I get asked a lot, “which social networking sites should I be on?”. My response is “it all depends on who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to accomplish”.
Social media is only effective if it is part of a larger, integrated plan. It should not be looked at as a stand alone or after-thought. It should target your customers, talk to them and engage them in a voice that is consistent with your brand. For example, if you are an Italian bistro, you would not expect your followers to engage too much with you if you frequently ask them to share their thoughts on who is the greatest NFL quarterback. Asking them these types of questions conflicts with the brand and will confuse them which results in dis-engagement. You’d be better off asking them what wine they prefer with a Classic Veal Parmesan.
Take a look at some of your best customers and find out where they are online, who they like to follow, the information they are wanting, the information they are sharing, etc. This is a great research tool and helps you better position your product or service to them.
Here is a quick run down of a few of the more recognizable social networking sites that I am on:
Facebook – I have a personal account to keep in contact with friends and family. I also have a business page for inTANDEM Marketing. The business page is used to reach existing and potential customers with marketing information and thoughts that could help them grow their businesses. I also use this as a platform for research and a way to promote what is going on with inTANDEM Marketing.
Linkedin – I use this primarily as a business owner and professional. Whenever I meet someone, I check to see if they are on Linkedin and use this as a way to stay connected with them. This is a great tool to help me grow my networking base, which I turn to time and time again. I even have several past colleagues that I routinely stay in touch with through Linkedin. I also use this platform to share information (such as my blog posts, etc) with other business owners, client and potential clients, as well as receive information and stay up-to-date on what is happening to those in my networking circle.
Twitter – Information sharing and education is why I am on Twitter. I have found the most amazing articles and statistics on Twitter that I would not have been exposed to otherwise. This is also a great research tool. I have posted many questions and received great feedback from followers all over the world. I am not a Twitter user that shares what I had for lunch but occasionally I will post a thought or comment on something that is not marketing related…it is a way that I can show my personality. Can’t have it all work and no play.
A great example of using Twitter on a local level would be Troy Banning, sports editor at the Daily Freeman-Journal. Troy’s Twitter handle is @troybanning and I follow him for sports updates on local teams. I usually have my Twitter account set to his profile on the nights that the Lynx athletic teams are playing away and I am not able to attend. He provides updates and stats and helps me stay connected. I have even looked at his posts during a home game to get information and his thoughts on different events.
At the end of the day it all goes back to understanding your customer. There is no cookie-cutter answer (which makes marketing so fun, in my opinion). Take the time to know your customers and the answers will start to appear on what channels of communication will work best for you and how you should use them.
If you are interested in connecting with me, here are my social media “handles”. I look forward to seeing you there.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/inTANDEM-Marketing/232915693426355
Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/darcyswon
Twitter – @darcswon