March 17, 2015

When the Basics Aren't So Basic: The 5 W's of Social Media

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Ahhh, the 5 W’s: five words that shaped the five questions for basic information gathering for centuries. This ancient method for forming a story is more relevant than ever when building or evaluating a social media campaign.

Posting on Facebook or Tweeting seems simple enough, but posting without purpose can be deadly. Consumers are bombarded with information as they swipe up and down on their Twitter or Facebook; and in mere seconds followers choose to acknowledge your post or click the unfollow button. That’s why it’s important to regularly evaluate your company’s 5 W’s when using social media:

Who are your customers? Your customer is not everyone. Knowing who your target audience is allows you to mold your social media content into something meaningful. It takes a matter of seconds for someone to share or like your message. It takes just as long for them to unfollow or unlike. When boosting posts, be aware of who you are boosting to. If information reaches a user and it’s irrelevant, you’ve lost an opportunity.

What are you providing them? Before you can decide what you will provide through social media, it’s crucial to know your company’s personality. Being able to showcase that while providing relevant information through these platforms will set you apart. Are you providing promotions, company history, industry knowledge? Always work towards being the thought leader but remember that the unsubscribe button is a click away. Mix up your content with fun, engaging posts.

When will you promote it? With the amount of power and information at consumers’ fingertips today, it’s important to be knowledgeable about when to promote and when not to. Yes, content can be posted at anytime (Hooray, freedom!) But should it be? No. Regularly review your social media statistics to find out when your target audience is more likely to be reached.

Where are you promoting? Location, location, location. Not all platforms work for every company. Knowing how your target audience is receiving information and why they are making purchasing decisions will be key. Have you found greater success on Facebook over Twitter? Look into why that is. Make sure you are utilizing each platform by creating content suitable for it and the audience it caters to. Remember, not all platforms are alike. Be aware of what your audience is using each for and adjust accordingly.

Why them? Being able to answer this question will allow you to better serve your audience. Why this group over another? Do they demonstrate a greater need for your offerings? Is this group easily reachable via Facebook versus Twitter? Knowing why you’ve targeted a group allows you to polish up your strategy and get the right information into the right hands.

Separately, these are only five words, but together, they generate key questions to ask when creating and reviewing your social media campaign. Platforms, trends and algorithms are constantly changing, and it’s crucial to continually educate yourself to recognize what the next steps are, not what the next step is. Revisit and reshape your 5 W’s so you are moving with change and not reacting to it.