There are a multitude of choices and channels when it comes to social media. But let’s face it – you can’t be everywhere online. Well you can try, but unless you have an army of social media managers working for you it’s likely to work. You’ll spread yourself too thin and end up tossing in the social media towel. In this post I’ll discuss how to choose the best one or two social media platforms for your business and how to get started with each.
What Are Your Business Goals?
First get clear on your business goals. Why do you even want to use social media? What do you expect to get out of it? Be as specific as possible. Do you want to increase sales, build brand recognition, or grow an online community? Social media campaigns can be both time consuming and expensive. What results do you want in exchange for all this effort? Have a good long think and write everything down.
Pick One Or Two And Get Really Good Before Adding More
Once your social media business goals are clearly defined, assess the available platforms within the context of your goals. Pick one or two channels to start so you don’t get overwhelmed. Read the information in How to Decide Which Social Networks are Most Important to You.
Where are your customers already hanging out? Do some detective work and see if you can find them. For example, search for your customers on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you find them there, these two channels are likely good candidates for your first two platforms. If you haven’t already, set up your accounts and take a closer look around.
Listen Before You Leap
It’s a good idea to spend some time observing, or “listening” to your chosen social media channels before you dive in with daily updates. This will give you an opportunity to get a feel for how things work. Look to see what customers and your competition are saying. They might even be talking about your products and services. This is known as “social listening”.
Quite often, customers will express a marketplace need that you have not identified yet. Study what’s happening in these social streams to get a feel for the tone and tenor of the community. This will enable you to position yourself and your company in the best light when you decide to join the conversation.
The point of all of this social media is to be, um, social. Just like any other social situation, once you have a lay of the land and something to say it’s time to mingle. You’ve studied the crowd, assessed what they are interested in, and now it’s time to provide value. Answer questions or share information that can truly help.
“Be interested and interesting” and you’ll be off to a great start.
It takes a while for social media interactions to blossom into tangible results, so give yourself some time before making a decision about the effectiveness of your chosen platform. Simple things you can measure are website referrals, increased or decreased follower counts, number of shares and whether or not you have connected directly with an influential blogger or customer. A good rule of thumb is to track these items monthly and then re-evaluate after 90 days.
After three months of using one or two social media accounts for your business you’ll have a good idea of whether or not those channels are a good fit. You will know how much work is involved in maintaining them. If you’re comfortable with the path you’re on, try adding another account. At that point you may decide to ask for some help. Sit down with your team and make a social media expansion plan, which will help you choose your next channel and grow your social media presence without losing any momentum.
What’s your experience with using multiple social media accounts for your business? Is it possible to be everywhere online and still focus on customers? If so, how do you do it? Let’s discuss in the comments.