Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Google Plus. Tumblr. Instagram. Flickr. VK. MySpace.
I’m sure you are familiar with most of these platforms. But what of these: Tagged. Meetup. Ask.fm. MeetMe or ClassMates? I can bet you have never heard of these. Yet this list of fifteen represents the top social media networking sites, according to Alexa.com Global Traffic Rank.
The concept of social media is to provide a platform that allows users to share information online. This sharing runs into a dialogue where the ensuing interaction can be used for getting customer feedback, networking with others, growing the business brand etc.
This simplistic definition hides the hydra that using social media effectively can become.
The need for social acceptance in ever shrinking pools of like-minded people, has created a slew of niche social media platforms. That is why you have platforms that are region specific, age specific even device specific. Ever heard of Viddy or WeHeartIt? Well, these are some of the smaller but rapidly growing networks launched in the past few years.
Small businesses have questions like :
- How do you sign up to all?
- How do you update all?
- Should you post the same updates?
- Do you really need to be on all?
Not having a clear direction, causes them to abandon the idea of using social media, and that is a big FAIL in todays’ business environment.
You have heard of Paretos’ Law i.e. “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes ”. It is an old principle but is quite true, in business, in economics, in wealth distribution etc. How does this apply to getting social?
Simple. You don’t need to sign up to all 300 social networks. Find your 20% that will yield 80% of your results. To do this, you need to examine your business and find answers to these four queries:
1. Who is your audience : You are in business to make sales, but who are you selling to? Business to Business or Business to Customer? If B2B; what size is the company; what is their turnover etc.? If B2C; what is the age, sex, education level, income of your average customer? This data will aid in creating content that you will put out there.
2. Where do they hang out : Moving on from identifying your audience, find the sites they frequent. You can spy on the influencers in your niche and see where they are interacting with their customers. That should give you a clue about where they prefer to hang out. You can also get some of this data using sites like Quantcast and Alexa.
3. What is your main focus : Why do you need social media? Do you need an outlet for customer engagement? Or are you seeking potential collaboration? Is it simply going to be another source of traffic and inbound links to your company website? Different platforms offer different bonuses for using them. Twitter is excellent for keeping your followers ‘in the know’ regarding company deals while YouTube is best as an extra traffic source, especially if your product lends itself to video demonstrations.
4. What can you afford : Many small businesses are on a strict budget. With marketing off line, doing SEO, investing in an social strategy is yet another cost. Simply handing off all your social media interactions to an intern is a disaster waiting to happen. Many companies find this out the hard way.
Are you willing to be active on a number of platforms and employ a dedicated social media department or an SEO agency to handle it? Or would you rather focus on one and do it yourself. Examine your budget and decide. Can you really:
- Create a relevant page
- Update regularly with quality content;
- Actively and consistently promote the page
- Interact with fans; all by yourself?
Answering these questions will help you see what your company has to offer. You can now start to align your product/service with the network that suits you best. Over time, you can use other networks too, but I recommend you start off with two. Even after all this, ensure you monitor traffic and conversions. Find out what your audience likes and responds to.
At Search and More, we create effective marketing campaigns to help small businesses connect with their customer.
Are you still using LinkedIn to try to drum up interest for your wooden bowtie business? Contact us and let’s get you on the right social network for your business.