With the proliferation of social media many businesses today have a sense of urgency to engage with every platform. The majority implement a presence on channels without due diligence of who their audience actually is, and how to best reach them. On average businesses spread themselves across 5 social channels. This is the wrong strategy.
Dominate One Core Channel First,
Diversify To Other Channels Later
A 2013 Pew Research Survey shows the major 5 social sites as:
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
That leaves YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit and Vine as secondary players (for now).
The Survey results further show:
• Facebook dominates with 71% of online adults using that channel. Facebook has a diverse mix of demographic groups but other channels have more unique user profiles.
• Pinterest holds appeal for female users – women are four times more likely than men to use that channel.
• LinkedIn is especially popular among college graduates and internet users with higher income households.
• Twitter and Instagram have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers and non-Caucasian. There is substantial overlap between Twitter and Instagram users.
• Facebook and Instagram users typically check in on these sites at least once a day thus have higher levels of engagement.
• 42% of online adults use multiple social networks, but Facebook remains the platform of choice coming in at 84% for single use networks
• 42% of adults use two or more social networks, 36% use only one and the remaining 22% don’t use any of the major five sites.
• Among those that use only one social network, 84% site Facebook as their primary channel.
• Single use platforms further breakdown as 8% LinkedIn, 4% using Pinterest and 2% each say that Instagram or Twitter are the sole social networking site.
Are you rethinking your Pinterest and Twitter efforts at this point? A better question is –
Have You Surveyed Your Existing Customer Base
To Query What Social Channel They Use The Most?
If you’ve spread yourself thin on all channels it’s not too late to re-evaluate and re-focus. Simply look at where your primary customer spends time – it’s logical to conclude if existing customers are there then prospective customers must have similar behavior therefore can also be found on that network.
Know Your Audience
Don’t try to be all things to all people. Fragmentation is not your friend. Take time to develop buyer personas, identifying what their pain points are in relation to what your product or service offers to ease that pain. If your product or service doesn’t improve their personal or professional life in some form or fashion then you’re on the wrong network.
Once you’ve developed buyer personas and identified the primary social network to focus on, determine the objective of having the social presence.
No, you can’t simply say “My customers are there – so must I be”.
What do you hope to gain by connecting socially with customers?
And, don’t say providing coupons, discounts and other incentives to get buyers to buy. That approach is absolutely foolish (and one of my biggest pet peeves). The purpose of social is to have a two way conversation not to continue the one way – talk at them, spam, traditional media approach. The days of talking at and pushing your message out are over. Accept it. Buyers are in control and they have expectations of you as marketers.
If someone’s on your social channel it’s because they’re interested enough in your product or service to engage socially.
A Content Strategy Of Engagement Is The Next Step
The inbound (online) marketing industry has adopted the word “delight” when it comes to the customer experience. Maybe I’m not a delightful person by nature because I wouldn’t characterize any online experience as creating “delight” for me, but I have been satisfied and dissatisfied. Your aim should be to satisfy a need with relevant content.
Next Set Goals For Your Efforts
According to Advertising Age – Content Marketing 2014, common goals for content marketing (and thereby social media) are:
1. Improve your brands perception/visibility
2. Acquire customers/generate leads
3. Increase relevance/influence
4. Engender loyalty/ongoing customer engagement (CRM)
5. Build community
6. Move people along the sales funnel
7. Create customer service content
8. Attract new employees
9. Educate trade partners
10. Eschew traditional ad-media channels
11. Fulfill your mission
Pick 2-3 from the list for your core social channel and develop content to meet those goals. You might even create a Mission Statement so as not to lose sight of the overall objective.
ROI is realized by using social media as a launching pad to your website where visitors are converted to customers and existing customers expand on past purchases. If that’s the long run objective then goal 2 & 6 should be the prime focus. Develop relevant content with those goals in mind.
Every business needs to look at ROI but at the same time recognize that’s looking backward. Measure social media for the future, not the past. And, remember social isn’t the platform where you’ll make money it’s simply one more avenue to getting there.
The Takeaway –
Less is More.
Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it magic. There is no silver bullet. But there is overwhelming evidence its best practice to follow the standard formula of focusing on one core channel to grow a loyal audience over time before adding channels.
What’s been the experience with your social channels and how have you gone about determining which is best?
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