Social media can be great for your business – or it can be a giant time suck yielding little financial gain.
While it’s tempting to try to be everywhere, most small businesses don’t have the arms and legs to do that effectively. Trying to update too many social platforms can lead to not doing any of them particularly well and thus, not generating the financial benefits you hoped for.
It’s not a great strategy to put identical content on multiple platforms. Each platform has a different expectation from users. Twitter is concise, opinionated and snarky. Facebook is fine with longer form content and live video. Instagram is driven by compelling visuals and humor. YouTube is the second largest search engine with every type of video imaginable.
There are many social media experts who say you should own your name on all platforms. I’ll share that I wish I had thought of that and registered my name on Twitter sooner. By the time I decided to become active on the platform before the launch of my book, I had to go with @CarolJSRoth.
You can “park” your name so nobody else can take it and not put up a page on a platform. That way, should this platform become relevant for you and your business in the future, you already have the name you want. This enables you to be more consistent with your branding across platforms.
Where are prospects looking for you?
A colleague of mine shared a facepalm moment about doing everything right in the wrong place. She spent years building up her Facebook and Twitter accounts, only to come to the realization that most prospects were looking for her services on LinkedIn – the platform she wasn’t focusing on. Oops!
Are your prospects’ preferences the same as yours? (Maybe... maybe not.)
Often, our customers are similar to us. Especially as service providers, we tend to see a need or address a pain point in a community that we know well.
Just because you don’t use or don’t enjoy a certain platform doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active on it. If you’re in a business that has something that could be captured in pictures, you might need to be on Instagram.
The “hot” platform will naturally change over time. For a long time, Pinterest was the rage. Then, Snapchat seemed to be taking over - now it’s Instagram Stories and Facebook Live.
Where else are prospects and customers looking for your product or service?
Don’t know where people are looking for your product or service? Ask them.
Have you considered sending out a survey or making the question part of your sales process? You might be surprised by the responses you receive. Then, you can evaluate if it makes sense for you to add that platform to your marketing strategy.
In addition, you can see what websites are sending traffic to your website by reviewing your analytics.
So, what’s the right answer? What social media platforms should you use? It will vary by industry, company size, marketing budget and revenue goals.
What I will tell you is that you need to jealously guard your time and not jump at the next shiny object, or in this case, new social media platform.
Social media can be a great marketing and customer retention option but only if it’s done correctly and consistently. Putting up a page and never updating it can damage your brand.
And, as always, putting in time and effort leads to better results.
About Carol Roth
Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.
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