Maybe you want more sales. Maybe you want a cost-effective marketing strategy that delivers results. Or maybe you want to position yourself as a Thought Leader in your industry, if so social media is for you. Social media is mostly free to use, and it can certainly deliver in terms of website traffic, sales and influence. Many businesses and entrepreneurs stay away from social media because they feel overwhelmed on where to start. Other businesses create pages, only to abandon them after a period of time. Social media requires hard work and strategy, but the end results are certainly rewarding when you get it right. So what are the best social media sites to sign up too?
The truth is, it depends on where your tribe are. Before you start signing up to multiple platforms it will pay to do a little research and find them. Start by looking at other businesses or people in your industry and see what platforms they are most active on. If you are already communicating with existing customers or clients, ask them.
Once you know the best platforms for you pick your top 3, realistically when you are starting out keeping multiple platforms up to date can be challenging. You can always add more later if you choose to. Here are some of the Pro’s and Con’s of some of the top platforms you may decide to use.
Facebook is relatively easy to set up and use. Facebook also allows you to monitor your views, as well as tracking how many people are clicking your links. You don’t need complex software or analytics to find out this information. It is the number 1 social media platform relative to the sheer volume of users. If you choose to venture into the paid options for advertising, the ability to target your ideal clients is first class.
There are many options you can consider as far as strategy to keep your tribe engaged is concerned, such as contests, surveys and regular give aways.
There is very little you can now do on Facebook for free as far as gaining organic reach, so spending a lot of time building a large following may not be the best way to spend your time and energy. The rules of engagement change often, so you need to spend some time keeping up to date with what works and what doesn’t. If you are going to use Facebook consider subscribing to some social media blogs that will keep up to date for you.
The cost of advertising is constantly rising. If you are considering using some of your advertising budget here, make sure you are tracking your ROI and testing and measuring results regularly.
Twitter is also another giant in terms of social media. It is much easier to get followers on Twitter than it is to get likes on Facebook. The ability to create lists to keep track of tweets from specific niches or people you want to follow is also excellent. The hash tag originated on Twitter though it is now widely used on many other platforms as well. Make sure you have a strategy around hash tagging, it is very easy to do and can extend your reach well beyond your own follower base almost immediately. Twitter has evolved well past it’s original 140 character SMS style tweet and now adding images and links is almost mandatory, the good news though is your engagement is much higher now when you use these.
The analytics available just keep getting better and better, as do the advertising options if you choose to use them.
People are less likely to see your tweets because users tend to follow thousands of people. Getting onto Lists needs to be part of your strategy. Make sure you turn off all email notifications, spam content is still quite high. Twitter is heading towards a pay for use model similar to Facebook, though not likely to go as far as Facebook has, with this in mind the sooner you build your presence here the better.
There are simply so many reasons you should be using LinkedIn, by all means do your research first however it is almost certain LinkedIn should be one of your three platforms. LinkedIn is focussed very much in the professional space, with almost zero focus on the social side of social media. The Publisher platform is currently being rolled out to all users, start using it as soon as you have access.
There are many different subscription levels yet the free version is still very robust and not short on features to get you started. There are currently over 330 million users on LinkedIn with 2 new profiles being set up every second. So the likelihood of finding your ideal clients or customers is very high.
Analytics are not as strong as many other platforms yet but expect this to improve in time. There really is no standard strategy that works for LinkedIn, It does take some effort to tailor your strategy to suit your goals. I would highly recommend reading some good books on LinkedIn or connecting with a LinkedIn expert to help get you started. They are easy to find, just type in LinkedIn Expert in the advanced search field.
One of the biggest pro’s for Google Plus is simply the fact it is owned by Google. Being active on the social media platform of the world’s most popular search engine should be considered. The number of active users is a little contentious however by any metric it has a large user base. The ability to link all of your social media profiles, websites etc you use is a great feature too. Organic Reach is still very good compared to Facebook. Google Plus seems to be doing a great job of creating a well integrated set of tools. You Tube, Gmail, Mail Chimp, Google Plus and Hangouts are just the start
Building your network is not too difficult, however is time consuming compared to other platforms. Setting up your profile to it’s full potential is not simple either. You would again benefit from following some blogs specialising in the features of Google Plus, or reaching out to a specialist for some initial assistance in the set up phase.
Google has a history of dropping features that don’t meet their expectations, Google Plus similar to Facebook needs to be constantly tweaked to ensure you are getting the maximum benefit from the time you spend.
Of course there are many other platforms you can choose from, the key’s to initial success are:
Do your homework first
Don’t take on too much too soon
Quality always trumps quantity
Have a plan
Stick with it, social media is a marathon not a sprint