Recently I read an article from Jay Baer @JayBear entitled “Is Twitter Massively Overrated?” he has research with some very impressive data that quite frankly demonstrates that Twitter is probably not nearly as powerful from a business standpoint as many social media marketers, gurus and “experts” would have us to believe. I personally agree with many of his conclusions and I have even done my own data collection that supports some of his data (see “Will the Real Twitter (follower) please stand up?)
In his article Mr. Baer’s data makes a very sound case for Facebook. However, I would express caution here, because there is a little secret that is rarely discussed when it comes to business and social media. Make sure your eyes are focused and you get your neurons ready to fire, because here is the secret…Every social media platform is NOT the best for every business.
Oh my gosh! No..He didn’t! Did you just say that, “some platforms might not be right for my business”? Yes I did. The fact of the matter is the dirty little secret to social media is finding the right platform or platforms that work best with your industry and there are some little tips you should do before you decide to commit to social media or are currently floundering in your social media use.
1. Get to know your industry on social media
Not all social media platforms are created equal and neither are all industries. For some social media platforms some industries work much better than others. There is a dramatic difference in how social media performs for retail versus service industries. What is more there is a difference between the types of retail and the types of service industries. While all platforms have a representation of all demographics some of them are certainly stronger for some demographics than others. I highly suggest that you take a look at Quantcast.com to at least get a rough idea of the demographics of each platform to start. Then start digging around and see how your industry is not only represented but if they are really generating real dollars.
2. Know who your specific target market is and be where they are.
First of all I admit that there are probably some people who are in your target market that are using “All” the platforms…note the word some. However, if you will do a little research you will find that most are using maybe only one or two platforms. Be on those! Good grief, no one has the time to be on them all and do it successfully…well at least no successful small business person does that I am aware of. Ask your current client data base where they spend their social media time, is it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+? Find out where they are and connect with them there.
3. Ask your clients how they like to use the social media platforms.
This is crucially important and nearly never asked. Yet, I find that the majority of your clients have a consistency about their psychology and behavior. They have a social mediology. That is they have a specific psychology and behavior they apply to social media.
By the same token, every business attracts a individuals and groups that are similar. Ask them how they use their social media. Are they regular users? Do they check it on their phone? Do they like to talk socially on these platforms or professionally? Are they content generators or content aggregates? Do they like connecting with businesses or keep it strictly personal? Once you start to understand how they like to use these different platforms it makes it much easier for you to be a part of their social media world and connect with them in the right way.
4. Be cautious of anecdotal evidence.
There is always one person that will have a story that one social media platform or another has been great for their business. However, for every success story there are hundreds of stories that never get printed because they failed. We can easily become anchored on one or two personal success stories. We believe the story means we can do it the same way and without truly digging into the real research we are setting ourselves up for failure. Do not rely on one or two success stories, look at the full body of work, make sure the industries are comparable, that the systems are similar, and above all make sure they demonstrate that they are telling you the real cost and showing you the real benefits.
Do not start with the platforms, but start with your clients and customers, and your industry and be where they are. They will give you the highest probability of getting the most benefit and the highest return.
P.S. Keep this on the down low, because if the secret gets out you will be spending less money and time on social media.
Stay Successful My Friends!
Jay Izso, the Internet Doctor®