Where do your leads spend their time? A guide to Social Media networks.
It’s a jungle out there and it is full of prospective customers! They are researching, they are sharing and chatting with each other, and they are getting ready to purchase.
These prospects, these potential wild prospects are without a doubt, and statistically confirmed, hanging out on one or the other form of social media. If you can figure out where YOURS are, and how to reach them, you have a tremendous opportunity to engage and connect with them.
Sounds difficult? Not really. We sat down with Matt Reinan from Buzz360 who runs our Social media department and he shared some useful real life insight for small business with us. Here is what he told us:
To start with, there are more social media sites than you can throw a stick at, and who has the time or inclination to check all of them out, much less be active on all of them? You would need a full time person to do just that. But don’t despair, there is good news: the truth is, you don’t need to be everywhere all at once. 30 minutes a day is likely enough to get the job done.
So, let’s look at the 5 major social media platforms. You will see, most likely, you will want to be on a couple of them and that is enough to reach your ideal customers.
Clearly, at first glance, this is just one giant bunch of yarn and makes very little sense. Yet, once you understand the demographics of each of the platforms users, it become a lot easier and obvious very quickly which one or two networks you should be concentration on to reach your target audience.
We have created a short and sweet infographic for you to download and save. Click below to get it now.
The information can help you figure out “where to now?” when you are ready to try a new network for your social marketing. It is also a good guide on the time-commitment needed to get results.
So, lets look at them!
Facebook: The “Super Social Network”
Facebook has 1.44 billion active monthly users! Trust me, your prospects are on it! And here is why:
Facebook users come from all walks of life, and from all over. They are a little more likely to be female than male, and of all age groups. Word is the young people are leaving Facebook, consider that a Pew research study in the spring of 2015 found that of the 18 – 29 year old U.S. internet users 87% had a Facebook account. Not exactly a rapid exodus if you ask me.
Granted, there is a drop in user ship amongst teens, and if that is your primary target group, you need to stay on top of this trend.
Another interesting and fun fact about Facebook, it generates 67% of website referral traffic of all social networks. That means, Facebook users tend to click on links and check out websites. Great tool to increase your own web traffic!
Set up a Facebook business Page as your central presence on Facebook.” Important to understand that this is not the same as a Profile, which you and your friends set up to connect with each other. A Business Page is much more powerful and has many business specific features, like:
- Awesome analytics about your reach and the engagement your posts have attracted. Reach, engagement, clicks and any interactions that happen on your page are tracked and shared with you.
- The call-to-action features that let visitors set appointments, send you messages, or take them to your site.
- Also interesting are the options to promote your posts. (We talk more about that later on.)
A look at the Facebook’s Page analytics dashboard.
When creating your Page, you want to be sure to have at the very least a profile picture or your company Logo as well as the header image, maybe a picture of your team or your business or a big event you recently had. You want to give visitors to the site a reason to come back, so post frequently, we suggest at least once a day. (See one of our recent posts on what you should post. Also, make sure you check into the account frequently and respond to any postings form your audience. This is as important as answering your phone! Your fans and anyone else for that matter can write questions and comments on your wall or send you inbox messages—a prompt response It is critical to establish good relationships and to build a trust with the community.
Recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm make it improbable that your posts will reach all of your Facebook supporters, but frequent posting will help you with your Google search results, in other words, it gives you SEO juice.
Taking it up a notch
Consider Facebook for paid advertisement! The ads are priced so that you can actually make a difference with as little as $5.00 per day.
The easiest step to increase your reach is to “boost” your posts. That means Facebook will show the post to an audience you can define in the Facebook admin panel.
The next option is straight out Facebook ads. They can either be appearing on the side bar or be imbedded in the users feeds.
To take best advantage of Facebooks capabilities, you want to you’re your target audience well defined. Facebook lets you target people to an incredible level of granularity. For example we ran Facebook ads to sell a home just to the people who lived within a couple of blocs from the location of the home.
If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook advertising, I’d encourage you to contact us for a seminar or to have us run your Facebook ads for you.
Moving at the Speed of Twitter
Twitter is the perfect space for businesses and audiences that move fast. They seem to suggest that just by the ease with which you can set up an account. It gives you a chronological feed so your audience receives updates as soon as they are posted. Discussions often happen in real time.
This has two impacts on how you use the platform:
- Content gets lost easily. At first that may sound like a problem, but it’s really not. Because of the chronological nature, it’s actually a good idea to repost material a few times a day or even on different days and at different times during a week. On other platforms it would like you were just repeating yourself, kind of like those stories grandma is going to tell again this year at Thanksgiving. On Twitter, it means you have a better chance of reaching your audience since the Tweet might not get noticed with just one post.
- Discussions are real time. Twitter users are growing used to having conversations with companies. They post complaints or observations and expect a response. It can be more of a time commitment, but it can also build stronger relationships that allow you to delight your current customers. Just keep in mind that the conversation is visible to the Twitter-verse.
The most important thing to remember about using Twitter for your brand or business is that it’s a bit more interactive than most channels. Matt says, users expect a response from brands, so Twitter can be more of a time commitment. Long wait times are going to frustrate your visitors, and they’re going to be able to make that frustration especially visible.
You can save some time by setting up hashtags or executing advanced searches ahead of time. Some apps will also let you monitor different search queries at the same time, allowing you to stay on top of the discussions. That’s the key to Twitter, though. You have to have time for the dialog. Unanswered comments will cause frustration and damage the relationships you were trying to create.
