How to Choose the Right Social Networks to Propel Your Business

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social-media-managerOnce in its infancy, Social Media has come along way. Over the years it’s matured in ways we could not have imagined. Gone are the days of poking people and asking them out on Facebook, or talking about your lunch on Twitter.  Social Media has grown powerful beyond belief and finally businesses are taking it seriously in many parts of the world. When I work with my clients I always tell them that social media can be your sales, marketing and customer service team rolled into one.  It’s not just about being social, it’s about interacting and engaging with your ideal clients and customers where they hang out and on their own terms.  Major brands like Old Spice, BlendTech, Victoria’s Secret and Coca Cola have all leveraged the power of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to develop a devout and loyal following of fans.  The Time Has Come To Get Sculpted On Social Media Yet you don’t need to be a big name brand with a mega budget to really take advantage of these tools for your business. You also don’t need to be everywhere and anywhere in order to be seen and get in front of your audience.  As these tools have matured, so have the ways we use them. In 2013 the scene looks set for this trend to continue. Gone are the days of throwing yourself at every tool and seeing what sticks. It’s time for you to get strategic in your social media efforts and create a monthly plan of which tools you will be using and for what purpose.  Yes that’s right, you do not need to be on every single major social media site in order to get found online by your potential customers. In fact I believe 2013 is the year to consolidate your efforts and only focus on what’s working for you. Let’s take a look at how you can do this starting from today and sculpt your social media efforts online.

Do you need to take an ROI reality check?
If you’re like the majority of people on social media you’ve probably been dabbling in it for a few years, or your addicted using it every day. But are you actually tracking and measuring your progress, and seeing a return on all that time invested? If not, isn’t it about time you took stock of what you’re doing to see what’s actually working? The short answer is yes. Here’s how.

1. Start up a simple spreadsheet where you list all the sites you’re currently on.
2. As you visit each social media tool note down how many fans, followers, likes or contacts you have.
3. While you’re there, use the free analytics tools if available to get the stats on your reach, visits, views, interaction, comments etc
(YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all have analytics tools).
4. Check your Google Analytics stats – yes you should definitely have a free account, to look at your key referring sites to see how many visitors the likes of Twitter and Google Plus actually send you each month (look back over the last 3-6 months to see the trends).
5. Also check which pages these sites are sending people to on your blog or website.
6. If you’re using Su.Pr (Stumble Upon) or bit.ly then check the number of clicks on your shortened links.
7. Look at the level of interaction on your blog if you have one – comments, social shares.

Once you’ve noted this down take a look at whether these stats are ones you’re proud of or are mediocre at best. Then assess how many minutes or hours you spend each day on these particular sites and whether this is paying off for you. Go ahead and set some specific goals that you want to meet over the next 3 months in terms of community, click throughs and conversion. Then start getting strategic with your time spent on social media.  For example I know that Twitter is my top referrer of visitors to my blog posts and YouTube videos, followed by Facebook. LinkedIn is third best and my Company page and referrals are now starting to attract more visitors each week. Google Plus has little interaction for me so far and very little interaction. YouTube videos I post receive a good amount of views
when I’m posting frequently and do refer visitors to my website during the first month of being published.  I spend approximately 1-2 hours each day managing my social media sites, scheduling posts, commenting, engaging and sharing and focusing on these top referrers over the rest. This costs me nothing (aside from when I’m advertising), but the value of my time. I view this as an investment in marketing, branding, credibility building and influence as well as adding value. I can also track this through to sales of my digital products and programs, affiliate sales and inquiries for my business coaching, so I know it’s paying off.

