Eleanor Smith
Friday, 24 May 2024

So you want to be on SoMe? Think about these 6 things first.

There are so many social media platforms, where to start? I am surely not alone in feeling that the digital world is taking over. This article is the first in a series about social media (SoMe), which is just one element of digital communications. It’s intended for communication professionals and small business owners.

A positive development on many levels, digital communications and SoMe in particular also present challenges. The topic is vast. I will focus on SoMe and some platforms that I have experience with. Before that, I will present some things for you to think about. The decision of what platform(s) to use is up to you.

Mobile screen with a login page for Facebook. "Social media" spelled with Scrabble pieces.Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash.

Different platforms have different uses, purposes and audiences. Where to publish and promote your work all depends on what you want to achieve. Another important factor is your time and resources. As a solo entrepreneur working full or part time in your business, you'll have to make choices. You can’t be everywhere at once and expect success across all platforms.

Here are six things to think about before deciding where and what to publish.

1. Who’s it for?

Perhaps the most important question is: who do you want to see this article, picture, video, poem? Who is your audience?

Think about the following:

  • Age

  • Gender 

  • Geographical location

  • Profession

  • Personal situation

  • What challenge they may be facing

  • Other relevant factors (e.g. interests, hobbies).

2. Where are these people at?

Now that we have a better idea who our audience is, where are they? Where are these people hanging out? Where can you find them?

Things to think about:

  • Popularity of the platform

  • Population on different platforms (age, gender, etc.)

  • Characteristics of the users (professional or personal users, job, interests, etc.)

  • Trends on these channels (videos, stories, playfulness – see Sprout Social for Semrush for more).

3. What is your medium?

So you know who you want to reach and have an idea of where they are. This is important for deciding what platform to publish on. Instagram is better for pictures and videos, while LinkedIn is better for articles.

What medium are you using?

  • Words

  • Pictures

  • Videos

  • Products

  • Podcasts

  • Music (combined with another).

4. What do you want to achieve?

You know who you want to reach, where they are, what you're publishing. But now think about this: what do I actually want people to do as a result of seeing my post?

Do you want to:

  • Make people aware of something you think is important?

  • Give people more information about a topic of relevance?

  • Raise your own visibility as a professional in your field?

  • Get your brand out there?

  • Engage with your community and create a deeper relationship with each person that you reach?

  • Get someone to buy something?

  • Achieve something else?

Be honest and realistic here. It's important for your message and how you present it. Sure, you may want to achieve several of these results. With time and consistency, you may well be able to. However, for now, when you're starting out, keep it simple. Don't ask too much of your audience. Prefer publishing several SoMe posts with separate goals. 

5. What does your audience want?

A young man looking at the camera with a questioning look and gesturing with his hands. Photo by Oyemike Princewill on Unsplash.

So you know what you want, great. But what does your audience actually want? This is perhaps the most important and hardest question. Think of the viewer or reader, and how you can make your message appealing to them.

What do they want, what do they need? Can you put yourself in their shoes for a moment, as your post appears on their screen?

Do they want:

  • A social network

  • Advice

  • Information

  • News

  • Science

  • Inspiration

  • Curiosities

  • Distractions

  • Fun or entertainment

  • Products

  • Something else?

I hear you saying “How can I know what other people want or what they need? I'm not a mind reader!” Certainly we cannot know what other people want or need without them telling us. They might not even know themselves. This happens more often than we realise.

How often do you end up on a SoMe platform without remembering why you went there in the first place? Do you fall down the rabbit hole and keep scrolling? Are you conscious of why you are doing this? This is a fascinating subject for another time and goes beyond the scope of this article.

Nothing stops you from using some SoMe posts to ask your viewers or readers what they want. And what they want from you. This may deliver some interesting insight. You can also use the information you have from answering the first question: who's it for? Who's your audience?

Having a better idea of your audience will help you guess what they may want or need.

6. How can you help them?

Can you provide any of the things your audience wants? You have something to offer and promote but the most important question is perhaps this: what's in it for them?

  • Why should they care about you or your message?

  • How can you help them?

  • What do you think they might need that you can offer?

Like with the previous question, it can be a bit of a guessing game and that’s okay. Sometimes you'll succeed in sharing something they want, sometimes you won't. Sometimes your posts will help them and let's admit it, sometimes they won't. The more you post and are active, the more you'll find out over time.

What's up next?

In my next post I'll get you thinking about what you want to use your social media presence for. We'll consider some short- and long-term goals and I'll present some SoMe platforms that I have experience using.

SoMe platforms keep popping up, gaining popularity one day and losing ground the next. The whole world of digital communications seems to be in a constant flux. Fluid and impermanent like the ocean, ever churning and in transition. We just have to go with the flow and keep our eyes open for a change in the tide. We can always do better and we're never done learning.

Making choices about where to be and how much time to spend is crucial. Until next time!

Mobile srceen showing some SoMe icons. Photo by Dole on Unsplash.