Leveraging Your Reach
Most businesses are on social media. Industry leaders realized quite a while ago that social media is absolutely necessary for marketing campaigns. The problem is that every single platform takes something more dear than money — time. Each platform takes dedication to set up and then more time to grow a social media audience. It’s important that you don’t waste time and effort in setting up accounts on social media platforms that won’t help you.
Quantity or Quality in Your Social Media Audience?
What’s better — a large audience or an audience interested in your services? Most people would say the second, but the answer is a bit of a split. You want to reach your target audience. If you’re selling enterprise office equipment, you probably don’t want to advertise on a site for home repair services. If your social media platform is filled with people who won’t be receptive to your products or message, you’re not only wasting your time but you’re likely irritating people.
Creating a number of accounts on different platforms helps you to tailor your message and find the right venues for your target audience, but you will occasionally hit an overlap of audiences you didn’t expect. For instance, if you’re selling designer handbags, you want to be on a platform that has a large majority of women. Pinterest boasts a large majority of female users and also features photos, which is a wonderful way to sell fashion items. Great. But, there’s also a segment of the male market that may be receptive to purchasing your items as gifts. So, while you should definitely pursue the female audience on a site like Pinterest, you also want to have a presence on sites with both female and male users.
Target your market, but don’t pinpoint it so much that you eliminate other social media audiences who may be receptive. However, you also don’t want to spread yourself too thinly. If you don’t have the bandwith to update 6 social media platforms regularly, find your core audience and stick with them.
How Do You Find the Right Social Media Platform?
The first step is Marketing 101: know your target audience. Facebook is a likely platform for many businesses because it has a tremendous reach across every segment of the population. But you may find Pinterest or Instagram work better for your products if they sell better through images (fashion, jewelry, and food are good examples). Depending on what you do, some industry-specific sites may actually work a lot better. For instance, a jeweler who specialized in antique and vintage watches would want to have a presence on the National Association of Watch & Clock Collector’s (NAWCC) message board. They may also do well with larger social media sites, but avid collectors will look to a reputable association for better businesses.
For a professional or business-minded audience, LinkedIn deserves your time and energy. There are many ways to leverage this network, including:
- Actively adding to your professional network
- Join groups in your industry or area of expertise. Listen in to what spurs active discussion and participation. Share appropriately without being spammy.
- Post updates to your network
- Publish articles
- Targeted ads (Note: this should be a part of an overall PPC strategy)
Your research should start with pinpointing your target audience and then studying each social media platform to compare their users with the prospects you’re trying to reach. Also, consider doing some keyword research; the Adwords Keyword Planning tools (free as part of an AdWords account) will help you find search phrases related to your business. It may help you find topics that you can find within a social network (e.g., using hashtags or search box).
What other ways have you used to find your ideal social media audience? As I was researching this article, I thought about social butterflies and wondered what a group of butterflies was called. Kaleidoscope. Who knew?