One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is, “What social media space should I be in?” Unless you hire a social media community manager (and feel free to contact me about that!) the average business, regardless of size, doesn’t have much time to spend building, growing and engaging on social media. So choose your social media space wisely and make your time there count.
Here’s a cheat sheet that can help:
You should probably be on Facebook and make the world’s most popular social network a part of your content strategy. Why?
* 67 percent of all U.S. Internet users are on Facebook
* 83 percent of adults ages 18-29 are on Facebook, but the fastest growing age bracket is ages 45-54
* Facebook is currently the most popular social media app on smartphones
But likes don’t necessarily lead to business. Facebook is most popular with B2C companies (like personal care products, clothing, restaurants, etc.), but B2B companies (such as technology companies) can use it successfully as well. Use Facebook as a place to connect with your target audience(s) and to share images and information virtually without limits (no 140 characters max, for example). It’s a great place to engage users through contests as well as to humanize your brand/business with exclusive content.
Have a purpose for each post and multiple goals you’d like each post to achieve (X number of likes, a certain number of click-throughs to a blog post, etc.) Relevant visuals perform well, but relevant is the key word here. If it’s not relevant and you’re just pulling it out of thin air for the express purpose of having something, anything, to post to Facebook, don’t bother. And remember, as Facebook continues to expand its advertising efforts, its influence is fading among users.
Bottom line: Be there, use it, engage, but don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket and be realistic with your expectations.
If you’re ready to build and/or be part of an online community, Twitter is a great place to be. Why?
* Twitter has 231 million active users monthly and 100 million daily active users
* Nearly 30 percent of U.S. Internet users ages 15-34 use Twitter
* And 75 percent of users access Twitter on a mobile device
Want your audience to take you with them? Be on Twitter. You must have content to push out on Twitter. It doesn’t all have to be original content — it’s perfectly acceptable to curate the content of others as long as you’re crediting where it came from. But that makes much less of an impact and certainly doesn’t drive people to your business or website. Every social network has a different purpose and different audiences so automatically cross posting between networks (like auto posting your Twitter updates to Facebook, for example) is pointless. It’s a waste of time and annoys people.
Twitter is for asking questions, sharing information and building communities around businesses, brands, causes, etc.
Bottom line: Twitter’s not for everyone. Explore, follow and determine if you can give it the proper amount of time (at least an hour or two per day, typically) to build, grow and engage a community. If you can’t participate properly, at least keep an eye on it to listen in and learn.
If you are a professional human being, just be on LinkedIn. Why?
* More than 225 million people use LinkedIn
* The most active users are ages 35-54, college educated with higher income levels
* Unlike many other social networks, a higher percentage of men use LinkedIn than women
LinkedIn is all about professional growth, virtual networking and targeted content sharing through groups. If you’re looking for B2B connections, being active on LinkedIn can help (LinkedIn is by far the biggest referer to my blog posts). It’s also a great place to search for employees or a new job.
Bottom line: Be on LinkedIn and at the very least, check in weekly. Join groups, engage, contribute and help others and you’ll get much more out of the network. It’s primarily for building businesses, not so much for selling consumer goods.
If you have a very visual brand/business that especially caters to women, Pinterest is the place for you. Why?
* Pinterest has 70 million users and each visit to the site lasts nearly 15 minutes
* 80 percent of Pinterest users are woman
* Nearly 20 percent of users have an annual income of more than $75,000
If you’re a high-end, aspirational business, you want your product/service to be “Pinspiration” for someone. Your content must be very visual and original. The most popular Pinterest boards and brands include food, crafts, home/design, fashion, gardens, etc.
Bottom line: If you’re not a consumer-facing brand or your brand/products fall outside of what’s most popular on Pinterest, you can probably skip this social network. It like won’t yield the engagement or results you desire for the time you’ll end up putting into it.
If your target market skews younger and you have a story to tell, Tumblr might just be the place for you. Why?
* 13 percent of 18-29 year olds use Tumblr with a nearly equal split between male and female
* Tumblr’s users are clustered at the lower end of the income scale (not unusual when you’re young) and the very high-end
* Tumblr achieves about 13 billion views worldwide per month and has a lot of casual (rather than regular) users. But the average time spent on the site is 32 minutes per visit
Tumblr is also a highly visual social network where liking and reblogging (typically verbatim) are shows of approval. Because users tend to be young, it’s a great place to build brand and business loyalty. Use Tumblr to tell stories and to target niche audiences. I’m very proud of my work on the General Mills History Tumblr and so far, it’s been a big hit.
Bottom line: If your content strategy includes compelling storytelling, can be broken into unique niches and skews toward younger audiences, Tumblr could be a great place for you.
If you’ve got a very visual brand/product/service and your target market is a moving target, Instagram is worth participating in. Why?
* 43 percent of cell phone users ages 18-29 are on Instagram and it’s an even split between men and women
* Nearly a quarter of users are on Instagram multiple times daily
Instagram is first and foremost a visual medium. If you’re location-based (restaurants, landmark, etc.) or are marketing something that outta be in pictures, Instagram is a great and unique social network.
Instagram is more status-based (“I am here,” and “Look at me wearing this”) than product based. Just taking a photo of a product isn’t going to engage anyone. Keep it creative and unique and use relevant hashtags and you’ll have a good chance at garnering likes (which are more prevalent than shares on the network). Instagram plays nice with Facebook, but it does not play nice with Twitter, so you may need to keep that in mind while developing your content strategy.
Bottom line: If you’ve got exiting things to look at (or new and exciting ways to look at something typically mundane) and you’re looking to be a pioneer where there aren’t many companies, Instagram is a great place.
Bottom line: If you have Gmail, you already have a G+ account. Everyone has a G+ account. No one seems to actually be doing anything with it.
If you’re pushing out original content on other social networks, post it to Google Plus for the search engine value. That’s it.
Hope this was helpful. As always, your business is unique and social media strategy should be tailored to your business goals and the needs of your target audience. Please feel free to contact me with questions about which social media space you should be in — Lynne (at) SocialVisibilityConsulting.com. And if your social media efforts don’t seem to be cutting it, a social media audit can save the day and provide invaluable feedback and direction.