Social media. It’s where the virtual world is happening, live and personal – every hour of every day of the year. People are online not simply to let the world know what they are doing and thinking but to find out what others are doing and thinking and… buying, whether it’s services or products. This person wants to know what and where that person purchases her “things”. Thus, for a small business—if you want in on this action and to thrive from it—you need to be there, too. That is, you need to be on social media, but you need to be doing it strategically. If you do that, then you will benefit from a better return on your investment (ROI). Here are some tips on how to optimize your online strategy for a better ROI.

What is an online strategy?

An online strategy is more than having a website. It’s more than having an excellent website that is user-friendly. The latter is imperative but it’s not the end-all. You need to complement your website with an online strategy that includes engaging your customers/clients or potential customers/clients. One method is social media. 

Social media can be scary. First, there are so many platforms and the number alone is daunting enough. But second, it requires skill and constant upkeep. You must always be adding new content to social media. You must engage customers. You must respond to their comments and queries. This kind of strategy will help you receive a better ROI. But like having a great website, you must plan your social media strategy in order to make it work to your benefit.

How do you use social media to optimize your online strategy?

To use social media effectively as an optimizing tool, you need to know your people, your potential clients, or your potential customers. And you need to know which social media platforms will work best for you, which ultimately means also knowing your clients: who they are, what they like, and what social media platforms are they most likely to use. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you develop your online strategy using social media.

1. Who is your targeted audience?

To understand your client, you may have to do a little research. When doing so, keep the below in mind:

  • Look at who your customer base is currently. Who purchases your services or products? 
  • Determine who your competition is. Who is the competition targeting? You may want to distinguish yourself from the competition’s targeted audience.
  • Understand your customer base by their personal traits, like age, gender, income, education, family status, geographical location, occupation, and/or ethnic background.
  • Understand your customer base’s psychographics. What are their values, interests, lifestyles, and/or behaviors, among other things?

Understanding these things better will help you narrow down who exactly your targeted audience is.

2. What social media platforms are available?

There are many social media platforms from which to choose. The more commonly used platforms include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Flickr
  • Reddit
  • Snapchat
  • WhatsApp
  • Quora
  • Periscope
  • Blogs
  • Vlogs 

3. Which social media platforms will work best for you?

To identify which social media platforms will work best for you, you need to align your customer base with the platform. Young millennials love Instagram and Snapchat while professionals prefer LinkedIn. Both will use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. 

Regardless of which social media you choose to best engage your targeted audience, you want to keep in mind the amount of time and energy you will need to put into this effort. So, choose wisely. Don’t choose a lot of platforms and then get bogged down with the upkeep and lose out on all the benefits. Choose one or two platforms that you can really dig into and keep fresh and active.

Are there ways to maximize your social media presence to facilitate better ROI?

There are ways to maximize your ROI. There are people known as social media influencers. These are people who have garnered a pretty good following and, as such, have influential power that can be powerful for you. Basically, you find an influencer in your niche and retain his or her services to test your service/product and then let their followers know all about it. There are different influencer levels for different wants and needs. 

This type of marketing is cheaper than traditional advertising and has proven to be extremely effective. The influencer marketing industry is projected to reach $10 billion by 2020. That amount is worth noting and worth considering.

And if used right and in conjunction with your social media tools, you will be on your way to optimizing performance and generating results.