Social media marketing is all the rage. Everyone is excited about being on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and all the other social platforms that are available for gaining followers for a business.
But what’s the best way to build your following, and how do you know which platforms to invest in?
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses take the wrong approach. They hear about how valuable social media is, so they open accounts on any and every platform they can get their hands on. They create a page on Facebook, start a Twitter account, sign up for Google+, and get a presence on LinkedIn. And this is in conservative cases. Other businesses go on to get onto Pinterest, Youtube, Tumblr, and more.
Now there’s not technically a problem with being on all of these platforms, unless you’re like most businesses and have limited resources. In which case, it’s not feasible to invest time and money into every possible social media network. If you’re Coca-Cola, you can pull it off, but if you’re a smaller business with less resources at your disposal than a Fortune 500 company, you may want to come up with a better strategy.
A Smarter Social Media Strategy
The smarter strategy is to figure out which networks are important to your customers and which ones you can manage well.
For the first point, you need to figure out where your customers hang out online. Are you marketing to stay-at-home moms? If yes, then you need to figure out which networks are important to them. My off-hand guess is that Facebook and Pinterest are pretty good options for reaching moms who are at home with their kids.
If that’s the case, then you don’t need to waste your time with LinkedIn, and you may not even need to invest your time in managing a Twitter account. If you can reach 99% of your customers with Facebook and Pinterest, that may be the route to take, especially if you can only manage a handful of networks well.
And that’s what it really comes down to. You want to figure out how you can reach your customers, which means you need to find out which networks they use the most, and you also want to only be on the number of social networks you can manage well. It doesn’t do much good to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ if you don’t have time for all four of them. It’s much better to really kill it on Facebook and Pinterest than to have your time spread across two additional networks which means you aren’t getting traction on any of them.
I’m by no means trying to say that you shouldn’t be on more networks if that’s something you have the resources for, but I am saying that you don’t need to chase every new social network as if your business’s success depends on it.
However, most social media gurus make it sound like the walls of your business will collapse if you aren’t on every single social media platform. As soon as something new comes out, they try convince you that you need to get on board. Part of the reason is that they want to sell you their new new book on how to manage the latest platform, but the other part is that it does make sense for a lot of businesses to take advantage of every marketing channel that they can.
But this post isn’t focused on those businesses. It’s focused on the ones that have limited resources, which many do. If you’re a mom and pop restaurant, you probably can’t run six different social accounts well, but if you’re KFC, then you should by all means hit up every possible network and do what you can to get in front of new customers.
1. First, figure out where your customers hang out and find out which networks they use the most. Stay at home moms and college students use Facebook a lot, so that’s a good place to start if those are your customers, but if you’re marketing to business professionals, you may want to look into LinkedIn and Twitter, if that happens to be where your customers hang out online.
2. Next, you need to identify how many networks you can manage well. If that’s two, then sign up for two and make sure to do a really good job with those networks. If it’s four, then sign up for four and make it happen. But if the number isn’t 10, don’t feel like you’re missing out by not being on as many networks as the big guys. It’s much better to become an expert in two networks than it is to run 10 different accounts and not manage any of them well.
Have you ever struggled with attempting to figure out which networks your business should manage? Do you have any experience with feeling overextended on social media? If yes, we’d love to know your thoughts on how to pick the right social media outposts to invest in and what your experience has been managing multiple accounts. Leave a comment so we can all learn more.
Joseph Wesley Putnam is the proud owner of 5 North Marketing. He helps startups with copywriting, content marketing, and conversion rate optimization. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+, schedule a call on Clarity, and read more of his posts on the 5 North Marketing Blog.