If you're a business owner, or responsible for marketing a business, it's a given that your brand should be using social media. But not every platform is useful for your purposes.
Figuring out what channels to use, what platforms to be on, and how to best leverage the social media that really matters for marketing is key. And it ain't always easy! Things change constantly in the social media universe and what was "hot" three years ago is not so much today. And platforms you didn't know existed three years ago (or maybe didn't!) are exploding now.
You Don't Gotta Do Everything
Probably the biggest failure for businesses launching off into the social media waters is overwhelm. They come to see that having their brand actively engaged in social media can be a massive boon to their lead generation and customer engagement, so they try to get on as many platforms as possible.
This is, quite simply, a strategy for disaster. While most platforms are free to join and engage in, there is always a cost in time and labor involved. Simply having a profile and hoping that will suffice is pointless. A business has to be actively engaged in a platform: publishing, commenting, responding, posting, monitoring, and so on.
And that doesn't even include any kind of advertising activities.
All of this adds up to a huge time investment if it is to be done effectively. If the owner or marketing manager is doing it all, there is a significant opportunity cost involved. If you hire someone to "do social" for you, that can be a large expense. And much of what is attempted will probably fall short since the available resources of time, labor and skills will be spread too thin and too broad.
Social media for marketing is definitely a case of "Less is more."
In a post earlier this year, Digital Marketing Institute noted:
While many business leaders do use a strategic mix of sites, it’s actually more important that you start with one or two only that provide a good fit for your initial buyer personas. There really isn’t “one” site that will be optimal, although clearly, Facebook would likely the winner for a broad range of businesses.
Here are some things to consider as you figure out which are the best social marketing sites for your specific business or niche:
Demographics: How old is your audience? How old is the audience of each social site you are considering? What about gender? Where do your audiences match?
Industry: Is there a particular platform that’s more geared towards your industry, or even a similar one?
Content: What is the nature of most of your content and (how) do you expect this to change in the near future?
Product: How does your product “fit” with a given platform?
We agree that your should only invest your time, energy and resources - all of which are limited - into a select few channels and optimize your efforts there. The truth is that, because the social media world is fluid, what you are doing today may change over time, but the underlying principle remains: select focus.
This also means you must have a clear understanding of your audience. This means knowing who they are, where they are, what channels do they use, what do they want to know or learn, and what types of content do they prefer to engage with.
Top Picks in Social Media Platforms for Businesses
We should qualify this section by noting that this information is current as it is being written. However, the specifics can easily change in six months or year from now. Or sooner! The point here is that it is incumbent upon you or your marketing manager to stay abreast of the growth, changes and trends in social media.
And, before you decide which two or three of these you want to leverage (or optimize if you're already there) determine exactly what you want to achieve with social media marketing. Then ask yourself how you will make that happen with your available resources, that is, staff and skill sets? Again, while seemingly simplistic, this is a critical starting place and, if approached strategically, it will make your marketing life much more enjoyable.
A good, basic approach would be to simply focus on just two (or three if you insist!) solid platforms. With that being said, here are the top six social media platforms for businesses today*:
- Facebook with 2.27 billion unique monthly users
- YouTube at 1.8 billion unique users every month
- Instagram, still growing massively, boasts 800 million unique monthly users
- Twitter, slipping but still huge, at 336 million users globally
- Pinterest had reached 250 million monthly active users, with 81% being female
- LinkedIn has 500 million total members and 250 million monthly active users
*[These are mostly Q3 2018 numbers]
The fact is, your brand may already have a presence on one or more of these massive platforms. If so, take time to assess the potential value of each in light of your audience and your type of business. If you're already in some good places in the social media neighborhood, then develop a plan to leverage your presence there.
If you haven't ventured into social media much or at all, with your business, then just choose two and start small. Ask for help if you feel a bit out of touch with all of that, and don't be afraid of "breaking" anything. The worst you can is nothing!
A Great Partner for Your Social Media Marketing
Using social media as a marketing strategy can do wonders for your business. But achieving your marketing objectives with social media, like content marketing, does take time.
It won't happen with a few blog posts or some other great content. People will need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. Yet, without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met.
The good news is that you don't have to figure out alone. In fact, one of the best investments you can make with your marketing budget is to partner with a solid firm like BroadVision Marketing.
Click on the button below to get your free eBook containing 10 Powerful Inbound Marketing Charts so you can make an informed decision, or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.