience. 

Another way would be to drill down to one of the most popular platforms like Facebook. Rather than settle on using Facebook because your audience is there, try to determine how they use the platform. Do they participate in groups? If so, is there a group devoted to your industry?

When it comes to finding your niche, it could be a smaller social platform or finding a more targeted way to use a larger one. 

Make It Personal 

Your audience has a lot coming at them everyday. From 24-hour news and sports, to an endless array of streaming options, as well as mobile gaming; your audience does not lack for ways to be kept busy or entertained.

This means it is harder for your content to stand out. Help your audience take notice of you by making it personal. 

There are two ways to do this. 

First is make sure you understand your target audience and their pain points. Speak directly to those pain points. Make sure your audience knows that you understand the impact those pain points are having on their life. 

Second way is to show off the people behind the brand. This means doing some behind-the-scenes videos or giving some personal information on the business and the people that work there. You do not have to give private details, but information on why they do what they do softens the edges of your business and helps create connections with your audience. 

Making it personal really means reaching out to your audience to form a deeper connection

Engaging Content 

As stated above, your audience has a lot of options when it comes to how they spend their time. If you want them to care about what you are saying then it has to be engaging. In 2020, this most likely means video content

Not everything you do has to be video related, but it needs to be something that will get your target audience to stop and pay attention to what you are doing. It could be a video, or a great picture, or an infographic with a lot of good information.

Another option is content they can actually interact with like quizzes or checklists. This is also a great way to build a list of email addresses. 

Relevant Content

Another content-related point is that it has to be relevant. If you are not speaking to the concerns of your audience, then they have no incentive to care. 

Before you begin creating marketing content, make sure you understand your customer profile and are able to identify their pain points. This will allow you to create content that speaks to their needs. 

Be Authentic

Social media is a great way to develop relationships with your target audience. Because you are speaking to their needs and addressing them, you are laying the foundations for trust. 

Build upon that by being authentic. This can mean sharing stories about you and your business. Or it can be owning up to a mistake. Again, you want your audience to see more than the logo when they see messaging from you. Being authentic is a great way to do that. 

Be A Resource

Another way to build trust is to be a resource. Throughout this blog I have spoken to addressing their needs in hopes to potentially make a sale. It helps to be a resource, even if there is no chance of making money. 

This can mean answering questions or even recommending a competitor if you believe you are not the correct solution for them. These are both things I have done before and I have always benefited in the long-run.

Use Data

Because there are so many options when it comes to social media, it helps to be able to make smarter decisions about how you spend your time. Using data to understand what your audience is responding to and what they are not responding to helps you make better decisions. 

By analyzing the data provided by the different platforms you can see what conten is generating a response from your audience. You can choose to double down on this type of content or potentially try to improve the other forms if you believe there is merit to do so. In either case, you need data to make those decisions. 

Social media is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact it is only going to get bigger and more relevant. If you wish to stay relevant, you must understand what the current rules are and incorporate them into how you use the various social platforms.

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