If Twitter is for you, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Plan on only using about 120 of the 140 characters. You want to leave room for others to forward the Tweet with their own hashtags.
- Use your own hashtags so people outside your immediate audience will find your content.
- Use it to announce time-sensitive updates
- Offer freebies for followers, and use the offer to collect email addresses when someone opts in. It can function just like a landing page on your website.
- Find the influential figures in your industry and start conversations with them. Their followers will see the dialog and look at your profile.
- Find out what’s happening in your industry, what your competitors are doing, what your target audience is saying.
- Overall, “keeping your feed relevant to your business is key,” says Matt. “People who follow you care about what your business does and want to learn more.”
Taking it up a notch
- Twitter does have a paid advertising option, which will push Tweets to a particular audience. You can incorporate this into ongoing marketing campaigns that target your buyer personas.
Google+ (G+): No, it’s not just Facebook’s wimpy brother.
Google+ has been the butt of plenty of jokes. Yes, it’s social media, and yes, they’ve emulated much of what Facebook has done; however, over the last several months Google has worked to position G+ as much more than an alternative to Facebook. It now boasts over 540 million users. It’s less than half of Facebook’s users, but what G+ users lack in number they make up for in activity.
G+ has a small but devoted audience that is very active in certain niche interests. They also have a more active and robust overseas profile. If these traits appeal to your business, it’s probably time to add a G+ page
- Obviously, set up a G+ page. You might not be able to post on it regularly, but it gives you a presence. It even has its own search value. Your G+ page will pop up in a Google search and give people an easy way to contact you or visit your website. It also helps push you higher in the search results.
- If G+ does get you the audience you need, it’s time to curate. Post updates and links to other content and create a community. Use that “small, but devoted” distinction to your advantage. You can create discussions within your industry and create interest using pre-sales questions to the community.
Google example of a Google+ page
Taking it up a notch
It may take some time, but the tipping point is 1,000 followers. When you hit that number, it’s time to consider using Google AdWords for a paid campaign. You can also use your G+ account to push posts on other websites using Google’s Adsense program.
LinkedIn: The Place to Talk Shop
LinkedIn has grown past a place for job-seekers and recruiters to network. It has grown to over 300 million users. The majority of LinkedIn users are engaged professionals looking to network, recruit, make connections and learn about other businesses. That means the demographic skews older and has more formal education than the user base for most social platforms.
It’s become the place for professionals. If that’s your target audience or if you’re sales are usually B2B, LinkedIn is the place where you can establish the most credibility.
- LinkedIn provides you lots of guidance about things to add. It even provides you some meters to know how effective your profile is as well as how well you’re positioned in that particular industry relative to others with the same interests. As you build your company’s profile, pay careful attention to the suggestions the platform makes.
Stay away from industry-specific jargon. Knowing unique terminology isn’t going to give you the kind credibility you’re actually looking for. You’re not looking to sell your widgets to other widget manufacturers. You want people who have no idea about widgets to believe yours are the best, so you need to keep the vocabulary simple.
- One huge advantage of LinkedIn is the ability to post your own blog articles. You can announce job openings or milestones, and you can also curate articles you find interesting relevant to your business. It helps give you build that relationship with a more informed customer. You can even position yourself as a thought leader with articles on leadership and innovation.
- LinkedIn also hosts lots of industry-specific discussion groups. These groups help you learn about new trends or reinforce things you’re already seeing. Be warned, though. They are not for self-promotion. That sort of behavior is frowned on. Used wisely, they can help you build a reputation as an expert in your field.
Taking it up a notch
LinkedIn does offer paid advertising opportunities. It is easy to set up, but the cost per conversion is usually higher than on Twitter or Facebook. If you’re a B2B marketer, it can well be worth it. Any conversion you do get will tend to be better informed and more loyal than on other platforms.
Instagram: A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words – Plus some more words
Businesses are just beginning to realize the marketing value of Instagram. It now has over 100 million daily active users sharing over 20 billion photos. The same study that pointed out G+’s “small, but devoted” users noted that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post, and 120 times more likely than Twitter users.
A brand’s followers on Instagram are more likely to see every post a business makes rather than just the most recent or what they find in a scroll. Other platforms filter posts out or the timeline requires the user to discover them. It could also be because Instagram does not have a reposting function, and unique content tends to attract more leads.
That doesn’t mean Instagram is right for everyone. To connect with your followers on Instagram, you need a visual assets and a clear strategy. Some businesses are perfectly suited for the platform. Wedding planners can show off their talents and improve what they provide. It’s not going to do much for a therapist. If your business has a natural source for quality photographic content, then this is the channel you’re looking for.
Your photos have to be able to tell their stories on their own. You can add some captions, but the comments will come from your followers. “Unlike most social networks, Instagram is completely based on sharing images rather than full-on content in each post,” Matt says. The image will dominate the page.
Instagram also uses hashtags to help with searches. Since words are limited on the platform, you’ll need to know the hashtags that are most popular in your industry.
Taking it up a notch
Advertising on Instagram has been a hurdle for many businesses. Big companies like J. Crew and Lexus could do it, but that was about it. In August it officially switched its advertising API (application programming interface). Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, and they are aligning it to bring the same well-targeted, focused marketing capabilities as the 800-pound gorilla. Matt predicts this “will help transform it into a major platform for mobile advertising that could rival larger social networks in the future.”
What social network are you currently using for your business? Which platforms that we didn’t cover here do you expect to take off in the future?
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