How To Get Your Social Media Marketing Priorities Right
It is easy to get overwhelmed as an online entrepreneur when you think about using social media to market your website and business. A quick search for social media on the web will turn up a host of articles insisting that you simply must use social network “X” to succeed in business.
Let’s break through the noise and prevent you from getting overwhelmed or distracted.
Social media gives you another way to engage with your readers and more importantly, their friends. It extends your reach virally!
While it is difficult to monetize with most social media channels, being “social” can improve your site’s search rankings and strengthen its PREselling efforts (by building another group of “fans”).
As the SiteSell Online Business Building Action Guide teaches… the better your readers feel they know you, the more likely they are to follow your product recommendations or buy products, e-products or services from you.
Social media can add a personal dimension to your professional recommendations, so your readers feel more like they’re following advice from a friend rather than a stranger.
Social media, though, is fast-paced and time-consuming. Few people have the time to cover all the potential networks.
So how do you decide then which social media marketing channels you will use to promote your business?
It’s not practical to activate all available social media channels. As you’ll see from the key factors below, you’ll need to make a key decision about your social-ability…
1) Your Time Availability
Are you creating your business part-time while holding a full-time job? If you are already finding it difficult to invest the time required to build your business, be selective about your social media efforts.
Do you have 30 hours or more to devote to your business? Do you have enough time to build your site and implement a social media strategy or two in your downtime? For instance, sending a tweet while you wait in line at the bank or updating your Facebook page on the bus ride home.
2) Your Type of Business
Some businesses are more likely to benefit from social media marketing than others. For example…
If you sell a service, a high-profit product or run a local business, think seriously about setting up a Facebook Page (Note: consider it a must, if you own a local business – your prospective customers are already there!).
3) Your Personal Interests and Inclinations
Work isn’t really work if you enjoy doing it. For example, are you hooked on Twitter? You might as well profit from your “obsession” and use it to promote your business.
While sending out a few tweets a day or updating a Facebook Page might be fun for some entrepreneurs, it can be just another chore on the “to-do list” for others. Which camp do you fall into?
If you’re in the social camp, monitor your time closely and don’t get distracted from your business-building work. You may schedule an hour to work on an article for your site, but then find that a “quick check” of your favorite social media networks has suddenly turned into a lost hour. And that means no headway on your long-term business needs. Make sure to put first things first.
4) Your Audience
There’s no point opening a social channel only to find your audience is off somewhere else. You need to find where your prospects and customers are already hanging out. For example, if you discover your competitors are using Twitter and you judge the engagement level is quite good for them, then plan on Tweeting as well.
What Are Your “Social” Choices?
The social media industry is very fluid, with new players entering the field as older ones lose their significance and/or drop off the radar completely. If you decide to integrate social media marketing into your business plan, narrow your focus to what’s personally manageable and that also fits your business. It’s all about prioritizing your efforts. (After all, there are only 24 hours in a day!)
Social media marketing separates into 3 types of actions…
What’s the difference between commenting and sharing? Sharing happens on the social site, while commenting happens on your site and then appears on the social site and yours.
Each social platform has their own implementation for each of these actions. For example, Facebook voting = Likes, Twitter voting =Follow; Facebook sharing = Share, Twitter sharing = Re-Tweet.
It’s a good idea to learn about the various social protocols so your social skills are aligned and don’t cause any embarassing faux-pas.
Facebook is arguably the social media network for building personal relationships with a large audience. Its interactive nature makes it easy to talk and listen to your visitors (a crucial part of PREselling).
As you integrate Facebook with your website using social sharing buttons and tools it’s important to realize the power of the platform and the social significance for various activities.
For example, a visitor sharing a webpage with friends is more powerful than a visitor making a comment that friends happen to see. But the latter is more likely. By using sharing buttons and Facebook commenting on your website, you offer a 1-2 combo!
