When it comes to social media, it seems all we hear these days is Facebook, facebook, facebook…and maybe a Google+ and Twitter every now and then. Facebook is the “popular” kid in high school, yet no one really knows why (or cares?) but they sure do want to be besties. Of course, there’s the overwhelming stats like the fact that there’s 1.28 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”) users and 609 million daily users, as reported by TechCrunch, which is impressive for sure, but does that mean Facebook is right for you and your business?
In order to answer this question correctly, you need to ask yourself “Where are my customers?” If you don’t know the answer to this, stop reading, figure it out, and then come back. The reason for that is obvious – you can be the best marketer in the world, but if you’re speaking to an audience that isn’t interested, you may as well pack up your marbles and head home. I equate it to McDonald’s offering apple slices as a side to a burger – if I wanted to eat healthy, I wouldn’t be ordering a big mac from a fast food chain. Their intentions and offering may be good, but they’re marketing it to the wrong clientele. You take those same apple slices and sell them at a farmers market down the street – now you’ve got yourself some paying customers!
So, let’s get down to it…below is a breakdown of each of the following social sites: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, & Etsy. I know Etsy isn’t really in the same class as the others, but I find it so valuable for small retail shops that it would be a crime not to mention it! Here goes…..
Stats: (I already gave you their fancy numbers but here’s another one to ponder): 47% of Americans say Facebook is the top influencer of their buying decisions
We’ve already said that Facebook is the “it” place to be. They have so many users, across so many countries and in so many different life stages that the platform really is hard to ignore altogether. So, for that reason, your business needs to be on Facebook in some fashion, but before you start campaigning – keep reading. Facebook, by design, is a very personal site. The only reason people join Facebook is for personal reasons, whether it be to reconnect with old friends, keep up to date with current friends or stay connected with friends and family afar. And while it’s true that many of these people that are on Facebook have jobs or careers that may be linked to your business, it most certainly doesn’t mean that those people want to see work-related posts or advertisements while browsing their news feed.
Let’s say you sell wholesale office supplies to small businesses around the country. You might think advertising on facebook is a great idea because so many people need office supplies and many of the people on facebook may even be THE purchasing agents for their office – you think it’s a win-win. I’d have to disagree…why you ask?…well, because, while I may be a purchasing agent for my office, I don’t want to log onto my Facebook news feed after a hard day’s work to see more of the same jargon I have flooding my inbox at work – it’s not FUN or entertaining and that’s why I’m on Facebook to begin with (or maybe it’s to see what protein shake my brother’s girlfriend had for breakfast??). I’m not saying you can’t market your office supplies on Facebook but what I am saying is that if you are going to, you better make it worthwhile for people to give their thumbs a rest from scrolling and actually take the time to click on your post. B2B businesses typically have the hardest time on Facebook because they struggle with creating campaigns that resonate with humans. B2B companies do a great job marketing themselves to other businesses but have always lacked the human element of marketing…and social media marketing is no exception to that rule.
Google will take over the world one day – we just don’t know when that “one day” will be…so, the lesson here is to be nice to the up and comer – they will rule Facebook eventually. I’ll be honest, I don’t know one person who uses Google+ on any kind of consistent basis. Most people only know about it because they are automatically given a Google+ account when they open a Gmail account. But what Google lacks in popularity, it more than makes up for in usefulness. Google – the master of SEO rankings – utilizes social media presence, specifically from their social site, Google+, as a component of their SEO algorithm. Just read to this little excerpt from New York Times about Starbucks and it should sum it up for you:
“Starbucks, for instance, has three million followers on Plus, meager compared with its 36 million “likes” on Facebook. Yet it updates its Google Plus page for the sake of good search placement, and takes advice from Google representatives on how to optimize Plus content for the search engine.
“When we think about posting on Google Plus, we think about how does it relate to our search efforts,” said Alex Wheeler, vice president of global digital marketing at Starbucks.”
Google+ also has things like Google Authorship that you can use to stake your claim to your work and help your website SEO. So, truth be told, every business and everyone with a web presence needs to be active on Google+ for SEO purposes.
Twitter is a hard one to figure out because it’s so prevalent in our daily lives that it creates the illusion of being necessary. Any TV station you watch or event you attend, you can hear the words “tweet this” or “tweet us at” so it makes you think it’s this lady-in-waiting to Facebook. BUT, the main thing you need to understand about Twitter is this – it’s fast-paced and loud. Moz reports that the lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes and I’m not so sure that’s current-day estimations. Moz also give you some really cool graphs in this article, like this one here that shows you the correlation between your tweeting pace and the lifespan of a given tweet:
So, for this reason, I think Twitter can be good for many business types, like news outlets, social events, restaurants, retail stores and more – so long as the content being tweeted is real-time valuable. A good example of this would be a registration for an upcoming webinar, a limited-time retail promotion, or a product launch.
Stats: More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
If you’ve got something worth watching, make sure you put it on YouTube – plain and simple. I think YouTube is undervalued from a marketing standpoint because most people think they have to produce an oscar-worthy clip in order for it to resonate with people – not true, my friends, not true. YouTube is the equivalent to Googling and everyone googles stuff – everyone – just ask my Gramps, he’s 86 and uses Google daily! People go on YouTube to learn how to fix their blinds (that was me!), watch a crazy dance move, or watch last year’s Super Bowl Budweiser commercial. Point is, many people are visual learners and YouTube gives you the outlet to educate, entertain, and yes, SELL your products. Unlike Facebook where people are perusing for entertainment, many people are going to YouTube for something specific – directions, information, education – so be there and make it interesting. If you sell ice cream equipment, make a video about ice cream production or even a funny video about enjoying ice cream. If you sell nail polish, make a video about different ways to apply the product. If you sell baby strollers, make a video about how to properly use the stroller and highlight all of its features. Lastly, if you sell a service, like, say a general contractor specializing in bathroom remodels, make a video about how to properly lay tile in a shower – the sky really is the limit with this social platform.
Pinterest & Etsy
I lumped these two together because this blog post is getting long and I’m in need of a glass of wine (just kidding, not really). No, I lumped them together because they are so tightly-knit that I often find myself redirected to Etsy when browsing and clicking around on Pinterest. These two sites are THE place to be for retail shops – hands down. If you are selling clothes, handbags, etc. and you’re not on these sites – run, FAST, and start your page. BUT, Pinterest also lends itself very nicely to the service industry – photographers are the first to come to mind but party planners and caterers are a great fit as well. I once believed that Pinterest was only good for pictures of meticulously well-planned parties but it has evolved into so much more for me as a consumer. I now look on there for organizational tips, recipes, wardrobe suggestions, picture ideas, decorating ideas (90% of my house is designed around Pinterest Pins – sad, but true). The important thing to remember about Pinterest is that, unlike YouTube where people may be searching for something really specific, Pinterest users are many times browsing in a sea of pins so you’ll need to standout. That doesn’t mean all your pins have to be professional quality but make them unique or attractive in some way in order to captivate your audience. Check out this article for some tips to get you started!
There ya have it….Do you have any unusual success stories you’d like to share about your business on these social sites? We’d love to hear it!