Do you use social media because you feel you should, rather than because you think it adds value to your business? Not every business should be active on every social network, or at least a large majority of the time you should focus your efforts on social media channels that suit you and your business.
What social media should I use?
First things first, what social media channels should you be using? I’m going to jump right in on this one.
Without a doubt you should be on LinkedIn as should your employees. I’ve read and heard sentences like “We tried LinkedIn, it didn’t work so we don’t use it anymore”. Although I agree that not all business types are suited to Facebook or Youtube, I do not agree that businesses are not suited to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional network which allows your employees to be brand ambassadors, increase brand awareness among professionals and even improve the morale of your employees. A free tool to improve morale and raise brand awareness? Yes, exactly. LinkedIn can also be a powerful networking tool and a great source of leads, if this is suited to your company.
You should probably be using Twitter too. If you are a B2B and you think that your clients or customers do not hang out in these places, you may be surprised. Even if you are correct that Twitter does not suit your brand, it will more than likely put you in the midst of all of the latest industry news (if you follow the right people!). Find the influencers in your niche – listen, read and follow, you will soon find yourself becoming involved and establishing yourself as an industry expert.
I recently asked to be contacted by small to medium sized business owners to tell me about their social media use. One of the many questions I asked was for them to tell me which social channels they currently actively use. Here’s what the results looked like:
Surprised? I must admit, I was a little. Although we must remember I did specify that these accounts must be active. I was not surprised to see so many using Facebook and Twitter, but was surprised to see so little using LinkedIn. I must say I was somewhat disappointed to see so few using Google+ especially with the SEO benefit it provides.
I think this chart is quite revealing about the attitudes towards these social channels, but it does not mean these attitudes are right! If Facebook does not suit your business, don’t feel pressured to use it! Grab your business page but don’t use something that doesn’t suit you – but don’t let this be an excuse to not use anything!
A good example is Opta, the sport data provider. Strictly B2B, Opta provide live sport data to the biggest names in the industry from BBC to Sky Sports. (Think the percent possession in rugby or stats breakdown in tennis).
Opta have found that although they are a B2B company, Twitter works well for them not only to listen to industry news, but to connect with an audience in a B2C style (with minimum effort). See…
OptaJoe is Opta’s football focused Twitter account that tweets out football facts throughout the day in a very similar format.
This is a great tool for them to build brand awareness, appear approachable and most important, be human! They can also monitor interests.
Being human (or at least appearing human) is becoming more desirable (and important). I spoke to Taylor Aldredge recently from Grasshopper who said, “We want to develop relationships with our customers first and foremost. That’s what creates a longer-lasting relationship with a customer – when they know there are humans on the other end who want to know more about them.”
Hear me out on this one. If Opta can monitor which statistics are most popular for their clients’ target audience, they can keep ahead of the game. Say, for example Opta notice that football fans tend to be a lot more interested in stats about possession of the ball than any other. This will signal to Opta to develop more sophisticated data capture and visualisation tools showing more intricate details about ball possession. They can then pitch this to their clients who will also have noticed this area of interest, allowing Opta to develop a holistic understanding of what their clients want.
If you’re worried that this may open the door to you spending a lot of your time on social media, then just wait for this. Those who are successful (like Opta) know what works for them and what doesn’t. Just look at their Pintrest page…
Time is important to all of us. “As a small business out scarcest resource is time. Though, I think there is value in Twitter and Pintrest, the time it takes to build relationships locally that could turn into leads is a barrier to entry on the platform.” says Ryan Hanley from The Murrary Group Insurance Services. I can completely understand that no matter what we do, we will always be limited by time. If time is short for you, find your area and do it well (although Twitter is always handy for listening, even if you don’t get involved in community discussions!).
So I know what Social Media I want to use, what do I do now?
I have two answers for you now…
Grab your other branded accounts! You may not intent to use Pintrest but claim your company profile – just like Opta. You may not want to have anything to do with Pintrest, but your mind might change if a stranger comes along, claims your company name and starts using the account as if it is you. Go, claim it now!
Monitor your success and carry on along that path.
How do I do that? I will be writing more on the subject of how to monitor your social media success (well)– so why not sign up to our newsletter where this content will be sent straight to your inbox!