Social media for businesses is big right now because it brings business owners an easy way to connect and engage their customers.
Your customers are on Facebook and Twitter. They are pinning stuff on Pinterest, uploading self-made videos on YouTube, and updating their resumes on LinkedIn. There are just too many sites to keep track of and you are lost at where to start.
On top of that, not all social media sites are right for your kind of business. Because these sites work differently, there are certain types of businesses that could maximize their marketing efforts on Pinterest, while others would do better on Facebook.
How do you know which social media site is right for you? Read on.
Like any successful marketing endeavor, you need to plan your social media campaigns. You need to have a clear objective and aim for your social media efforts. You should be clear that social media is not a venue for marketing and sales, but for engaging your current customers, finding new ones, and perhaps other aims such as making yourself an expert in your industry or gaining exposure in a niche market or locale.
You should also know who you are targeting and what you are trying to say. Content will be a vital part of your social media strategy. As early as now, you should know what types of content you are going to put on your social media properties and how to write them.
Another thing that you should consider is how much time you are planning to spend on social media marketing. Most businesses make the mistake of putting up a Facebook account, for example, and then not working on it. This is very bad because it shows your lack of commitment and if you, the business owner, do not care, why should your customers?
2. Know your weapon/s of choice.
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to do and how you are going to do it, you must get to know the different sites that are available.
a. Google+ and Facebook. With more than 1 billion users, Facebook is the most popular social networking site today. What’s more, Facebook has made it very easy for businesses to set up a Facebook page and have their customers “like” them.
Facebook requires your commitment, and yes a great deal of your time. It is said that you cannot sell anything on Facebook, and even Facebook Ads have been slow in attracting revenues for Facebook. But it is a great site to be in if you want to be where your customers are, start a discussion and engage them in conversation.
In short, you could easily foster discussion and engagement on Facebook and that paves the way from stronger brand loyalty.
The same goes for the lesser-used and newer Google+.
On top of building brand loyalty and functioning as a mini-Facebook page, Google+ can help you if you want to send different messages to different customers because of its circles feature.
b. Twitter. Twitter allows your customers to follow you on the platform, thereby giving you an instant audience to everything you have to say. But you have to say it in a direct manner, as all your tweets are a short and sweet 140 characters.
Businesses on Twitter may find it more difficult to engage their customers and build brand loyalties. But it is the perfect platform for announcing news and updates about your business, sharing posts and new product updates and telling people about your new blog entry.
Also, if you are looking to businesses and influencers in your industry, Twitter is the best place to do it.
c. LinkedIn. This site is geared primarily for business networking. If you are seeking to connect with other people who have your interest, or is in the same industry as you are, or if you are looking for employees or a supplier, LinkedIn might be a good venue for you.
d. Pinterest. Pinterest is just perfect for businesses that rely on pictures to help sell their products. Businesses dealing with photography, handicraft and jewelry makers, clothes and accessories and other similar pursuits can leverage Pinterest to help showcase their products to their customers and potential clients.
However, plumbers, writers and other businesses that don’t have product s and services that translate well to images would not have an easy time being on Pinterest.
e. YouTube. Video marketing is one of the biggest growth areas in online marketing. People are more apt to watch a video about your product rather than read a blog post about it. Plus, they are more likely to find it on search engines too because the competition is fewer for videos than Web pages.
Further, with more than 800 million users logging onto YouTube every month AND spending an average of 23 minutes on the site, businesses get a potentially large audience right there.
Social media marketing is not limited to these. Sometimes, you would need to be resourceful in finding where your customers are. For example, if you sell vinyl records, chances are you would have a very small niche market that you would not find on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site. You might want to find discussion groups and forums that cater to people who collect and buy vinyl records. Or you can make one yourself.