It has become the mantra of the new Internet revolution that businesses MUST be involved in social media to succeed online. But with new social media outlets emerging and others going in and out of favor at an ever-increasing pace, it can be hard to keep up. And many business owners find it a real challenge to know where to invest their time and how to leverage social media effectively. Business owners are asking themselves and others the following questions:
■What social media outlets are best for my niche?
■How much time do I need to spend online to be successful?
■I’m so busy working IN my business – how am I going to Tweet, blog, and spend hours on LinkedIn too?
■Do people really care whether or not I’m on Facebook?
If you were to advertise your business, you wouldn’t start by creating a list of newspapers, Yellow Pages, and magazines, and immediately sign up to place ads in each and every one of them. Instead, you’d set a budget and do an assessment of prospective advertising venues in order to determine which would be most effective in reaching your target market.
Even though you can join most social media networking sites free of charge, your involvement will cost you your time. As a result, you need to plan where to invest your social media “budget” much like you would plan on spending your advertising budget.
So don’t go crazy and join every social media site available just because they’re there. Instead, start with just three or possibly four carefully selected sites. You’ll get more out of it if you focus on a handful of outlets and actually use them properly and consistently. Attempting to make a splash on many outlets at once without the proper follow-through will not serve you nearly as well. So before you create profiles on everything from LinkedIn to Tumblr, ask yourself the following questions:
■Where are my customers?
■Do I prefer to share text, audio, video, or images?
■How much time do I have to invest in social media?
■What are my goals: Connecting with existing customers, reaching new prospects, or establishing relationships with potential partners?
■Am I ready to make a long-term commitment to social media?
The answers to these questions will help drive your choice of where to spend your time. If you’re into arts, enjoy taking photographs, and many of your customers are already on Flickr, then Flickr is a natural place to establish yourself. But if you are an accountant who wants to reach new customers, Flickr might not make much sense.
Balance your natural preferences with logical choices about where you can best reach your desired audience. Yes, you want exposure to the people you need to “meet,” but you also want to pick sites that are appealing and fun for you. If you hate video, don’t commit to YouTube! Instead, select something that you won’t dread doing.
Remember, there are millions and millions of people online, and hundreds of social media sites to choose from. You’re sure to find a good match (or three!) between your target market and your individual preferences. In the next sections, we’ll discuss many of the top social media sites and how to approach each one with a strategy that will let you create an effective presence in just 15 minutes a day.
This article was written by Blogworkz who is a specialist in Social Media.
Gina Antoniou is the director of PA Workstation offering administrative support to Independent Financial Advisers and Small to Medium Sized Enterprises. Contact Gina to find how a VA can benefit your business.