Know the platform and know thy customers
If you’ve done the above and now wonder why you’re spending so much time on LinkedIn Answers forum or questioning why you set up that Google Plus company page then you may not have ever considered the reach and types of audiences these sites have. So let’s break down some of the big players:

Facebook: Let’s face it this social media site is the giant with over 800 million users worldwide of which 70% are outside of the US. So with that in mind it’s a place you really can’t afford to not be on. Both your personal profile to build up your own credibility and show your personal side mixed with business, as well as a Facebook page which acts as a simple free website for you. Here’s some more reasons to be on this site if the following facts fit your business:

  • The main demographic is 18-34 and is split evenly between male/female
  • According to Facebook the average user `likes’ and joins 4 pages
    every month. That means exposure for you, your cause, your
    organization and your business.
  • There are over 3 million active Pages on Facebook and half of these
    are local businesses.
  • Almost 50% of Facebook Fan Pages have an average of <500 fans and
    40% of these are brands.
  • The average like of your Facebook page is said to be worth $8 and
    since 47% of people are influenced to buy a product or service from a
    social media site this means good news for your business brand.

Twitter:
This tool is popular and loved by early adopters, brands, media, marketers, celebrities and those wanting to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening 24/7. More and more businesses are recognizing the importance of using this tool to answer customers questions like Dell. Or hold Twitter only promotions like Blenz Coffee. Personally I think Twitter is a brilliant tool and you’d be missing out by not being on it for the following reasons.

  • There are more women than men on Twitter too (55%), earning up to $60K and aged 25-54.
  • Every day, millions of people use Twitter that you need to be in front
    of.
  • Twitter drives more leads for Business to Consumer (B2C) – 50%
    more for small business.
  • Share your blog content with a much larger audience then could reach
    on your own.
  • Announce important or exciting product updates and getting your
    following to share the news.
  • Provide valuable tips related to your business and being genuinely
    helpful so that people start to appreciate you and look into what you
    do and what products or services you provide.
  • Connect with the media who often turn to Twitter first to respond to
    your short pitch.

LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is the perfect tool to meet like-minded business people and cultivate business relationships. It’s also an amazing way to gain an international audience for your business with over 150 million users and 1 million company profiles and growing rapidly. If you’re primarily dealing with Business to Business, industries, brands and organizations then you will find them on LinkedIn – the professional social media site, the most mature of all. Here are some ways to take advantage of LinkedIn if it’s a fit for you:

  • Connect with the media who often turn to Twitter first to respond to
    your short pitch.
  • Joining industry groups and sharing your content or expertise allows
    you to create valuable leads and referrals.
  • Answering questions on the LinkedIn Answers builds up your
    credibility and puts you in front of people who want to access your
    knowledge.
  • Your own company page is the perfect place to display your products
    and services and get recommendations from happy customers to
    ensure others notice and buy from you too.

Business Blog:
As someone whose in business thanks to my blog I can only say incredibly positive things about the power of blogging. Not only does it allow you to share your knowledge and expertise, you can also build your credibility, share content that customers will find useful, alert people about new products and services and provide case studies and proof of why these work. In addition search engines love fresh content so blogging even once a week means you’re more likely to get found by people searching on the problems you solve, which means more leads and referrals for you.  Hubspot’s State of Inbound Marketing report showed the following results. Here are the key blogging takeaways I pulled from this for you:

  • Small businesses benefit more from blogging than large ones.
  • The more blog posts you write the higher chance of leads you will
    gain.
  • Company blogs increased their indexed pages on Google by 43%.
  • 97% more inbound links for companies that blog and 55% more
    website visitors.
  • Blogging increases your Twitter reach.

So now you have a better understanding about the types of people using some of the major social media sites you should know which sites you and your business are best suited. What should you be doing more of and what can you cut back on that is not serving a purpose? Where are your
customers hanging out and what do they do on those sites? Can you be there alongside them and be of service?

2013 is definitely the year for you to start being more strategic in all your online efforts. It’s time to get sculpted on social media and use it to your advantage by working out each day doing the right exercises to allow your business to shine online.

Michael Musto

Just following my passion for cooking & helping Retailers, Restaurants, & Food Industry companies with Marketing Strategies. Along the way sharing recipes from amazing food bloggers, The love of great wines, artisan spirits, craft brews and of course Bourbon.

I grew up in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother and it's where I love to be every day cooking for my wonderful family. I hope you enjoy!

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