Social media is an extremely important part of any marketing campaign in 2013. Note that we didn’t say “Internet marketing,” because at Ring Ring Marketing, we believe that with people rapidly turning to the Internet to find businesses — and ignoring print media in the process — all marketing is Internet marketing. And that’s why social media most certainly can’t be ignored.
That said, not every social media platform is equal. Facebook and Twitter are superstars of the social media world, at least for now, and LinkedIn and Google+ aren’t far behind. (Okay, Google+ definitely has some catching up to do, but Google is constantly combining its social media aspect with all its tools, so Google+ will only continue to gain prominence). But those are only four among the hundreds of social media platforms trying to gain your participation, your involvement, and hopefully (for them), your business.
There are only so many hours in the day, and as a small business owner, you need to be able to tell the wheat from the chaff. We’ve put together a few questions you should consider when determining whether a new social network will drive leads and make your phone ring.
Who Is Using the Network Now?
Not who the platform wants to use the network. Not who it hopes will use the network. Who is on there currently?
You should be able to identify the demographics of the network, how and when its users are interacting with it, why they are using it, and how involved they are.
Demographics is a big consideration: For example, the Pinterest platform is composed of 80 percent female users. Almost 30 percent of users are ages 25–34. If these are demographics that would be relevant targets for your business, Pinterest makes a lot of sense. If they’re not, you’d be better off looking elsewhere for potential leads.
How Likely Are These People to Use or Promote Your Product?
Even if the people using the network fall into your demographic, you need to determine whether they’re likely to be interested in becoming your customers — or at least whether they’re likely to promote your products/services through word of mouth.
Are these the type of people using the platform? Is the platform itself set up to easily share items of interest between people using it? The networks that provide the best return on investment tend to be the ones in which social sharing elements are integral to the platform and consistently used.
Do You Have the Content/Resources/Time to Participate Meaningfully in this Particular Network?
If you don’t (or can’t) produce videos, YouTube isn’t of any use to you. If visual content isn’t your thing, something like Pinterest won’t be very helpful. Of course, if there are ways you can produce content that represents your business through videos or images, respectfully, you have something to offer on those platforms.
That said, is it worth it to you to produce content specifically for that network? Content creation requires time and (sometimes) money. You don’t want to fall in the trap of buying or duplicating content, which can often backfire, so you’ll need something original.
The more networks you join, the more time you’ll spend, and the more likely you are to post only sporadically on each. It’s generally better to focus your efforts on a few key networks that fit your business and make sure to regularly contribute to those platforms.
With new social networks popping up every month, knowing where to invest your time and marketing dollars can be confusing. The Internet marketing pros at Ring Ring Marketing are happy to help you whittle down the possibilities to get the most bang for your buck.