How to turn your social efforts into gold

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Getting started

To assess which social media platforms are the right fit for your target audience and loyal customers, start by collecting the following information:

Mine analytics data
Add source code tags to all your inbound social links to track what is driving existing traffic to your website.

Survey existing customers and email subscribers
Ask 1,000 of your best customers about their social media habits.

Tap demographic information
Since Facebook accounts for 90 percent of social media usage, you absolutely need to build strategies for this. The demographic profiles of other social networks can help you identify the best matches. For example, 79 percent of Pinterest users are female and 60 percent of Twitter users are female, while Google+ is 71 percent male.

How to turn your social efforts into gold

Secondary to your own customer data, the following grid suggests which social networks are the best fits for each stage of the customer lifecycle.

For each stage, the most successful brands do more than simply post website links and promotional codes; they fully integrate social activity into the shopping experience. Social media opens up many more opportunities to interact with your customers. Your goal should not be to control the message but to participate in it.