87% of Australians access the internet on a daily basis, and 60% use social media at the same rate. With this number increasing year on year, you need to ensure that you think through your social media strategy so as to drive you towards your business objectives.

People use social media to connect with others, document their lives, learn about news and culture and finally, to connect with brands. Roughly one-third of Australian social media users follow businesses or brands, and there’s no surprise that people under 30 years old are more likely to do so.

With the right content, media and audience, social media can drive awareness, conversation, trial of product and eventual purchase. But what are some of the things to consider when thinking about your social media presence?

1. Define Your Purpose

Entrepreneur Avinash Kaushik famously said in 2009, “Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how and when it’s done they’re surprised it wasn’t better.”

Things haven’t changed. Every man and his dog is on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram but for many brands, the purpose remains unclear. In 2015, 81% of Australian small business owners claimed that they didn’t have a social media strategy.

Before you launch, make sure you know what you want out of your social media presence. Understand your objective and remember that there isn’t one clear-cut recipe for success. Focus your energy on the channels where your target audience is active and do a few things well.

2. Plan Ahead

Social media is just another touch-point in your marketing strategy. Establish a clear social tone of voice and visual look and feel for your brand on social media. Everyone’s a creator these days which makes many of us design snobs. Are you more likely to follow an Instagram account that’s carefully curated or one that looks like Google images + iStock had a baby?

Save yourself the daily stress of finding content to post and create a weekly or monthly content calendar so that you can focus on other areas of your business

3. Don’t Set and Forget

Even though the content is scheduled, switching off until the next planning session will do you no good. Check your social channels regularly and if there’s a need to swap or delay content, do. There’s nothing worse than going live with a pre-scheduled post on the same day as an international disaster.

Take notice of the way people respond to your content. Gather insights around successful content and the pieces that bombed and then apply those learnings to the next batch of content. The more you’re in-tune with you audience, the more successful your social media.

4. Social Media: Be Present and Active

Social media is like a dinner party. You want to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable and welcome. The golden rule: don’t spam or scam people. People don’t want to be spoken at anymore – they want to be part of the conversation, and that takes a conscious effort.

Actively engage with your followers to keep them coming back for more. Encourage and reward social sharing. User generated content is your greatest friend and remember: if you don’t ask, they won’t tell.

5. Use Influencers and Brand Advocates

92% of people report trusting the recommendations of other individuals, even if they don’t know them, over brands. Find people who represent your brand values authentically. Better yet, find the people who are already doing what you want them to do. Co-create with them to further your reach across social channels.

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So there are five tips, but there’s one more that is the most important of them all. Set up an account, play around and have some fun. It’s called social media for a reason.

Guest Author

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