[avatar user=”Miranda Imperi” size=”thumbnail” align=”right”]
Today’s social media world can be pretty overwhelming for a business owner. It seems that a new platform crops up every month, and it’s hard to predict whether that platform will catch fire like Twitter’s Vine, or fizzle out the way of the New.Myspace. Today’s consumer has a fickle mentality when it comes to social media.
I suppose the simple answer to the question “Do I need to have a presence on every social media platform?” is no, but it’s important to understand why. Each platform adds a unique value to an internet marketing campaign, but not every platform is created equal or is valuable to every industry. It’s also important to take into account the social expectations of consumers on a platform basis. If your company does not have the personnel or time to put in the necessary hours needed on a specific platform, having a presence on said platform can have a negative impact. Even if you have the greatest website, link building, and content marketing strategies, poor social platform management can do immeasurable damage.
So which social platforms do you choose for your business? Unfortunately, there’s no formula or algorithm for this question. It all depends on how much time and money you have to devote on platform management and where your target audience remains most active. Let’s explore what each platform has to offer and the demands of its users.
As we all know, in the land of internet marketing, Google is king. This platform is the most important social platform for any business trying to rank in search results. Linking this platform with a Google places page is instrumental for ranking in local search results as well. Not only is it important to have this platform, but it’s important to keep it updated, at least 3 times per week. Google+ users don’t have high social care expectations for this platform, so it won’t be very time consuming to maintain. However, if you are trying to build a following, staying active within industry related communities and sharing with other thought leaders will help you create some solid Google+ brand advocates.
It’s hard to escape a conversation these days without hearing ‘Facebook’ mentioned at least once. Facebook seems to rule the personal lives of just about everyone today, so logically, having a presence on this platform will do any business the most good. Wrong. Facebook is personal, and businesses marketing here need to tread lightly. One too many ‘buy our products’ messages will get your posts hidden in Edgerank oblivion, so time needs to be spent on quality content creation for this platform. The right content marketing strategy on Facebook will create strong brand advocacy for your company, but also keep in mind the social care expectations of Facebook users. Many of my own buying decisions have been both positively and negatively influenced by Facebook page management. Additionally, Facebook ads can be hugely beneficial to any company if executed properly. Being able to target your marketing message to only those who care is perhaps the best way to spend any advertising budget. But advertising for a poorly managed page can be harmful as well. If your company does not have the time or money to spend on this platform, it’s best to steer clear.
Marketing your business on Twitter can either be the easiest or most difficult social platform to manage, depending on which way you look at it. Twitter users are the most demanding of all social users when it comes to social care. Most tweeting happens on a mobile level, so these users expect up to the minute updates, responses, and interaction. A few studies have indicated that Twitter users who engage in social care expect responses from business in no more than 30 minutes. Once that 30 minutes has passed, so has your company’s reputation, in their eyes (and possibly the eyes of their followers). Twitter management is a full time job for any company, but can be hugely beneficial for those willing to spend the time on it. It doesn’t take a lot to obtain followers. Retweeting and Favorite-ing tweets makes people feel special. Do that enough while posting some quality industry related content in between (on a daily basis), and you’ll have real Twitter brand advocates in no time.
LinkedIn is a great social media platform for B2B companies. Primarily a professional network, LinkedIn users don’t expect the sort of fun and interactive content that other social media platform users want. This platform is purely an informational outlet on industry related content and a great place to post awards, recognition, and company happenings. Expectations are low here, so posting isn’t even 100% necessary, but a presence will be beneficial so that potential clients or even employees can access company stats, i.e.: location, size, year established, personnel, etc. This information is available in a handful of other places, as well as other platforms, but most likely to be looked for here more than anywhere else. Any company looking for new talent will also benefit from this platform, as LinkedIn has become one of the top hiring sources.
Pinterest has become the fastest growing social media platform yet. Pinterest takes what we love about social bookmarking and combines it with a stunning visual aspect, which is what keeps users returning for more. Not only can Pinterest provide a great impact to your social exposure, but it can provide some quality links back to your site. Pinterest is extremely easy to use and platform management is not time consuming. What business owners need to keep in mind is the proper set up of this platform can take a lot of time. Not only should all products and areas of interest on the website be pinned to boards on your company’s page, but all of these things need ‘Pin It’ buttons for others to pin directly from your site as well. This process can get pretty confusing for a novice, so it might be in your best interest to consult with a professional. Additionally, gaining a following on Pinterest can take some time, so patience is key. Make your content visually drawing, so that others want to save it and return to it again and again. Repinning and joining community boards can also help get some exposure here. Pinterest users have virtually zero social care expectations, as of yet, so management of this platform doesn’t need to be more than a weekly check in.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, today’s consumer is visual. The use of video in social media can give your company the boost it needs to get to the top of its industry. Having a business account on YouTube is a great way to get additional information about your products or services that you would not otherwise be able to convey effectively through traditional channels. ‘How To’ videos are increasingly popular throughout the internet, and having this type of content definitely gives you an edge. However, once you’ve created this platform for your business, content creation needs to be regular. If your channel has regular videos posted for a time and then abruptly stops, users are inclined to think you may have gone out of business. This platform is also one that should be managed internally. Video content creation needs to come from the business itself because YouTube users value authenticity and because part of your company’s message could be lost or diluted when going through a third party. It is recommended, though, to seek professional consultation for channel optimization.
New social platforms pop up all the time. Some catch on, some don’t. From a business owner’s perspective, it’s probably more cost effective to wait and see which ones are successful before spending the effort gaining a presence there. Although, risk takers are usually those with the greatest rewards. Thought leaders who joined the now popular platforms Vine & Instagram first, are now looked to as authorities on those channels. Instead of waiting for trends to form, they determined what the trend was going to be. Being creative in your internet marketing efforts is what will set you apart from your competitors. Innovative messaging created through a six second Vine video by your company can be all it takes for you to stand out in the minds of your audience. Or running an Instagram contest in which user content is featured can create the type of brand advocacy that lasts long after that contest is over. When it comes to internet marketing through social platforms, it’s sometimes better to focus on what your competitors are not doing.
Hopefully, this breakdown has helped you decide which platforms are essential for your social marketing efforts and which ones you may be able to do without. I can’t stress enough that proper platform management is what will ultimately make all the difference. Social media is great for advertising, but better for brand recognition. Consult with Lead to Conversion’s Social Media Team for new and innovative ideas to make your social platforms stand out. We understand the evolving nature of internet marketing and want to help you become the thought leader in your industry. Call us today for information on our Social Media Management and Consulting services, 855-473-6582.