Psst… This post was originally published on Road Warrior Creative.
Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Which social media platforms should I be on?’ There are so many existing platforms, plus new ones that continuously pop up. It’s difficult to keep up, and trying to dip your hands in all of them is just not possible.
There are 2.078 b-b-billion social media accounts. As you can see in the small print of We Are Social’s neat infographic below, you’ll find that whereas the number of active Internet users represents separate people, the number of social accounts could represent far fewer people than the number indicates, as each person might have several social accounts. Since social accounts aren’t all connected to one another, it is fairly impossible to discover how many unique users exist.
Least to say, social media is certainly prevalent in today’s society. So prevalent that many believe social media has changed the fabric of the Internet forever.
But, how to we decide where to spend our time? With over 10 social media platforms, no one can manage all without sacrificing their quality of work in each.
The most basic question we all need to ask ourselves when thinking about where we should spend our (and our business’) time is, “Where is my audience hanging out?”
Those are what we’re here to discuss.
Let’s get started!
ALL SOCIAL PLATFORMS
We’ll explore specific platforms below, but there are some general questions you can ask yourself in each platform to decide if it’s something you should spend your time in:
- Am I willing to take the time (and potentially, money) to build a quality, potential customer-based follower-ship
- Do I have the time and/or staffing to engage with users who engage with me?
- Are other companies like mine on [insert social platform name here] and are they finding success? (Don’t forget that follower count doesn’t equate to success, but the amount of engagement on each post can.)
- Are you willing to research and develop a strategy that focuses beyond likes, comments and shares and more about email list-building and conversion from follower to customer?
Alright – time to get down to the specifics.
SHOULD I BE ON FACEBOOK?
But, is it right for your business? When hearing of a new business, many search for it on Facebook to see what it’s all about. Without a Facebook page, some consumers will assume the company isn’t legitimate. All-in-all, because of its masterful domination of the social media space (meaning if users use other social media platforms, they likely also can be found on Facebook), the default answer is yes it is right for your business even if it isn’t your highest traffic’d account.
I’m sure you’ve come across a couple of Facebook pages, but if not, let’s look at Tommy’s Superfoods as an example:
Just for fun, let’s ask ourselves a few questions:
- Do I have the time and/or staffing to post to my page frequently (2+ times a day)?
- Am I trying to reach customers of nearly any age? Pew Internet‘s stats in April 2015 show the stats on what percentage of Internet users in each age range have Facebook accounts.
- Are you comfortable with Facebook dictating who sees your posts, potentially allowing only a 5-10% of your followers to see some posts?
If you do decide to represent your business on Facebook, note that the best content is thought provoking, humorous and/or touching.
Do you already have a Facebook account? If not, do you plan to jump on the bandwagon?
SHOULD I BE ON TWITTER?
Having a bit lower numbers, coming in at around 305 million active users, Twitter is sometimes disregarded. Its quick pace and, therefore, short-lived content can be another turn-off. However, spend a month or so on the platform and you’ll find the superb business to customer (B2C) connection (and vice versa) that can be created. Unlike any other social media platform, an individual can tweet a business and have a personal conversation with them that shows up on both of their feeds. Whereas Facebook and other platforms are far more focused on the showmanship of the account owner, Twitter is about connection and a level playing field for all users.
IFTTT is a great example of an enticing Twitter profile:
Thinking about creating a Twitter account for your business? Let’s ask ourselves a few questions first:
- Am I willing to create a plethora of content to post 5-20 times a day?
- Do I feel ok repeating content? Twitter goes super fast, so it’s likely only those on their Twitter feed at the time your tweet publishes will see your content. Because of this, repeating content fairly frequently is common practice.
So, what do you think? Think Twitter is your gig? If so, make sure to study up a bit on how to build a quality community that will be interested in engaging with you.
SHOULD I BE ON GOOGLE+?
Coming in at a modest 4-6 million active users, Google+ isn’t yet the place to be for social interaction. In fact, it’s estimated that far more than half of its engagement numbers are attributed to comments on YouTube (since YouTube stats are now included in Google+ stats). The biggest draw of Google+ right now is for business owners who want to increase their rankings in the Google search engine. When you play nice with one of Google’s tools, they’ll reward you with exposure. Therefore, when speaking of Google+, think a bit more on the side of search engine optimization (SEO) versus consumer engagement.
Google rewards those who post on one of their business pages by indexing their content into search. That means that your Google+ content might actually show up in someone’s search results, exposing your business to them even if your website wouldn’t otherwise come up on the first page of a search.
This is what a Google+ business page looks like, courtesy of Sherburne Commons:
Let’s ask a few questions to see if we should be on Google+:
- Am I interested in ranking higher in Google rankings?
- Am I capable of posting at least one time a day, even if it’s repeat content from other platforms?
- Do I want reviews of my business to be found via a consumer’s Google search
- Do I want to have my business information tied to my YouTube channel and GoogleHangouts?
- Do I have a local business?
Wonder why I added the “Do I have a local business” question? Google uses the +1’s on a Google+ business page to rank local businesses in Google searches. This can be huge for your exposure, yet doesn’t mean that those of us without local businesses should shy away from the platform.
Google+ requires the least amount of maintenance and perhaps the biggest SEO value (at least in Google search) of all social media platforms. Would you consider taking 30 minutes to create an account? If you’re not keen on creating original content for Google+, setting up an automation using IFTTT or Zapier to copy posts from another social platform you spend more time on to your Google+ business page will be really helpful.
SHOULD I BE ON LINKEDIN?
Some love it, others despise it. Perhaps the most flat-appearing user interface of all social media platforms, LinkedIn doesn’t draw a lot of excitement from those looking for social engagement. However, much like Google+, many users sign in out of necessity. In fact, most use LinkedIn out of eagerness to build their professional appearance online. Although around 400 million LinkedIn profiles exist, only about 100 million of those login each month.
Here’s a peek at what Fry & Elder‘s LinkedIn Company Page looks like:
Thinking of creating a LinkedIn account? Ask these questions first:
- Can I aim to post professional content in line with my professional field once a day and perhaps a Pulse blog post once a week or once a month?
- Do I want to build a type of online resume for potential employers or others to see?
- Do I have a reason for others to see me in a professional light online?
- Am I marketing to other businesses and/or business professionals?
- Do I have an interest in engaging with and learning from other LinkedIn users in my professional field?
Like Google+, LinkedIn doesn’t require a lot of maintenance once your profile is up-and-running. However, it can be very beneficial to your professional appearance, as businesses searching for services often search the platform.