In my job, I see a lot of business owners who have accounts with all the major social media platforms, but aren't seeing the results that they had hoped. They believe the hype, that with a very limited outlay, they can expect a flood of new business overnight. But, social media is very much like the offline world, where tenacity and consistency are required qualities to see results in your social media efforts.
Another requirement is strategy. People with small and medium sized businesses are working to a budget. It is therefore necessary to assess which social media platforms will give them the results the quickest, for the least outlay. I recommend that you only sign up to two social media platforms, and focus on building followers and engagement. Quality over Quantity!!
Firstly, you need to know who you client is.
Entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of not assessing the characteristics of their ideal client, in their eagerness to setup their online business. They may have a vague idea that someone in Alaska might want to buy their woolly ear-muffs, but they haven't really thought it through. Rather than floundering in the dark, you need to sit down and really think about the type of client you want to attract to buy your products or services. This will then help you determine which social media platforms are a good fit for your business.
A basic profile of your ideal client should include their age, gender, income bracket, and buying habits. You can then market directly to them though the appropriate social media sites, they will buy your products and services, and hopefully come back in the future and buy more.
A few tips before you start choosing your social media accounts:
#1 What is the size of your budget? Look at each social media site, and think about which will give you the best return.
#2 Do you have time to work on the social media sites, is someone else within your business, or are you outsourcing?
#3 Quality over quantity! Don't sign up for every social media site, unless you have unlimited funds...Determine which is most relevant to your business.
#4 Have a clear social media strategy. Work out a plan that you can realistically implement.
#5 Stay focused! Don't lose your business focus whilst you are learning and implementing social media.
#6 Keep calm! Don't get frustrated by your social media efforts, it takes time to build up a reputation and achieve results.
Here is a list of the most popular and effective social media channels:
By far the largest social media channel, with an estimated 1.28 billion people using the site every month. But recently younger people have been leaving the site in droves, or simply not joining. 3.3 million American users aged 13 to 17 years old have left Facebook since 2011, as well as another 3.4 million people who are 18 to 24.
On a positive note, the demographic of older people using the site has increased, with the biggest increase among adults over the age of 55. Facebook added 12.4 million new users from this age range, a massive 80.4 percent growth.
But, due to the changes in algorithms, it is now more difficult for your posts to get seen in your fans newsfeed; approximately 5% of your fans will see your content, according to a recent study.
- Ideal for local businesses, as clients will seek out your page for updates, opening times, events etc.,
- Great site to interact with your clients, and for customer service
- Can showcase your products and services
- Through paid advertising, you can target your clients
- Your updates only get seen by small percentage of your fans
- You need to be posting a lot of content, every day
- To be really effective, you need to pay for advertising, which can be costly
Twitter has approximately 255 million monthly users. It is known as a platform for breaking news. You can use the hashtag feature to keep up with the latest trends and news events. It is also a great way to connect with your customers.
- Twitter is huge. Even if your business is small, with a unique niche, you can still find an audience on twitter.
- Everything you tweet goes out to your followers, unless you tweet someone directly
- Easy to create a tweet, and can be effective.
- You can get to the point of your message. With only 140 characters, you can't beat around the bush!
- Quick, taking less than a minute to write a tweet.
- It is busy, with over 340 million tweets per day, with users following several hundred profiles.
- You need to tweet more than just a couple of times a day, otherwise your tweets get buried.
- If you can't express yourself in 140 characters or less, then this site isn't for you!
With over 300 million active monthly users, it is far more popular than people think. It has great features, such as hangouts, +1's, shares and hashtags, which can result in a lot of interaction and engagement.
- Google hangouts, a free way of making your own video, which can also be sent to Youtube.
- Great search engine results for your business, as Google+ is Google.
- If your business is in the IT or tech niches, a lot of these people are early adopters of google+
- You still need to be very active on the site
- Has a relatively small reach. Many businesses and individuals are still not using this site.
This is a photo sharing site, originally seen as a place for bored housewives to pin recipes, and dresses.
With 70 million active monthly users, you may dismiss this social media platform, but don't be so hasty! One of the fastest growing social media platforms, the majority of users are women, educated, with good incomes. It generates more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
- Ideal if your client base is female, and you sell products
- You can quickly generate traffic to your site, within a small amount of time
- Your content can be active for months after you have pinned it
- You have a distinct advantage if you produce quality images
- More difficult to market your products or services if you have very few images, but still possible!
- A lot of companies are still not using pinterest, therefore if your services or products are B2B, then uptake make be slow
Linked has over active monthly users. It is the largest social media network for business people and professionals, resulting in many opportunities to build relationships and sales leads. It is a far more serious site than Facebook or Twitter, with users wanting professional and informative information. One of its more powerful features is Groups, where users can share informative information in their niche area.
- Ideal for B2B companies
- LinkedIn groups are an ideal place to network and share content
- Establish yourself as industry expert
- Make business contacts
- initially can take time to build connections
- More difficult to market you products if you have an ecommerce business
So, choose carefully! Assess which social media sites fit best with your brand and budget, choose the two that fit the best, then post quality content and engage with people on the platforms. Remember, quality, not quantity!
Photo Credit: Social Media Platforms and Business Choices/shutterstock