Consider creating a Facebook Business Page
Creating a Facebook Business Page requires a continuous time investment once you have it set up. Engaging your fans, answering their questions, commenting on their posts, posting status updates and building a sense of community take time and commitment. While feasible for a company with a dedicated social media team, the effort required can quickly overwhelm a small business owner.
There is no need to jump on the Facebook page train right away. Focus first on creating content for your site rather than for Facebook. Here’s why…
Social content is short-lived and needs to be constantly refreshed. While you may direct some visitors to your site with a great post, it’s a one-time shot. Creating a high-performing content page for your site will generate targeted Search Engine traffic month after month.
Local businesses, such as restaurants, retailers, or service businesses, are the exception, of course. If that’s you, a Facebook Business Page is a must, as mentioned earlier.
If you have the time, running a Facebook Business Page may make sense and it may become more important over time.
As a marketing medium, Twitter is famous for its challenging 140-character limit. On the plus side, though…
By niche-twittering (following or being followed by people with the same interests as you), you can use Twitter to forge relationships and get fresh ideas for content and inbound link sources.
If you want to gather and keep a significant following on Twitter, expect to tweet several times each day. That could quickly turn into a chore unless you enjoy tweeting. Just be sure that the constant activity doesn’t distract you from building a solid foundation for your site.
Keep in mind that the benefit of driving traffic from Twitter stops the minute you stop tweeting. Whereas quality content pages continue to pull in visitors from the Search Engines.
There is no doubt that video is a compelling content medium and YouTube is the premier video hosting platform – bar none.
Video production is becoming less complicated as technology advancements permeate everyday lives (e.g.the average smartphone now offers video quality that was once reserved for professional equipment only a few years ago).
Posting a video and garnering mega-million views is the social media equivalent of winning the major prize in a lottery!
But you still need to know how to present your business from the best angle. That requires significant investment in equipment, skill development, and time.
- Do you already have the skills and equipment?
- Are you comfortable with this medium?
- Does your niche lend itself to video content?
If the answer is yes to those questions, uploading content to your own YouTube account is another potential traffic source. And if you embed a video on one of your pages, the potential stickiness factor goes up (i.e., visitors may spend more time on your site).
If you decide to take the jump, click here for YouTube setup, submission and management details.
Pinterest, a sort of online highly-visual scrapbook, lets you pin photos that you find on the Web (and on your own site, in moderation) to Pinterest boards that you create. The activity of pinning and interest come together in this popular social site.
You can repin photos that others have pinned on their interest boards, you can like pinned photos, and you can follow other pinners.
There is some clear affinity for Pinterest in certain niches. For example, travel, food, health, well being, photography as these all have highly visual content. However, as Pinterest has gained a strong foothold with many business owners (large and small alike), it’s common to see non-visual oriented organizations (technology services, marketing companies) find a home on Pinterest by pinning infographic or checklist type content.
LinkedIn is a networking site, focusing on professional rather than personal networking. It has good potential if you are a professional looking to expand your business network. Lawyers, accountants, web designers are only some of the professions that can benefit from LinkedIn’s network.
Google+ Page for Business is another way to build a loyal following of fans (i.e. being in circles).
Do not confuse Google Plus with Google’s +1 button. Similar to Facebook’s Like button – Google’s +1 button allows visitors to express that they like your site or an article on your site. Adding the +1 button to your site is super easy and a must-do, as Google is likely using these votes for ranking purposes.
Many saw Google’s social platform as a non-starter in terms of serious competition to Facebook. But today’s reality is that a lot of people are becoming dissatisfied with the changes to Facebook and the rise of intrusive advertisements. If your prospects or customers are leaving Facebook behind, perhaps it’s time to get their undivided attention in a new social arena.
Consider your choices carefully. Socializing is not business itself, but it’s an adjunct with an ever-growing importance. If you get active on Social Media, do it well or not at all. Prioritize your limited time to get the most out of your business-building efforts, on site and socially off site.