The new year has arrived and resolutions are abundant and well intended for the time being. As we begin this new year one of the goals that many companies have outlined or at least thought about in some detail is how they will begin using social media to help grow their business. This is a question that has been asked more frequently over the last 3-5 years with the ever growing popularity of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc.
When it comes to social media, there is no black and white answer about what sites to use, how frequently to post, what to post or even how to create a plan of action. The best way to begin is to step back and evaluate your business and each of the major aforementioned social platforms and see what fits your business best.
There are more than 200 social media sites out on the world wide web right now. This number grows every week, adding to the choices that we have by which we connect with customers. It is very easy to bite off more than you can chew by trying to “do it all”. Doing it all most assuredly is overwhelming, not to mention a motivational killjoy.
When companies first consider social media, one of the big questions I encounter in almost every workshop or engagement is “what social media sites should I use”. The answer to this question is different for everyone. Why is that? Every company has it’s own personality, structure, set up and vibe. There is a way that each company engages with their customers that resonates and engages them. There is a style to what you do that is attractive to a certain client that works well for you. This “style” is something that should be considered when choosing which social venues to use for your company.
There are the “Big Six” that I stress as the foundation for a social presence. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, LinkedIn and a blog. Then there are the others such as Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Diggit, flikr, reddit, MySpace and many many more. How do you choose? My answer is to start basic and then look at what makes sense. For example, if you are a business that hosts foot traffic I would recommend a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page and then a Foursquare account. Why? Because Foursquare is designed to give benefits for those who “check in” to your business. There are perks and rewards that you can offer to customers who come in regularly. For an insurance agency such as the one I work for, that does not work well because people don’t frequent our offices regularly. For a golf course however, this is a great idea because clients do visit often and may do so more frequently if you offer incentives such as a discount for checking in a certain number of times. There are some sites like Pinterest that, although they have a more social feeling, if used creatively they can be a great engagement tool (not to mention people love pinning stuff to their boards). So, as you dive into social media take a minute to look at how you do business and marry that to two things:
- One or more of the “Big Six” (don’t take them all on!)
- The time you are willing to invest in keeping up with them.
I will say that starting a social presence and then quitting is the WORST thing you can do. The non verbal here is that you are a quitter and don’t follow through. Do you really want your customers to think that or tell other potential clients that? I don’t think so. So again, start with just one and as time allows add the sites that make sense for you.