There are an overwhelming number of social media sites making their mark on the internet, and every month it seems a new social media network rears its ugly head and tries to suck in the planet. As a business owner you probably don’t have the time to monitor everything being said about your company on every single outlet, nor do you have the time to create, find, and post appropriate content to keep each group of social media followers happy. So why would you want to set up your business on every social media site?
The answer is you don’t. If you are just starting to dip your toes into the social media pool, being selective about which outlet you choose is wise. No reason to dive head first if you don’t know how well you can swim.
Which Social Media Network Should Your Business Use?
First figure out what your goals are. Are you trying to engage potential and current customers? Build relationships? Spread information? Monitor what’s being said about your brand? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but certain social media sites are better suited for certain goals.
You also need to determine how much time you have to commit to meaningful social media updates and monitoring. Creating accounts then leaving them inactive can hurt your online image. So eliminate all of the little guys and focus on the big dogs. If you’re going to spend precious time on a social media network, spend it where the most people are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest. In this article we’ll discuss the first three services. We’ll touch on Google+, YouTube and Pinterest later in our next installment of social media marketing for businesses.
If you only have time for one social media platform, Facebook is the way to go. With over a billion monthly users, Facebook is the largest social media network in the world and chances are that members of your target audience are hanging out there.
If your goal is to create a community around your brand, get customer feedback or improve customer service, then set up shop on Facebook. Facebook Business Pages provide a great place for reciprocal communication between you and your audience. This requires that your business page be actively monitored and that new content be consistently added.
Facebook followers expect answers to their questions, complaints, and comments in a timely fashion. They also want useful information about products, services, and industry news and events. Making your followers feel involved is the key to Facebook success.
Twitter’s fast-paced news feed allows people to get real-time updates from businesses they follow. It’s also a fantastic way for business owners to keep up with industry related news.
With messages limited to 140 characters, Twitter is more about quick information sharing rather than close-knit community building. Actively monitoring Twitter for mentions of your business, and to respond to any questions or comments from followers is a priority. Your followers will expect some sort of consistent Tweeting from you, be it the monthly sale you’re having or the weekly announcement of your latest blog post.
LinkedIn is a low maintenance network that allows you to create a professional source of information about both you and your business. If you’re looking to make business connections, find employees, or to show off your industry expertise, set up both a personal and a business LinkedIn page. They require minimal monitoring and there isn’t an urgent need to post daily updates.
LinkedIn business pages allow you to showcase your business as well as individual products and services. Since each product page displays corresponding employee contact information, viewers with questions or comments can contact employees directly rather than posting to your page as a whole. Viewers can also promote products and services that they have tried and enjoyed.
Business pages also have a section where you can post updates about your business, but it doesn’t promote a community vibe like Facebook. With LinkedIn you’re more likely to attract potential and current employees, business connections, or people trying to confirm the legitimacy of your company.
LinkedIn’s main attraction is profiles for individual people. Having employees create a LinkedIn account can help to promote the expertise of your business, especially when they take advantage of endorsement features, industry groups and recommendations to show off their skills.
What Have We Learned So Far?
There is no such thing as a “set it and forget it” social media platform. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all require monitoring and each one requires a dedicated amount of time to keep viewers happy.
Knowing what your social media goals are will ultimately determine which account you should set up for your business. Don’t let Facebook’s chatty community vibe or Twitter’s fast moving news feed scare you away. This should be a fun and rewarding endeavor that allows you to share your passion with people who are looking for the products or services you offer. Share news that you’re excited about, provide useful tips and information, thank or apologize the customers who leave you feedback, and ultimately be genuine about your business.
If Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn don’t seem like the best fit for your business, stay tuned for “Which Social Media Network Should Your Business Use?” – part two – where we’ll review Google+, YouTube and Pinterest.