‘If you don’t know where you’re going and don’t know whom you want to reach, you’re going nowhere and will be reaching no one.’
This was one of the takeaways we received from the keynote speaker an international social media summit I attended. Building a strategy is the key to reach your target group (see a helpful strategic planning method here). Although it is important not to push your message while you engage with them, it is smart to be strategic about WHOM you want to reach and HOW you are planning to do that.
In social media it is important to know very clearly what your organization’s core identity is. What is your mission? If this is not clear you can’t build any solid strategy, online or offline. The mission represents the personality of your organization. In the middle of all the noise on social media it is important to stand out. The better you know your mission, the better you are able to create content that will help you to stand out in the midst of this noise. A clear mission is like a personality and is unique for every organization (otherwise you should merge)!
If you know clearly what the core identity of your organization is then it is important to think about whom you want to reach. Who is your persona? ‘Persona’ is the word that is used on social media to define the exact audience you are targeting. In this article you can also find persona’s that are developed based on biblical references. But I want to challenge you to think through some of these questions before you take a look at them (the more detailed you are in thinking this through, the more accurate your strategy will be in the end).
It is useless to invest time and resources on a social media platform if your ‘persona’ is not there.
Whom do you want to reach? Think of: Age, gender, religion, animistic beliefs, geography, language, education, economic situation, needs, worldview, culture, social status and situation, how they like to spend their free time, what is on their mind, how they feel, etc. As many details as you can think of. I know different organizations that actually gave their persona a name, connected a picture to this profile and shared this with people they work with in order to help them reach their target audience.
If you have a clear idea on what your mission is and whom you want to reach it is important to find out what platforms your target group is using. It is useless to invest time and resources on a social media platform if your persona is not there right?! For instance, if you want to reach teens they may not be on Instagram (anymore) but if you build a presence on TikTok or (Twitch if they’re gamers) you might be more successful. Sometimes it can be wise to use different platforms if your target audience is using one platform to read articles and the other to get inspiration through pictures and quotes.
Of course there is a lot more to say about strategy. But the last thing I want to highlight in this article has to do with ‘content’ and ‘tone of voice’. Every platform demands its own way of presenting your content. When you only have 140 characters to share your message (like Twitter), you have to capture things in a square picture (like Instagram) or you have to find your way into the rules and regulations of organizations in the ‘thumbs up’ network (like Facebook) all these require a slightly tweaked approach and different tone of voice.
Let’s bring all of these strategy elements together with an example. One team’s mission is to advance the great commission. Their persona focuses on Muslims disillusioned with Islam. To see if they’re succeeding in the mission, they regularly evaluate how their Facebook platform is contributing towards making disciples who make disciples.
See how storytelling can improve your social media strategy. Read the next article.