Are you tired of wasting your time messing around on social media platforms that have no ROI?
Have you been active on social media for a while and feel that you’re ready to add a new platform into the mix but are not sure if you should be tweeting, pinning or Instagramming?
Or, are you new to online marketing and wondering which social media platforms to invest your time and effort in?
Social media is a powerful marketing tool that you should leverage to attract new customers, engage your audiences, and strengthen relationships.
But, keep in mind that you do not own nor do you control your social media platforms and they can be very fickle – as we all found out when Facebook changes the rules.
The real purpose of social media is to direct your audience members to the online location that you own and can control – your website/blog. So that you can convert social media followers to email subscribers and eventually loyal customers.
4 questions you need to ask before choosing your social media platforms:
1| Who is your target audience?
Who are you trying to reach via social media? Create a complete profile of your targeted customer. Age, sex, marital status, annual income, where they live, number of kids, what car do they drive, education level, etc.
You should also know where they spend the majority of their time online, what keep them up at night and why they should buy from you.
Defining your target audience will help you engage with actual customers rather than a random audience. People can engage with you from anywhere in the world.
For example if your restaurant is located in a Miami suburb and the majority of your online audience is from Australia. You might have a lot of fans/followers but it’s not going to help your bottom line.
Use social media as part of your content marketing strategy. Share not only content that you created, but also articles or posts created by a third party that will interest your audience.
For example, a wedding planner will link her latest post on her Facebook Page but can also link a Brides Magazine’s article on catering that her audience might find useful.
Post content that your audience will want to share; remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of what you post should contain non-self-promoted, entertaining and industry related content and 20% can be self-promoted.
3| Do you have the time to spend on social media?
Social media is … SOCIAL! Engaging with your audience is the way to earn their trust and loyalty. Your followers want to learn about your small business, know that you are listening and it takes time.
Sometimes, small business owners do not realize the amount of time required to create or find relevant content to post and engage with their audience.
You need to be consistent with posting updates, status and comments.
4| What are you marketing?
Are you offering services to other businesses (B2B) or are you selling to consumers (B2C) online and/or offline (brick-and-mortar store)? Do you sell visually appealing products?
Here is an overview of six of the most popular social media platforms:
Facebook is the social media giant. 72% of adult internet users are on Facebook. A Closer Look AtFacebook
This platform is easy to learn and use and stands alone in its ability to create a huge and relevant audience quickly. A Closer Look At Twitter
LinkedIn is more business focused, you don’t have followers or fans … you make connections. It’s a strong platform for business-to-business (B2B) allowing you to connect to specific decision makers better than any other social media platforms.
Demographics: popular among college graduates and those in higher-income households. It is the only platform where those ages 30-64 are more likely to be users than those ages 18-29.
Complete your LinkedIn profile, fill out as much as possible.
Use a professional headshot.
Upload your email contacts and start connecting with people who already know you.
Take advantage of groups within your niche to find new connections.
Develop authority with LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
Share curated content.
Minimum time requirement: 1 hour per week
It’s the platform where people come to be inspired. A Closer Look AtPinterest
Owned by Facebook since April, 2012, Instagram is a popular photo-sharing app for smartphones. It’s about sharing moments, visually. A Closer Look AtInstagram
A bit more formal than Facebook, it’s the social network build by Google. This is where deep conversations are happening about a very specific topic.
Demographics: Google+ is male dominated, the most active Google+ users fall into the 16 to 34 age range, the biggest segments are students, tech-oriented professionals and photographers.
Post relevant content daily, include keywords.
Google+ Hangouts has become one of the platform’s most popular tools. It’s a good way to connect with your audience.
Use hashtags to reach more people.
Follow active people and pages.
Find active communities that are related to your business.
Take time to comment and engage.
Minimum time requirement: 1 hour per week
How to choose your social media platforms
Although it’s tempting to try to be present on every social network, choose your social media platforms based on:
Where your target audience(s) spend their time online? Find out by surveying your customers about which platform they use the most.
Type of business: are you offering services to other businesses (B2B) or are you selling to consumers (B2C) online and/or offline (brick-and-mortar store)?
Research your business online: are people already talking about you on Facebook or twitter?
The platform that you feel more comfortable with.
Social media marketing is not as easy as it looks, handled carelessly or without a strategy, it can be ineffective, or worse – a waste of your limited time and resources.
Focus on one or two social media platforms first and use them really well and add additional channels as time permits.