Which Social Media Marketing Platform is Right For Your Business?
In order to run a successful social media marketing campaign you need to know which platform will work best for your business. It's worth getting this right, as the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report* states that:
85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.
Large corporate businesses that may already be household names are going to have a very different approach to social media marketing than a small, local business - social media marketing is definitely not one size fits all!
While there are benefits to dipping your toe in the water of multiple social media sites, setting up multiple profiles and then not utilising them effectively may have a negative effect on your business image. It's probably worth concentrating your energy on a couple of the main social media platforms to ensure you get the most out of them, and only focus on other platforms if you know that they suit your business style or that you're getting a specific benefit.
If you really want to maximise time spent on social media, then the three main sites I would recommend are Facebook, Twitter and Google+
Social Media Platforms of Choice
Facebook is one of the most popular sites on the web and over the years has evolved a variable and integrated tool for business marketing. By creating a "page" for your business you're effectively creating a website on Facebook itself, allowing your followers to keep up to date with business news, offers and updates alongside status updates from their friends. With only a limited technical know how you can also use WordPress plug-ins (or equivalent!) to automatically post your blog posts to your Facebook page.
Facebook is very much a community so you'll probably find that your followers don't like anything overly sales related, but on the flip side the community spirit can allow for some great interaction with customers so it's ideal for building brand loyalty.
The shorter format of Twitter often means it's more difficult to really build a relationship with customers, however it's great for getting in touch and keeping up to date. Many businesses use Twitter primarily to release news, market their products, and direct attention to special offers and new content such as blog posts. Clever use of Hashtags (a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign) means that followers or users looking for information on a certain topic might find the information from your business even if they have never come across you before.
Twitter is a great way to get in touch with key influencers in your niche, simply follow them and start a conversation with them! As well as promoting your own blog post ideas, try retweeting good content that you find from other people; you'll find it's a great way to get in touch with a whole host of interesting people.
Click on the following link to learn How to Use Twitter for Business - 8 Tweeting Marvelous Tips
Google+ is a relative newcomer but is quickly becoming an important tool for businesses looking to increase their presence in the world of social media marketing. It may not be as popular as Facebook and Twitter, but don't feel this is a reason to ignore Google+ for business. Even if all you do is to create a Google+ page for your business it'll help you in the search engine rankings.
Google+'s circles allow you to customize your content by creating different groupings of followers that you can then market differently to. There is also a "Measure" feature to give businesses an interactive measurement of how their Google+ page is being used.
Come join us at our Big Thinking Online Google Plus Business Page.
The Best of the Rest.
If you feel you have more to gain from social media marketing and without stretching yourself too thinly then you might want to consider some of these sites too.
Linked in is essentially a business networking site and many people use it as an online CV and address book of past business contacts. Use LinkedIn groups to find like-minded people in your niche and engage in their community. Every time you post you get a link back to your profile or website.
Video marketing is hugely effective. It's also popular with the Search Engines and at the moment is a relatively less competitive way to rank as there are still fewer videos than blogs. YouTube is now also under Google's wing, another reason to at least have a profile and an introductory video.
If your business doesn't revolve around good looking images then Pinterest may not be right, but if you can tie in images and pictures to what you do then setting up a few pinboards could be a great way to showcase it. Anyone from Estate Agents, to Cake makers, furniture upholsterers or travel agents could possibly use Pinterest to build interest in their products.
The premise of Foursquare is around people checking in to a location so that their friends can see where they've been. Any business that relies on foot traffic coming through the door might do well to run offers or incentives on Foursquare.
Stumbleupon is a social bookmarking site where users can "thumb up" articles they like. Users can randomly "stumble" articles across different topics. If your business puts out a lot of specific information you can build a following on stumbleupon, and the more likes you get, the more people will stumble your stories. Stumbleupon can sometimes drive enormous traffic to specific blogs, although it is harder to convert stumblers to regular readers.
With Social Media Marketing you need to learn to play to your strengths learn what your customers like, where they like to interact and how they want to consume information from you.
Which social networks do you find suit your business best?