When it comes to businesses and online marketing in the modern era, there seems to be one resounding piece of advice that pops up everywhere you turn: social media marketing. But can every business fit under this one umbrella? Surely no other marketing avenue or strategy has ever universally worked before, so why should social media? The fact is, it doesn’t.
Social Media and Your Business—What You Need to Know
Social media only works for businesses that can benefit from their customers interacting with the organization on a consistent basis. And while that might sound a bit oversimplified, it is the bare essential minimum for figuring out whether or not your business should be on social media. It’s also important to note that social media itself is a blanket term and that even if your business will benefit from marketing on social media platforms, finding the rightnetworks to market on is critical to your success.
Should My Company be on Social Media?
There’s a simple litmus test to figure out whether or not your company is going to benefit from social marketing. Do you have customers who are on social media? If so, then yes, you need to be there as well, if only in minimal presence. For example, a business to business (B2B) company might not have to be on social media. If all your company does is contract shipping that is dealt with from B2B higher-ups in the company, posting status updates about the company picnic isn’t going to win you any new customers (though it might help improve company morale).
On the other hand, if you’re a business to consumer (B2C) company, chances are your customers and target audience are scattered all over social media platforms. This means that posting a picture of your latest product or a video describing your new service certainly will get you more leads and more conversions. In this case, your company should be on social media.
Now, that’s not to say if you are a B2B that social media marketing is not for you, but unless you are cultivating business relationships on LinkedIn or some other platform where your business contacts are on social media, your efforts might be spent better elsewhere, or at the very least, optimized on social networks.
Which Social Media Network Should my Business Be On?
Regardless, unless you are spending a ton of money on your social media team, simply being on social networks can’t hurt you as long as you don’t neglect them. Many businesses simply have a presence on social media through pages. Often, these pages are set up by other people, so even if you aren’t going to participate in social media, at the very least be aware of your presence there so that you can better manage your online reputation.
But once you make the choice to go on social media with your company, you need to then figure out where you need to be. This is all about knowing two demographics: those of each social network and those of your own company. While we can’t help you with the latter, try to match your own numbers to these social media network breakdowns:
- Twitter. Mostly populated by the younger crowd, from teens to twenties. Pop culture is huge here and anything that deals with fast-paced information will thrive in this environment. If you are trying to reach older business professionals, Twitter is likely not the place for you.
- Facebook. While Facebook was originally created as a way for college students to keep in touch, it has expanded vastly. Now, Facebook is home to people ranging from college to middle-aged. The one market they have been losing ground in is younger audiences and teens, so if that’s your audience, you might not want to concentrate too much on Facebook.
- Pinterest. This is one of the relative newcomers to the social media scene and is basically a way to keep your interests organized. While this is aimed at all types, it has primarily become a place where craft projects, cute gift ideas and interesting products are posted. Parents and stay-at-home parents are big audiences here.
- LinkedIn. This is the big professional social network and where just about every company needs to be if they are recruiting or trying to establish themselves as authorities in the industry. Professionals of all ages are on LinkedIn (which does mean teens looking for jobs, but not too many).
Judging from that criteria, you should be able to figure out where you need to concentrate your efforts with some spinoffs into other social media networks to catch potential overlap. The bottom line is that there is a lot more to just “being on social media networks” than meets the eye. There’s also a lot of research involved in order to optimize your advertising time and money spent.