In today's hyper-paced business atmosphere, executives and marketers alike are often way too overwhelmed with day-to-day chaos to spend too much time pondering social media strategy. For those of you ready to hoist your laptop out the window, here's a simple tip to help you pick the right social media channel without having to miss your son's T-ball game:
Don't reinvent the wheel.
More specifically, follow what other social media marketers are doing to find success, and emulate it.
Social Media Explorer's 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is an excellent place to start. SME interviewed over 3,800 marketers to find how they are using social media for their business. The sample was fairly diverse, with input from both B2B and B2C marketers working at companies ranging in size from 1 to over 1,000 employees.
The Report asked these marketers what question about social media they most wanted answered, and the second most popular response (behind how do I measure social media success) was "how do I find my target audience with social media."
This is really just another way of asking "what social media channel is right for my business?"
In the Report, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging and YouTube are the top five social media tools used by marketers, in that order.
Moreover, three factors affect the popularity of various social media channels: experience, time invested, and market focus (B2B vs B2C).
Experience - Marketers with less than six months of social media marketing experience are mainly using Facebook (87%), with Twitter as a distant 2nd (67%). Marketers with over three years of experience on social are still heavily reliant on Facebook (94%), but had also incorporate other channels such as Twitter (88%) and LinkedIn (74%) to the mix.
Time Invested - The more time marketers are able to dedicate to social media, the more diverse their channel portfolio. Brands spending only 1 to 5 hours weekly on social are focused on Facebook (89%), Twitter (72%), LinkedIn (68%) and Blogging (51%).
As a rule, those able to invest 40+ hours each week had a much more diverse social media portfolio. In addition to the social media mainstays of Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and LinkedIn, these marketers had time to experiment with other channels like YouTube or other video sites (82%), Google+ (77%), photo-sharing sites (51%) like Pinterest, and even geo-local sites (44%) like Yelp and Foursquare.
Market Focus - B2B marketers are more interested in using LinkedIn (87%), Twitter (84%) and Blogging (65%) than B2C marketers, who tend to be laser-focused on Facebook (96%).
THE BOTTOM LINE
When trying to pick the right social media channel(s) for your business, don't re-invent the wheel. Take advantage of the tremendous amount of quality social media marketing content on the web, and learn from your peers. LinkedIn Groups, social media forums, and syndicated blog directories are but a few places on the Inter-web that you can find useful social media marketing ideas for virtually any industry imaginable.
Life is hard enough; take a cue from the Beatles and get by with a little help from your (online) friends.