When talking to clients about integrating social media into their marketing plan the first question they ask is often “Which social media sites should I use?” The short answer is “Whichever sites your customers are on.” The long answer is “You’ll need to do some research and make some decisions based on where your customers are.”
Don’t Try To Be Everywhere Unless You Really Need To Be
The biggest mistake you can make when starting with social media is to try to be everywhere at once. Its hard to be successful when you spread yourself too thin. This is especially true if you are just learning to manage your social media efforts.
Focus your efforts on the sites that will yield the most results; those where your customers are most active already.
Track Down Your Subscribers on Social Media
Here’s a great article “4 Detective Tricks to Find Your Customers in Social Media” by Jay Baer. Jay recommends Flowtown for small and mid-sized businesses and Rapleaf for larger enterprises. These services find your email subscribers on various social media sites. MailChimp lets you do the same thing right from your bulk emailing account.
When you know where your subscribers are hanging out you can hang out there too, and likely find some new subscribers along the way.
Search Social Media Sites For Groups, or Threads, Related To Your Business
Do a search on social media sites you’re considering for keywords related to your business. This will turn up groups, pages, threads and individuals that may be worth connecting with. It will also show you which sites are more active with potential customers.
Try Different Social Media Sites To See What Works
Social Media is a long range strategy, so don’t expect results overnight. But before you commit to using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for example, check them out to see if they fit with your overall goals. Ask yourself if the culture for that site fits with your business and your customers.
By doing a bit of research ahead of time, you can make a commitment to your social media efforts and focus on sites that will yield the most results.
If that means multiple sites, and it very well may, stay tuned. We’ll be sharing some of our favorite tools for implementing and managing social media campaigns in the near future.
Sadly, Flowtown and Rapleaf discontinued this service end of last year due to privacy issues. But thanks for the recap and list, there are some other tools I have not tried!
As the balance between access and privacy continues, we’ll likely see more services pop up – and some disappear. I’ve been a big fan of MailChimp’s Social service. And since it’s all right from within my email service account, it’s a no brainer for me.
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