Social media is everywhere. Consumers can go from their home computer, to their mobile phone, to their tablet, to their office laptop without missing a social beat. What started out as an easy way for people to connect with one another has turned into one of the most influential communication mediums ever known. Not embracing social media could prove very detrimental to businesses’ marketing efforts.
But, like most people, you’re probably wondering where do I begin? Do I join ever social network I learn about? Do I have to upload videos to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Twitter every single day? Each social network has both pros and cons (just like any other marketing medium) that need to be weighed against your goals.
Here are some brief highlights of four of the top social media networks (if you want to learn more about some of the other popular networks, CMO.com publishes a Social Landscape Chart each year outlining the major networks and their best uses).
Facebook is a destination network, in other words, consumers go on the Internet to go to Facebook and spend time on the site. The primary usage is not a means to get to other sites; in fact most users don’t want to navigate away from Facebook. The site has been developed to be an all encompassing platform (pictures, pages, chat, email, video, etc.) and a hub of all social media (you can integrate nearly every other network into your Facebook profile).
B2C businesses are thriving on Facebook by being where their target audience is already conversing and simply joining the conversation.
Twitter is the most popular microblogging site (messages of 140 characters or less) and, like Facebook, it is a great means of communication. You can almost liken Twitter as a text message to your target audience – any exciting news, informative article link, press release, or even a quick “hello, how’s it going,” can quickly be posted in a matter of seconds for your entire following to see.
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C business, Twitter can provide a great platform for you to converse with your target audience. However, if there isn’t a lot happening in your industry and you don’t have the means to tweet regularly, a different network may better suit your business.
LinkedIn is the new digital rolodex and the best network for personal branding and to position yourself and your business as experts in a specific area. With the ability to both create and/or engage in groups regarding specific topics, you can provide your intellect as a resource for the other group members. Just as businesses used Rolodexes pre-Internet, businesses use their LinkedIn connections to help them with their business needs.
If you are targeting business professionals, LinkedIn is the place to be.
The benefits of YouTube are limited only to your creativity. CMO said it well, “Whether you seek to entertain, inform, or both, video is a powerful channel for quickly responding to customer complaints and showing your social-media savvy.” Not only is YouTube great for communicating and building brand awareness, it is also a great tool for SEO.
Any business can utilize the benefits of YouTube.
Now, there are several hundred (if not more) other social networks with many more being started regularly. If you find yourself become overwhelmed with the amount of social media possibilities, take a step back and look at the overall picture. The best question you can ask yourself is, “where is my target market?” If they are on Facebook, go there. If they are on LinkedIn, go there. If they are on a very targeted network specific to industry, go there. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to connect to your target market in networks they aren’t active in.
Still unsure what network to join or if you are on the right one(s)? Comment below and let’s talk about it!