Most businesses create profile accounts on many social sites without actually thinking about the goal or structure of how they are going to effectively use it as a social media marketing strategy. A lot of time & money can be wasted without a plan or knowing what sites are most effective for your business to carry out that plan.
It is important to set clear goals & plan the structure of what each social site is going to be used for, where to promote first, where the content is coming from to promote, what parts of your business do you promote & where do you want all the marketing traffic you generate from it to go?
By answering these questions about your business will mean not only will you create a strategy, but save yourself time by streamlining what to stay focused on (& what to allocate to others) & how to focus on it – eg which days are more responsive to direct promotions as opposed to sharing them in articles, what type of promotions to offer as competitions, as sign ups on welcome pages in Facebook or Twitter links etc… and whether you use Facebook or LinkedIn Ads as part of your growth strategy or sales strategy.
This chart from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition shows which social media platforms have proven to be the most effective for inbound marketing and as you can see Blogging is the most important.
This is not surprising since ‘content’ on it’s own is one of the most cost effective strategies in getting your business noticed by search engines such as Google. But blogging can also play a major role in the shared content on other social sites to promote your business & drive further traffic to your website. For many in small businesses who have a website, then create a bundle of social site profiles but don’t add a blog to the list, is most often the biggest mistake in the structure for effective social media marketing to work over the long term.
From the results it is also obvious why there is lot of attention on the use of Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is like the world’s biggest virtual shopping centre & it is free to place your business in it by creating a page. Twitter is becoming more & more accepted to blast out short spur of the moment promotions or schedule links to your articles or other media you deem interesting to your followers. Both these sites are interactive with followers & will only truly succeed with you spending some short moments per day networking with them & their pages or twitter accounts – you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours so to speak.
Depending on your target audience it may be a more effective strategy to use LinkedIn or YouTube. Both these sites don’t expect you to be as highly interactive but do allow you to comment and connect with others that would be relevant to your business. People expect to find information to solve a problem themselves or the people who can solve their problems quickly for them – and both YouTube & LinkedIn are key sites that are driven by that idea.
As much as some people don’t have the time to read through articles to find a solution and would prefer to watch a video, a business can use the same strategy if they don’t have the time regularly to write articles for their blog. Videos can be placed in your blog instead of an article post and don’t require to be as highly polished as an article due to the nature of them being videos & ‘problem solving’ information. You are not being judged on how professional is your presentation – but how good was the content in solving their problem. There is a reason Google purchased YouTube and it is because it is the second most largest website people go to to search for information.
LinkedIn is all about finding the right people for the right job – it is not so much about commenting on people’s shared posts and most often the posts are fed in from another social site. It is like an online resume and the information about you should be always kept up to date and the image current. Just like the offline network though, it is important to build a list of ‘who you know’ as this is where people tend to start to find people they need within their business to solve problems. There are a number of strategies to do this besides requesting a bunch of connections from people you barely know. It’s about using the various components of the site and your time effectively.
From the chart you can see there is a dramatic drop off after these five major social sites already spoken about. But don’t necessarily ignore them if you are thinking of making social media a major component of your marketing campaign, because with big percentages also comes big crowds that you need to either spend money or time to be visibly seen in. Think of it as the small butcher all the locals know in the mall as opposed to finding the same shop in a large shopping centre. Sure the store has less crowd to promote to, but he also has less competition around him as well. These smaller social sites don’t also require the monitoring and maintenance that some of the larger sites require as well. So if it is relevant to your business to possibly use podcasts or share relevant sites, photos or documents these things will help build your business as an authoritative expert people will consider trusting as well.
If the thought of knowing whether you have set up your business’ major social site accounts properly or not has you concerned, or it sounds a little daunting to even know where to start, but you do want to learn how to manage your accounts cost and time effectively, then register for my Getting Started with Social Media workshop. This is a whole day where my team work with you strategising, creating & downloading any required software on your laptop so you can stroll out at the end of the day all ready to go – easy right? It does sound a little less daunting now doesn’t it??? =)