You may be a wondering where to start. Many of my clients use the most common social networks; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
Four steps to choosing the right social networks for your business:
- Identify Goals:
Determine what your company’s goals are. Are you trying to expand your current network and gain new customers? Reach new markets? Build customer loyalty and referrals? Monitor your brand online? Get nationwide exposure? Start with your overall business goals and marketing goals in mind.
- Locate where your customers are:
Next, find out where your customers and industry players hang out online. If you are not sure, do some research – ask your customers individually or survey them as a group to get some insight. You could also use the search features within different social networks to see if people are talking about your topics. Setting up Google Alerts for your brand, products, company name, or industry is another way to get a feel for where conversations are happening across the web.
- Consider your content:
What type of content does your company create or plan on creating? In most cases, a mix of content can help you to get the most exposure and engagement. But when you really excel with certain content, it will help you pinpoint some social networks that will help you best use your marketing communications.
Now that you have a list of some great choices for your business on social media, prioritise and determine how much time and resources you have for social media marketing, or if you will outsource or hire a social media manager. If your time and resources are limited, focus on which one or two social network(s) can help you create the best results and give them all you got!
If you are looking for a consistent username across the social networks, and you want to see what the availability is, use this knowem tool for checking the brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 550 popular and emerging social media websites.
Common sense tip:
Remember, with all social networks, your work is not done once the account is set up. Social media requires an ongoing commitment of listening, engaging, and strategy in order to see results.
You have decided to take the plunge into social media. But with hundreds of social networks to choose from, where do you start? I can help. Next, I’m going to talk about some of the top social networks and how to decide if they are right for your company. Let’s begin with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Active users: 2.23 Billion
Especially good for engaging with your customers as easily and widely as possible.
Common challenge: Creating content that is engaging enough to be seen in the newsfeed.
Most companies choose to start with a Facebook page. With the biggest amount of users, many companies will find that this is where their customers are. Facebook fan pages are set up so that the individual needs to ‘like’ your brand or companies Facebook page. Clicking the ‘like’ button does take a certain level of commitment from your fans, as compared to ‘followers’ on Twitter that may come more easily. Facebook is typically for networks of people that you already know, so expect to work hard for your ‘likes’ as you build your community on Facebook. On Facebook, you can post a variety of updates such as longer posts, photos, videos, and links. The new Facebook analytics gives you a lot more ways that you can measure your Facebook marketing success and day-to-day posts. Another recent win for Facebook marketers is that Facebook relaxed their rules on contests. Previously, any contests or giveaways had to be done via a third party app, making it more difficult for small business – not anymore!
Active users: 326 Million
Especially good for listening.
Common challenge: General lack of understanding by marketers, minimal use in rural areas.
First and foremost, when choosing which social network(s) to promote your company on, you need to be where your customers are. If your business if very regional (especially rural areas), you may find that people in your demographic area are not on Twitter. But if you are trying to expand your business nationwide, or even more in the city areas, Twitter could be an important place to connect with people. With just 140 characters (can include links, photos, and videos), using Twitter is much different than Facebook or any other social network for that matter. A best practice with Twitter is that most tweets need to be written for Twitter, and not just re-posted from Facebook. The use of hashtags, tweet-chats, and lists make Twitter a great tool for building new contacts beyond your existing network. Twitter is also a great place for listening. You can easily monitor conversations on Twitter about your industry, brand, or products, allowing you to stay on top of trends, opportunities, or customer service issues.
Active users: 260 Million
Especially good for: Professional networking, business-to-business
Common challenge: Maximising potential with company-wide utilisation
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. Many companies who sell business-to-business have had a lot of success with using LinkedIn as a marketing tool. LinkedIn Company profiles can help distinguish your company a leader in the industry, with the company’s employees (who are on LinkedIn) tied to it. Anyone on LinkedIn can choose to ‘follow’ a company so that the company’s updates (which can include links, photos, documents) are in their newsfeed. Employee’s individual profiles can also be a way to promote the company they work for, so often starting with an internal campaign to get more of your staff to enhance their LinkedIn profile and use LinkedIn as a networking tool can help promote the company as well.
Common sense tip:
If you are considering any social networks, be sure that you have a personal account first. Anyone who is managing a social media presence needs to be using it personally to truly understand how it works and how to best use it to build personal relationships.
Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that can help you to streamline your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Although it is not best practice to post identical updates on all the social networks, some social media automation can be useful in certain circumstances.