Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+, Pinterest and who knows what next week will bring. As a business owner or entrepreneur how are you supposed to know which social media channels to invest in to get the most return?
That is one of the most common questions that gets asked and let’s be fair it is a very good question. The honest answer is, as with life there is no guarantee that any social media channel will produce a return for your business.
You could have a Facebook Page….Great
A Twitter profile….Fantastic
Be on Linked in….Good on you
The point is that just being on these sites is not going to automatically drive hordes of screaming customers to your door. It really isn’t, no matter what anyone tries to tell you.
What you can do is do your research and get a solid idea of which of the social media channels will best suit both your target customers and your business needs.
5 Rules for Picking the Correct Social Media Channels
1. Know the Target Demographic of the Social Media Channels
I am going to make a huge assumption here that you as a seasoned business owner and entrepreneur know the demographics of who your typical customer is. If you don’t already know that then stop reading this and go find it out. Without this information you will literally be throwing resources down the drain.
An easy way to do this is conduct a short survey of your best customers. Ask them;
- Which social media networks they visit?
- How long do they spend on them?
- Do they buy from Social media channels?
- Would they buy from you?
Compare the target demographic of your customer to the demographic of the social network, Men under 30 you might pick Facebook, Women over 30 you might get some correlation with Pinterest.
2. Go for a test drive
Next thing you want to do is get involved yourself, plug into the social media channels that you are investigating, set up a profile and just literally browse, LISTEN, and observe what is going on.
- What people or brands are getting attention?
- What are they doing to get this attention?
- What type of content are they sharing?
- How often are they sharing?
- Which particular content gets the most interaction?
This undercover work or guided tour of the social media channel is not something that you can do in one night or over a single weekend. Take some time to really get to understand the layout and feel of the network and use this research as fuel for social media marketing ideas that could work for you.
3. Set a Budget
To establish a presence, build a fan base and engage and interact with people on a regular basis takes an investment of time and money. Be prepared for this and set aside a budget to attain this.
Look at the other assets in your business. Do you have technically gifted people within the business who could help design and implement your social media presence?
Is there someone in the business who is already a maven on social media, who seems to get lots of interaction and would be a good spokesperson for your business, is responsible and more importantly you could afford to allow an allotted time each day to manage the social media channels.
If you do not have the resources in your business then you may have to outsource the design and management of the social media to someone else or take on the challenge yourself. Either way it is still going to be an investment of your time and money.
4. Set Goals
Simply trying can waste time. What is the measurable result you hope to attain? A social media marketing plan should be clear so you can get to a certain point in time and analyze whether the intended result was achieved
What kinds of results are you looking to achieve from your social media marketing? When would you know
a) it is working and it’s time to invest more and
b) it isn’t working and it’s time to cut your loses?
Will these decisions be based on KPI’s such as leads generated, community growth and website traffic or direct sales?
Another important aspect is to make sure that your social media marketing plan aligns with your overall business goals.
Time is one of the biggest enemies when it comes to business and on social media time moves even faster. The companies that adopt first will garner a lion’s share of the social media market but by proving you can offer something unique and different you will be able to take a piece of the action.
Being perfect is not a prerequisite of a social media. Things change all the time, the networks themselves bring out new design and user related features each and every day that could impact the way you market with social media and interact with your audience.
Whichever of the social media channels you choose to build a thriving audience on, aim to stay ahead of the curve and remember the social media network can change the rules at any time to further their own revenue generation and business goals.