While most businesses have realized that they can grow their revenues by investing in social media marketing, unless you’re going to outsource the work, then you need to determine how much time you have to devote to your social networks and where that time is spent most effectively. You don’t want to be on more social networks than you have time to maintain, and you certainly don’t want to waste time on a network that won’t drive any new business or brand awareness for your company. Facebook can possibly be an obvious choice for many businesses, and perhaps Twitter too, but there may be other opportunities your company is missing on other lesser-known social media sites. Below you will find a guide outlining the most effective social networks for certain niche messages and/or audiences.
Pinterest is a must-have for two types of businesses: those that target females, and those that have great visual content. The latter may be businesses like photography studios, clothing boutiques, jewelry sellers, and bakeries, where the product lends itself to an excellent photo opportunity. Women are five times as likely to use Pinterest as men, so any business that wants to reach females ought to consider Pinterest as an option. If you don’t have excellent visual content, then you do need to spend time finding/creating it in order to succeed on this social network. Stock photos won’t quite cut it.
It’s obviously possible for companies outside of these groups to do well on Pinterest also, as can be seen by industrial cleaning company Soap Warehouse, who is having success with the platform. If the concrete cleaner they sell can be made visually-appealing, then almost any product can. Plus, visual social networks are expected to rise in 2014, so mastering Pinterest and/or Instagram is a good investment for the future.
Over 20 percent of searches on Google have a local intent, so Google+ is a must for any local business, especially brick-and-mortars. Since the search engine giant replaced Google Places almost a year ago, Google+ Local is the new tool for showing search results on physical locations. If you want your storefront to show up on Google with compelling information, you need to invest in a Google+ page.
If you signed up with Google Places when it was still around, then you actually already have a Google+ profile because Google automatically converted you during the transition, whether or not you signed up for one. This is even more reason to use Google+, since you may have an unattended social media profile floating around online, which isn’t good for your online image because it can make you seem inactive and irrelevant. Consumers can also use Google+ itself to search for local businesses as well, so this network is a must for any business that exists in a local market and wants to increase its exposure to local customers searching Google in order to generate more business.
For B2B companies and companies that aren’t local or don’t even have a physical location, Google+ can also have tremendous SEO benefits. Since Google favors its own social network when finding relevant results, a Google+ profile is more likely to show up as a search result for your brand name or a local search for your industry, product, or service. Therefore, you would want to at least customize your profile and update it every now then so you have content to offer in case a search user clicks your profile. You’ll also get expanded search results, where people see posts from your Google+ page, people who +1 your page, and company reviews. When Google shows these expanded results it means that a significantly larger portion of the search results page is dedicated to your company, which means a lot more exposure and hopefully an equally large increase in clicks and new business!
Other Niche Networks
There are others social networks that go even further into niche markets but could help your brand if they fit with your message and audience. Here’s a quick summary of some of those options:
- Slideshare – Perfect for businesses that have a professional audience and that host seminars, slideshow presentations and/or webinars
- Bebo – A must-have for companies with a strong British customer base. Bebo is the second-largest social network in the United Kingdom. Similar strategies would apply for businesses trying to reach any international audience (Orkut for Brazil, RenRen for China etc.).
- Ning – Good for extremely niche businesses, or non-profits, that have to create their own social experience as the others are too broad to for the message and/or audience.
Social media marketing is almost entirely about figuring out what your audience wants, what they aren’t comfortable with, and then delivering your message without ignoring the feedback your audience is giving you. There isn’t one right way to do social media marketing, just the right way for your business. Now that you’ve learned about other potential networks to join, your company will be able to target specific audiences and offer social content that’s customized for them. This will help your business build a loyal, fervent audience.
What social networks, besides Facebook and Twitter, does your company use and why? Share with us in the comments!
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