Social media sites are now very well established as marketing and communications platforms. They aren’t a substitute or replacement for your website, but they can serve extremely important complementary roles.
Done well, your active presence on one or more social media sites can give you higher online visibility and build stronger engagement with your customers and prospects.
What Social Media Sites Should You Be On?
Nearly all businesses now need to consider having an active presence on one or more social media sites. Exactly which sites depends on the type of business you are in, where your customers tend to spend time, and how you go to market.
For US based companies, the big four that most companies should have a look at are:
- Facebook. Most any company will find that its customers and prospects regularly spend time on Facebook. While many people think of Facebook as a place where teenagers waste a lot of time, it has an increasingly serious side that enables marketers to reach and engage with both consumers and other businesses in very productive ways. As such, it is the most important social media platform for many companies.
- YouTube. YouTube is another massive platform. While YouTube is certainly a social media site, it is also a massive platform for search in a way that Facebook is not. As such, you can apply SEO-like methods as you’d use on your website. At the same time, it is a site where you can attract followers and a fan base akin to Facebook. If your content lends itself to video and your company has the resources to produce good effective video content, then it is well worth considering YouTube.
- Twitter. Twitter takes a distinctive approach that confounds a lot people. The very short message length and other limitations can seem very constraining. It can be hard to say much of substance in 140 characters. But yet, the platform has over 200 million users and many of them are highly engage. If your personality and/or your product lends itself to high frequency tweets and/or your target market spends a lot of time on Twitter, it can be an effective channel.
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business-centric platform and is well suited for companies that sell to other companies. Over time, it has taken on more and more Facebook-like capabilities with followers, posting walls, and the like. As such, it is a kind of Facebook for business. If you are in a B2B marketplace, LinkedIn could offer a compelling environment for pitching your product. If you are a consumer based company, it is probably not worth your time.
Managing Your Social Media Presence?
Unlike most business websites which tend to be relatively stable for longish periods of time, social media tends to be more time-based. It is relies more on flow and frequency. That means you need to maintain a certain level of activity to be seen as active and engaged. If you aren’t active enough, people lose interest and your brand loses credibility.
The first step in thinking about your social media presence is to select which platforms you are going to target. This should be based on the type of business you are in, where your audience tends to hang out, and the type of marketing approach you favor. If you are new to social media, it probably makes sense to start small by focusing on a single site. If that gets traction, you can think about expanding to other platforms.
Next you need to develop a content strategy. In short, this is about outlining what sort of things you are going to post where, how often you plan to post, and who is going to be doing the posting. In terms of what to post, what you are looking for initially is an outline of topics or categories that are likely to be able to support on-going, sustainable content over time. It also helps to itemize some specific posts in each category so you have a clear idea of what sort of thing will measure up as worthwhile, but you don’t need to identify every post you plan to make for the next year. You just need enough to get started. Then you need to cultivate an eye for new material as you move along.
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll next need to setup a pages for your business on each social media site. This requires some branded graphics that ideally should be created by a graphic designer. You’ll also want to try to capture a page url that is as close to your business name as possible. So, for instance, if your company is called ‘XYZ Media’, you’ll want to get the Facebook url Facebook.com/XYXMedia, if it is available.
Once you’ve got these building blocks in place, you’ll need to start posting things. Typically, we recommend to start slowly and avoid setting a pace that is not going to be sustainable. A steady flow of a few posts a week is better than periodic bursts of lots of posts followed by silence. Steady, consistent flow is ideal. We recommend posting for at least a few weeks to build some history and depth to your page before you move on to the next stage of building your follower base.
Obviously, everyone wants loads and loads of followers on their social media page(s). But this can be a lot harder to accomplish than you might expect. Clearly, there is a lot of competition for our attention, so you’ll want to set reasonable expectations and be prepared to spend months building a decent fan base. As you are doing that, you will sometimes feel like you are talking to an empty room, but unfortunately there’s no avoiding that until you’ve got a deep and engaged pool of followers. There are many methods one can employ to build and accelerate your fan base and you’ll want to identify and try the ones that apply to you.
Please contact us and let’s talk about how we can work together to build a strong social media presence for your company.