These days, communications people are almost always challenged to develop a social media strategy.  Sometimes, that’s all clients actually want.  I have a different take – I like a communications strategy that first and foremost identifies the “audience” for the messages you want to get out.

A full appreciation of who you want to talk to helps define where you need to focus.  So, if your audience lives on Twitter or Facebook or Snapchat or some other social media platform, you go to where they are. On the other hand, if your audience is listening the radio or watching TV or reading newspapers, that is where you need to focus your efforts.

That doesn’t mean that I advocate a single-minded focus. Rather, that you prioritize your vehicles and develop your communications according to your priorities.  The less well understood the audience and its habits are, the more diluted your distribution vehicles of choice will be. That dilution can cost you time and effort. For example, if your audience still uses e-mail as their primary communications vehicle, crafting clever Instagram posts is likely not the best use of your time.  Conversely, if your audience doesn’t read newspapers in any format, a well-positioned op-ed in a major paper isn’t going to do the job either.

For some, the idea of focusing on more traditional vehicles can feel uncomfortable.  They are concerned that they aren’t with the times.  Focus doesn’t exclude having a social media strategy.  Your social media strategy may be a full-on proactive offensive where your resources are spent engaging your audiences in dialogues all day, every day.  Or it might be a defensive one – monitoring platforms for issues and responding as needed.  You may not need to be omnipresent but consistently on guard and always ready to correct or persuade.  Both the offensive and the defensive approaches are strategies but each has a very different expenditure of time and effort and requires a different mindset.

What communication strategy is right for your business? The one that enables you to get your message to your audience and create a dialogue with them that builds your business and your good reputation. Click To TweetBefore making an investment in any vehicle – social or traditional – taking the time to understand your audience will deliver results that matter.