How to Decide Where to Focus Your Social Media Efforts

With so many social media platforms available, and new ones seeming to pop up every day, it’s hard to decide where to focus your social media efforts.¬¨‚Ć Social media is highly effective for improved SEO and lead generation. There are a few social media platforms that you must be on, but other than those you will need to do a little detective work to determine the best ones for you business. We’ll walk you through some simple steps to help you find out what social media platforms you should focus on.

Go Where Your Customers Already Are

Chances are you have people talking about your brand on one social media platform or another already. The question is, which ones?  To find out you could use good, yet expensive, software like Radian 6 or Hubspot, but there is a simpler approach for the small business.  First, do a search on Google for your business name, products and any other keywords relevant to your business and activities. See where the results take you. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and a variety of other platforms are all indexed by the major search engines.  This should give you a good idea of where the conversations about your brand are happening.

Search on Facebook for your brand. There might be a Facebook page set up for your business or products already. If an employee indicated your business as their place of employment, Facebook will automatically create a page.  Other people can set up fan pages and groups about your products.  See if any exist. Some might be quite good and you can leverage the content your fans create to enhance your brand.

You can also do a Twitter search, though this is less effective since Twitter doesn’t show tweets older than seven days.¬¨‚Ć Anything indexed, though, will show up in the Google search you did.¬¨‚Ć Nonetheless this will tell you if there is an active conversation around your business or products on Twitter.

This should give you a good idea if there are already customers and fans engaging in conversations on social media channels already. If so, it’s important for you to start steering the conversation in the direction you want by setting up profiles and engaging your customers and prospects on those platforms.

Create New Customer Engagements

If you are not already on Facebook and Twitter then you should get set up there now. Those are the main social media platforms and you should be engaging your customers and prospective customers on those them.  Use the above information to decide where to focus your efforts, but you should still be on those two at a minimum.

We also suggest that you set up a Google+ profile and business page. Google+ may be the right social media platform for your business, but if it’s not there is still some benefit to make use of it, even at a minimal level. Google favors its own social media platform and immediately indexes pages that have been +1’d. Using this feature for your blog posts is a great way to get your pages indexed on Google more quickly.

What if you don’t have customers on those platforms or those aren’t the right platforms for you? This is where a little research comes in.¬¨‚Ć Perhaps Etsy is right for your business, with its focus on crafts, or Pintrest with its focus on lifestyles and images, not to mention its heavy usage by women. There are a variety of platforms that you can consider.¬¨‚Ć SEOMoz has a comprehensive list of social media platforms you can consider. Start with one and try it out for a few months.¬¨‚Ć Remember, social engagements take time and effort.¬¨‚Ć You are mostly likely not going to see an immediate return.¬¨‚Ć Instead it will build over time.¬¨‚Ć That’s why it is so important to choose a second tier social media platform wisely.¬¨‚Ć Do your research carefully and wisely before jumping in fully.

Focus on A Few Platforms

There are so many social media platforms that you might be tempted to set up profiles on all of them. Avoid doing that. You will just spread yourself thin trying to post to them and keep them updated. Pick two or three platforms to really focus your efforts. The one that has the most engagement already should be your primary platform. If there is a platform your already use a lot yourself, then consider that one if it makes sense for your business. You already use, you’re familiar with it, so you are more likely to feel comfortable engaging with customers there.

As time goes by, you can consider adding more social media platforms into your social media efforts. Just always make sure you are able to keep them updated. The last thing you want are dead pages and profiles. That will just scare your prospects away and dishearten your fans. One or two high engaging platforms is much better than five sparse platforms. Remember, too, that you will need to respond to customers and prospects, so keeping your social media efforts focused on a few platforms makes it easier to do that.

Comments (2)

  1. Shannon Johnson

    May 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Hey Jason,

    Great points here. There are the obvious social networks where all brands should have a presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ for search reasons…), but finding other micro-communities and determining what conversations to contribute to isn’t as intuitive. You really do have to start with listening and research before deciding to engage, and I don’t just say that because I work for a social media monitoring company. :) I like that you emphasized that concept.

    PS – I don’t see any labels next to the fields here in the “Leave a Comment” box, so I was totally guessing which box I plug in my name, URL, and email. Might want to fix that!

    Cheers,
    Shannon Johnson
    Community Manager, Salesforce Radian6

    • Jason Stearns

      May 22, 2012 at 3:37 am

      So many small businesses just jump into social media without taking the time to research where to focus their efforts. Researching which communities to focus on really helps. (Radian6 is a great tool to facilitate that when a business gets to the right point in their social media efforts!)

      Thanks for pointing out the comment box issues. They labels should be in the individual boxes. I’ll have a developer take a look at why they disappeared!

The comments are now closed.