How to Pick the Social Network That’s Right for You

An effective social strategy is adaptable, photo-centric—and focused on the channels that matter to your clients

Social media strategy. For many small retailers, this phrase inspires anxiety. But creating a blueprint for how and when to engage with your consumers on social media is actually a low-stakes—and potentially high-reward—proposition.

How so? Social media welcomes experimentation, and even failure. If your Instagram campaign doesn’t get any engagement, you can scrap it over breakfast and have a new and improved one ready to debut by lunch. If the video series you splurged on doesn’t make a big splash, you might try a do-it-yourself effort next time that’s ultimately more effective. 

A good social media strategy is forever changing—adapting to market conditions, shifts in engagement and consumer shopping behaviors, and in-store initiatives, among other factors.

What goes into creating an effective campaign? We asked Johanna Miller, a Washington, D.C.–based social media consultant, to share her top tips for creating a social strategy that delivers.

Find Your Audience

First, you need to pinpoint the platforms that will work for your brand. Miller urges marketers to ask themselves, “Is my audience here?” when contemplating any new platform. “Where do your buyers hang out? Wherever that is, that’s where you want to be.” If your store’s bread and butter is bridal, for instance, you absolutely need to be on Instagram. If you’re a high-end vintage dealer, however, posting to Snapchat may leave you feeling like you’re talking to the breeze. 

It’s a big mistake when brands just assume they need to be on all the platforms,” Miller says. “They end up spreading themselves too thin and aren’t focused on doing just a couple of things really well.” Her advice is to concentrate on two or three platforms, and let the others languish until there’s good reason to add them.

Create a Budget

For a brand, marketing on social media isn’t expensive—but it’s no longer free. Any solid strategy will include a budget, however small, for advertising and to “boost” social posts. Why? The platforms are constantly changing their algorithms to make it harder for businesses to get eyeballs on their content. 

Facebook is one platform that’s definitely pay-to-play. The network has made it impossible for brands to post to their entire base of followers without paying at least a pittance to “boost” the content. It’s not pricey, and any little bit of cash you can put behind your posts helps get them in front of more followers. “If you could even put $2 toward Facebook ads per day,” Miller says, “you would already be getting much more visibility.”

Think Visuals

A good social strategy for a jewelry business should be heavy on opportunities to showcase beautiful jewelry. That means photo-centric channels like Pinterest and Instagram should receive priority. 

“Pinterest would be very important for a jewelry brand,” Miller explains, “because over 90 percent of active Pinterest users are looking for things to buy.” She adds that Pinterest advertising is also a great way to boost brand awareness. “And there aren’t a lot of brands advertising on Pinterest, so the opportunity is huge right now—you’ll have more visibility.”

Instagram is another virtual billboard that jewelry brands would be wise to explore. “I see Instagram as a place full of shoppers,” Miller says. “And you don’t have to push someone to like a brand on Instagram—it’s just what they do when they’re there and they find you.” Make sure you’re there to be discovered. 

(Mmdi/Getty Images)

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