“In order to know what social media platforms to be active on, you need to know where your audience (aka your demographic) congregates.”
This is all well and good if you have an audience and if you have an idea who your demographic is. What if you’re just starting out? Your audience might be your significant other, your mom and your pets. Are they your ideal audience/client?
WHO is your ideal audience and HOW will you reach them? It’s not an easy question for a long-time business owner to answer and is daunting to a start-up.
I believe that your blog should be the hub of your online activity, and the spokes are the social platforms you choose to interact on.
Sure, you might know who you want to reach:
- People who will buy your products
- People who want to hire you for your services
The question, though, is how do you get those people (your ideal client) to know where you are and to trust that you are the ideal person to deliver those goods or services? It’s not an exact science, but you can narrow down where you should devote your social media efforts and perhaps where you can stop stressing if you’re not as active as you want to be.
Blogging 101: What Social Media Platforms Should You Use
At one point, popular wisdom pointed to the idea that you should “claim” your business name or your personal name on all social platforms even if you didn’t use them. This may still hold true, but you need to consider: “Will potential clients/readers be searching for me on Instagram, for example, and they see a page but there’s no activity… what will they think?” Some people may think, “Oh, they’re not posting here, they must be out of business.” I opt for the latter of at least “claiming” my business name. Hey, if you get rich and famous, you don’t want someone else to snap up your name and ride on your fame, am I right?
Here are questions to ask yourself when you’re putting together your social media strategy.
What are your business goals? Do you have a business plan? What are your sales goals? What kind of goods and services will you offer? At first blush where do you think your ideal client interacts on social media? Is your ideal client a business person? If so, you may want to be on LinkedIn.
Is your ideal client a mom or a DIYer? He or she may be on Pinterest or Facebook. Is your business photo-centric? Then Instagram might be where you need to be.
Do you love to talk and be on camera? Consider vlogging and working a YouTube channel.
Twitter is popular (close to 200 million unique users a month) and if you’re good at sharing a message in 140 characters or fewer this might be the ideal platform to build your community. That word, “community,” that is what your social media efforts should be about — building a community — not simply selling your goods and services.
Where do you believe your ideal potential client is? You must have some idea where they’re gathering, right? Use that as your jumping off point. If you have interacted with like-minded pet business professionals on Instagram about photos you’ve posted, perhaps that is your ideal client. What groups do you interact in and where are they hosted? Do you interact more on Twitter than you do on Pinterest? Build your audience there. You need to be comfortable on a platform if you’re going to interact on it regularly.
Check out the competition. While every business owner and every business offering is unique simply based on the individual who is providing it, chances are there are others offering the same type, or style, of product or service. Where are they? Scope out all of the social platforms and see where your competition is most active and engaged. When you’ve done that research does it help you pinpoint where you should be?
How many social media platforms do you (truly) have time for? Look at your schedule with a critical eye. If you only have fifteen minutes a day to devote to your social media, how can you use it to your best advantage? Let’s say you only have fifteen minutes, you could break it down like this (and this is figuring you’re going to try a lot of social media platforms until you narrow it down.) Here’s my Rule of Three for social media. You’ve decided to work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Here’s your fifteen-minute-a-day breakdown Rule of Three for your three chosen social platforms. In order to make the most of your limited time, you need to have a plan in place (ie your editorial calendar) to help you knock out your fifteen minutes and feel successful.
- Spend five minutes posting status updates.
- Spend five minutes commenting on the posts of others or connecting with those who have commented on your updates.
- Spend five minutes sharing the content of others. Social media needs to be just that — social — and you can amp up your visibility by sharing relevant content from other sources to your followers.
Whew! For example, choose to do Facebook on Monday, Twitter on Tuesday, Instagram on Wednesday then circle back to Facebook on Thursday, Twitter on Friday… you see where I am going with this, right? OR if you’re really dialed in you can post to ALL of your chosen platforms daily. You could spend five minutes of your fifteen minutes performing each of these three activities so that you’re posting on every platform daily. The way in which you spend your fifteen minutes is your choice, but know that even if you only have that small snippet of time you can make a difference.
Bottom line: I’ll bet you have an intuition for where your ideal clients are or where you feel most comfortable interacting online. Go with your instincts. Once you have either mastered the three social platforms you’re going to focus on OR if you realize that one or two of those three just aren’t working, you can focus your efforts on the platform that is working and change your strategy and incorporate another social platform.
Above all it’s about your social media strategy and how it connects with your business WHY that will help you connect with potential clients and grow your business.
If you’re a new business owner, do you struggle with which platform to focus on? Is finding the time to do social media interaction a barrier to success? If you’re a long-time business owner what advice can you offer a newbie to help them navigate social for their fledgling business?
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter. If you’re interested in learning about my new 30-Minute Writing program, email me, let’s talk. (Robbi AT PositivelyWoof DOT COM)