Social network selection can be completely overwhelming for any small business.
Which social network do you choose?
This can lead to paralysis by analysis for any small business owner.
Where do you start in your social network selection decision-making?
Who is your customer / client?
The first question to ask is who is your typical customer or which clients do you wish to attract? Once you have a “demographic” clear in your mind, the selection of social network becomes more obvious.
What is your product / service?
Do you sell products? Are they visually appealing? Or do you sell an intangible – like a service of some sort?
Do you have time to post?
How much time can you dedicate to generating content? Do you have capacity to write articles or blogs?
Do you have a budget to allocate to online marketing?
What budget do you have to spend on you social network marketing?
Once the above questions have been answered the answer should become more obvious and make social network selection easier. Some general guidelines follow:
This social network appeals to MOST users and therefore suits MOST businesses. The reason being – any advertising you do on this network can be specifically targeted based on any demographic e.g. Age, Gender, Marital Status, Interests, etc. Facebook can be used both for image intensive marketing and information intensive. So really, every business should be on Facebook and if you are going to choose one to start with, this should certainly be the one. Huffington Post published some very interesting stats in 2012 already that indicated that 80% of Facebook users prefer to interact with a brand on Facebook over any other medium – including the brand’s website! And that was over 18 months ago! That’s quite a statistic! And a clear indicator that no business can afford not to be on Facebook. Generally speaking posting only once a day on this network is ideal for most businesses or brands.
This social network does appeal to more technologically advanced users. You need to be able to say what you need to say in limited characters as well. So no long posts. Since introducing images to the network – “tweets” with image links tend to be engaged with twice as much as those without. As do tweets featuring hashtags (more about that in a future blog post). And here’s a very interesting statistic – the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is 55-64 year olds! So no longer is this social network only appealing to young and tech savvy users. Twitter does need far more interaction with the followers. Regular tweets and more devoted interaction is required here. Read more surprising Twitter stats here …
Women, women, women. If you have a product or service that appeals to women, you should really be on Pinterest. 80% of Pinterest users are women. 50% of Pinterest users have children. This social network is obviously also totally visual – so your product / service needs to have visual appeal. If so, this social network could work even better for you than Facebook and needs to be considered. You should post to this network several times a day ideally.
Instagram is a great easy to use tool which can feed easily and successfully into all your other social networks … it can post to your Facebook and Twitter profiles and has simple to use tools to make those quick photos you take on your phone look incredible. You would obviously need to have a business where you have something to photograph.
LinkedIn is essential for any professional looking to connect with other professionals or corporates. You can set your profile up to pull your Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google+ posts, etc. to your LinkedIn so once setup, LinkedIn can be left to generate leads and won’t be required to be logged in to too often.
Google+ has rapidly grown into one of the top 3 social networks. With more people becoming aware of the Google ranking benefits, any business who wants to get more visitors to it’s website or other pages from Google needs to consider a Google+ Page.
Understanding social network user behaviour
Its important to realize that many users choose only 1 or a couple of social networks to interact on. So if you choose to only have a Facebook Page for example, you will not attract the many Twitter users who choose to not use Facebook at all and only use Twitter. So whilst certain social networks may be more obviously geared towards your business or brand – don’t discount the value of having a more fully encompassing strategy.
Choose a network and get posting!
If your chose is clearer with respect to social network selection, make it and get posting!