Imagine you have an hour to exercise. You have infinite choices, from running to lifting weights, from spinning to yoga. But you aren’t a movie star who gets to work out with a trainer all day, so you pick the activity that’s the best fit with your interests, goals and budget.
Most people I talk to seem to get the necessity of prioritizing. But something about social media seems to make many people panicky.
I’ve talked to a number of clients and potential clients who express concern because they aren’t on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and everything else someone has mentioned to them as the next cool thing.
The same constraints of time and money that lead you to prioritize your other choices at work and home apply in social media. You can’t do it all, and even if you could, it might not be the best use of your resources.
As you pick and choose, you might consider:
- What social network(s) do you already use personally? If you understand Facebook because you use it personally, it will probably be easier to get started using it for your business than learning something brand new.
- What’s the demographic of your customer base? Are they younger or older, tech savvy or tech phobes? Understanding who you’re trying to reach might help you choose.
- What social network(s) best suit what you’re selling? If you’re a fashion designer or clothing boutique, a photo-based service like Instagram seems tailor-made. (pun intended) If you’re a musician, showing performance video on YouTube, Vine or Instagram’s video could be ideal.
- Can you start with one network and easily build on that with others? For example, if you like talking to a video camera more than writing, can you do short video blog posts on YouTube, then share the links on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
- Can you make it easier for people to share your content on platforms you might not actively use? You don’t have to have a company Pinterest account to add a “pin this” button to your website, for example. Ditto for Reddit, Google Plus, Tumblr …
The latest, trendiest social tool isn’t necessarily right for your business. You might read dozens of articles about Pinterest or your teenager might be into Snapchat, but if you sell a business-to-business service, long-established b2b tool LinkedIn might be a better cultural fit.
If you’re stuck — you have too many choices and too little time, you don’t feel there’s an easy or obvious place to start — you could try asking your customers, “What social network do you find most useful?” Let them guide you to where they’re spending their time, and be sure to ask “why?” to learn more about what’s leading them there.
Related Marketing Monday posts:
- Marketing Monday: Start with a strategy to make most effective use of social media
- Marketing Monday: Building your social media strategy, part II
Colleen Newvine Tebeau is a former reporter and editor who then earned her MBA at University of Michigan with emphases in marketing and corporate strategy. She is a marketing consultant who helps small and midsized organizations with strategy and tactics, including social media and communications.
- What social network is right for your business? Taming the big five (hiscox.co.uk)
- 7 Ideas To Maximize Sharing Of Your Blog Post With Social Media (business2community.com)
- 10 useful tips for better use of social networks (part 1) (fieldoo.com)
- Social Media Explained by Cats (idealady.com)
- Social What? Some Social Media Buzzwords Explained (business2community.com)