One of the questions I hear most often from clients is, "Which social media marketing sites should I be using to grow my small business?" The misconception that you should be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Snapchat leads many business owners to join and be active on each social media network, only to find themselves wasting time and money with no results.
Let's face it. You’re busy. You also need an online presence to help market your business.
But the truth is digital marketing is constantly changing. The pressure to keep up with each and every social network is ridiculous. Impactful marketing comes from being strategic, not jumping from trend to trend just because it's popular.
Instead, I advise my small business clients to carefully consider the 3 M's of marketing before choosing which social media sites to focus their resources on. In a previous article, I discussed building an effective digital marketing strategy starts with defining the exact market you are targeting before selecting the medium (or social media site) to use.
Before considering which social sites to use, you need to define exactly who you are targeting. The biggest mistake I see business owners make is they say "it depends". What they mean is they haven't quite analyzed or sat down to define exactly who they are targeting. It may be multiple decision-makers, influencers and users for one account. The smart companies leverage data to understand who their best customers are with their key attributes.
To compare, that's like saying Tesla should market to everybody.
But if I'm looking for a new sedan that gets great MPG on a limited budget, I'm probably more of a target for a Ford Focus, Nissan Versa S Sedan, or Kia Rio LX. Tesla would be wasting time and money trying to target the wrong audience. The same is true with marketing your small business on Snapchat to reach CEOs of companies making $30M or more in revenues with 15-250 employees.
2.) Where does your ideal audience go to seek information? And which social media sites do they live on and use the most?
Are they likely to look online for answers to their questions? Would they rather read blogs, research a guide via Google, or surf their Twitter feed to find the answer to their problem? After careful consideration, these answers will help you determine which social media makes the most sense for your business.
3.) What are the demographics for each social media platform?
Usage of the major social media platforms varies by factors such as age, gender and educational attainment. The graphic below shows the percentage of U.S. adults who use each social media platforms. Next, you need to figure out the right social media sites to focus your efforts on in order to reach your target.
For strong business-to-consumer companies, Facebook is a great way to showcase your brand and tell your story to followers by posting pictures, quotes and lifestyle updates. For example, 72% of female and 63% of male Internet users are on Facebook with over 1.5 billion users a month (Pew Research Center Report). The site also attracts multiple age groups with a majority being 18- to 29-year-olds, and a strong base of active users in the 30-49 and 50-64 brackets.
According to the Pew Research Report, Twitter is slightly more popular with males and users ages 18-29 with an estimated 250 million unique visitors per month. Whereas LinkedIn status updates can be weekly, most tweet 2-3 times a day. So, if you are planning to use Twitter as your main social media marketing strategy, I recommend that you publish a lot of 'how-to' tips, strategies and ideas that others can retweet and share.
Hands down! LinkedIn is the top B2B site for business professionals. The site attracts a more mature, educated, higher earning group as compared to its counterparts. According to a report by Royal Pingdom, 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older. C-level and top executives primarily use LinkedIn for industry networking and promoting their business.
Finally, let the social media site dictate what and how often you post, and you will be on your way to branding your business like a pro. From there, build an audience of followers and post quality content consistently. (Also, check out this infographic on the best times to post and tweet on social media.)
4.) Are you committed to investing the resources to consistently execute this tactic?
Another client I was working with -- the CEO of a technology company -- felt strongly that writing a regular blog would be of great benefit to his C-level target market and his company brand. The problem? He didn't have the time, skills or discipline to spend 4-8 hours a month writing a blog, nor should he. His time was better suited to focus on clients and running the business.
I suggested finding someone from his staff that could interview him, capture his ideas and turn them into initial blog posts. Unfortunatley, he didn't have anyone internally that could take it on. Given the quality of the client he wanted to reach, hiring a content strategist and writer made the most sense, but it had to be feasible. The client decided to invest in a strategy featuring a monthly, rather than a weekly blog. He also went full force on his Twitter strategy - reaching out to influencers in their space to gain brand recognition and published a lot of 'how-to' and informational tips, strategies and ideas that others could share.
When done well, your social media strategy is an important component to building a strong brand online and reaching your prospects to promote your small business. But the first step to building ANY digital marketing strategy is taking a step back and understanding the “why” and "who" behind your efforts.
Are You Ready to Build a Strategy That Works?
Let's get the conversation started. Contact us and we’ll meet with you to learn more about your organization, your goals, and how Rutkin Marketing can help you achieve them. Together, we can determine if it makes sense for us to continue the conversation and explore if we are a good fit in working with each other.