Why research is important before you start social media

People tend to assume that social media is easy. You've got a personal Facebook page, right? How hard can it be to run a business page? Well, it's harder than you think.  There's a lot more to running a professional business account on social media than posting selfies and your political views. And one important thing you've got to do is your homework. 


Research is an important part of nailing your business's social media presence. Understanding what content works where,  when to post and how to drive engagement aren't skills you get on your personal page. To help steer you in the right direction, we suggest you do your homework before you launch your business on social media. 

In fact, the first thing you've got to do is get to know your audience. Any good social media manager will conduct focused research on your business' target audience online. Questions to start asking include: Is your audience on social media? What are their favourite platforms? How do they engage?

It's easy to forget to ask yourself these questions, but they are vital. Let me paint a picture to better illustrate this. You have an established dental practice. It's been running for many years now, and your patients are mainly of the older generation or regulars you've known for years. You're looking to grow.

Your practice is on Facebook, Twitter and has a website. and you're posting regular content. In return, you're seeing great engagement on Facebook and traffic to your website, but only a handful of followers on Twitter. 

What's the problem? Well, you probably haven't looked hard enough at your audience. If you did, you might find that they don't use Twitter, or they don't use it to find information you're putting out there.  

That's not to say that your dental practice - or any business for that matter - should shy away from the Twitterverse. In fact, I highly suggest news aggregators, trend setters and business owners with big personalities get stuck in. But for many small businesses, it just doesn't generate ROI.

You've got to be critical of social media the same way you're critical of  advertisement in newspapers, flyers and on radio. Just as taking out an ad in the right magazine is important, so is devoting time and resources to the right social media platform. If you do that, you're guaranteed to get the results you seek.