This last week has found me immersed in social media madness. Not only have I been reactivating old channels (hello, Twitter, my old friend,) but I’m finally delving into platforms like Instagram that I should have explored long ago.
Of course, dabbling in a social media channel can hardly be considered strategy. In fact, millions of would-be media mavens abandon their efforts every day, mainly because they didn’t have a plan in the first place. Thus, a big part of my strategy involves interlinking my channels through the magic of IFTTT and other autopublishing tools to make sure that fresh content persists through these various channels to reach the intended audience of each. Blog posts from the Chariot Learning website autopost to our company LinkedIn page and Twitter account. Instagram posts appear on our TestBeast Tumblr and my personal LinkedIn stream. Everything shows up on our Facebook page. This lattice of content doesn’t even include activity on Quora, Reddit, or whatever online forums make sense for a particular piece, but every action ties into what I hope is a unifying strategy.
Anyone grappling with questions related to content marketing and social media–which is to say, nearly everyone–should consider how closely their current activity aligns with their end goals. For example, if you run a boutique test prep firm, are you tailoring your message to your prospective clients? More important, are you broadcasting to your prospective clients or, more likely, just whistling in the wind? Social media strategy for tutors and everyone else should begin with a clear sense of who, what, where, when, why, and how.
WHO are you trying to reach?
Every aspect of your social media campaigns should appeal to your target buyer. For example, most K-12 tutors feel comfortable writing academic pieces targeted towards their ideal students. Unfortunately, a lot of that effort is wasted on the parents actually writing the checks.
WHAT should you post?
If your social media presence defines your brand, what values are you transmitting? Consider carefully, but also realize that many of your competitors don’t even have brands to define.
WHERE should you post?
Choice of social media channel depends on other aspects of your strategy. If, for example, you do want to connect with K-12 students, you probably don’t want to focus your efforts on Facebook and LinkedIn, though you’ll have more luck finding their parents on those sites.
WHEN should you post.
While each platfom requires its own optimal rhythm, the answer to when is never, “Intermittently, if at all.”
WHY are you posting in the first place?
Marketing wizard John Jantsch eloquently summarizes what most businesspeople aspire to in social media: “You must use content as your voice of strategy, and the best way to do this is to produce content that focuses on education and building trust – all based on your core business objectives and message.”
HOW can you execute effectively?
Every aspect of an effective social media presence taps a different competency, so build on your strengths. Educators, at least successful ones, excel at educating others, so tutors would do well to start there. However, real results come when you can continually grow and develop the diverse skill set required to move your strategy forward.
Developing your social media strategy should begin before you sign up for your first social channel, but never really ends. In fact, the longer you broadcast, the more focused your message may become. Start exploring and building your social brand as soon as you can begin answering the initial social media strategy questions. As your answers change, make sure your social strategy follows.