Are you using the right Social Media Marketing channels? Don’t be so sure.
When it comes to Social Media Marketing and Social Selling, far too many conversations start with questions about Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Linkedin Profiles. We harp on the best time of day to post, whether or not to use images, or the value in using a hashtag.
These questions come later.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the most popular Social Media channels are not important. What I’m suggesting is that they are not the ONLY channels.
Despite of the obvious mindshare dominance of the primary four social networking platforms Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram, there are a number of different options on the web that can be far more beneficial for a business to consider.
Instead of assuming that every company needs the big four, businesses need to take a more critical look at which channels they are using and why. Choosing the right channels is extremely important for companies that want to save time and money, rather than frivolously shout where no one is listening.
What are our goals?
First and foremost, we start with goals.
A company looking to sell will choose sites differently than companies looking to build brand awareness, which will choose a different channel than a company looking to provide customer service.
The goals dictate everything.
For instance, if your primary goal is sales, Instagram is a more challenging platform than Facebook or Linkedin, since links are not allowed in captions or comments, thereby making calls to action require additional steps. While you can sell on Instagram (it’s possible), the user experience, user behavior, and structure of the site make it more difficult.
However, Instagram can be instrumental in providing content for other channels, like your blog and email marketing.
Though a Linkedin Group could be useful.
If you are a dry cleaner, looking to drive sales and provide customer service, Yelp is probably much more important than a Facebook page, and easier to manage. Using customer reviews for feedback to understand where you service needs to improve or change can be far more effective for driving new and repeat business than trying to make something like Dry Cleaning interesting on a daily basis and trying to beat Facebook’s organic reach algorithm.
Though being on Facebook as an individual that works at the dry cleaner and joining some local groups could be an effective tactic.
The point is, choose your sites based around goals, not just what seems the most popular, and make sure to go beyond the basics.
Where is our audience looking for us?
Another key consideration is where you audience is looking for you.
Just because 99% of your customers use Facebook, doesn’t mean they want to see YOU there.
Just because a majority of your clients are on Linkedin, doesn’t mean they want to connect with you there.
Interruption is rarely a wise strategy, instead, try to figure out where you need to be when people are looking for you or the service you provide. You need to understand this before choosing a site to use.
Think about where people ask questions, or run searches. This is the best place to start.
What type of content works best for us?
Maybe your law firm has a charismatic founding partner who shows up great on video, so YouTube works nicely, but pictures lack the same pop!
Maybe you’re a visual artist, so an audio-only podcast isn’t going to be as effective as pictures and videos.
Maybe you’re an industry thought leader but even with voice lessons you sound like Ben Stein with a cold…perhaps a written blog makes more sense than video.
Think about your company content and what the best medium to tell your story will be.
What is our budget?
Finally, budget is going to be a consideration.
Without even going into the costs associated with reaching your audience using social ads, the cost of creating content is not zero.
Before embarking on a campaign to create a prominent YouTube channel, determine whether you have the budget to handle the costs of shooting (and lighting) and editing.
But beyond the costs of content creation make sure you’ve thought about how much you’ll need to actually reach those people, especially as sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easier and easier to target the right people with social ads.
Social Media is not free, and we mustn’t forget that the “I” in “ROI” stands for investment. That means that you shouldn’t expect a return, without making an investment.
You can hop onto the big networks because everyone else is, or you can stop to think about where you should actually be. This posts gives you the questions you need to think about.
The question is, what will you do?