What Social Media Sites Should My Business Be On?

sm-questionmark-237x300You know social media is the future of marketing.  You know your business needs to have a presence.  But with so many websites out there it’s hard to figure out which to use and when.

Don’t fret.  I am here to help.  Before we dig in, take a breath, and repeat this mantra:

You do not need to be everywhere.  A quality social experience is better than quantity.

Okay now that we have that out of the way we can focus on how to determine which social networks are relevant to your business and then which ones you should put your time into developing.

Some questions to consider when starting :

  • What are my goals for social media?
  • What social sites do my customers use?
  • Which social sites do I enjoy using?
  • What type of content do I plan to share?

 

The Top Social Networks for Business

This is a helpful infographic to provide a quick breakdown of the major social media networks that we will discuss.

Social-infographic_2014(Source: Leverage)

Here is my general ranking of the social networks for most consultants, small businesses, or solo-practitioners.  The biggest caveat I would point out is if you are in retail or any design field then Pinterest and Instagram should rank higher on your list.  And again, you will need to decide what works best for your business and circumstances.  We don’t subscribe to a “one size fits all” rule.

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. Google+
  5. Pinterest
  6. Instagram

LinkedIn

If you can only choose one social network site at this time I would encourage you to use LinkedIn.  It is one of the oldest and largest of the social sites.  It is also the only one that was designed with business in mind.  It is great for building your professional network, finding potential clients/customers, and sharing content (typically you will see blog posts or news articles being shared).  It is also an excellent tool for invitations to events you many be hosting.

Twitter

Twitter is all about the quick and succinct interaction.  Twitter can be a useful tool for communicating directly with your customers and keeping them abreast of your latest news, events or promotions.  Important to note that since Twitter is a fast paced environment you need to make sure you dedicate time, preferably everyday, to engage in conversations and share content otherwise you will fall off your follower’s radar.

My personal approach on Twitter (@devinrdevries) is to share a mixture of personal interest and business.  This is what I feel works for me.  On the flip side I pretty much only use Facebook for personal sharing.

Facebook

Facebook users respond well to pictures, stories (news and aspirational), and promotional deals.  Recently Facebook has changed some rules for how brand page content gets served up so if you’re considering using Facebook for your business, you should understand that you will likely need to dedicate an advertising budget for promoting your content. In order for a brand page’s posts to show to its fans, reach must be amplified by paid promotion. Without paid promotion, Facebook reportedly shows brand page content to a mere 1 to 2 percent of a page’s followers.

Pinterest & Instagram

These sites are all about the visuals.  You must provide beautiful and clear images for people to engage with.  It’s also a transporting experience for users.  They want to see inspiring designs, delicious food, beautiful clothes and DIY tips.  As a retailer it’s a great tool for getting your product shared by a wide audience.  Pinterest has made some recent developments with business in mind such as performance analytics and promoted pins.

As an example my hobby/side business is floral design and wedding flowers.  I use Pinterest as The Chic Florist to engage with potential customers and get inspiration for myself.

My advice is to not be afraid of social media.  Jump in and try different sites out to see how others are using them and which seems like a good fit for you and your company.  You don’t want to hate using it otherwise you won’t keep up with it and then it no longer is an effective tool.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Also if anyone has tips on what has worked for their business, please share.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile: Pump Up the Summary

Continuing on with our series on optimizing your LinkedIn profile we will spend some time on the summary section.

The LinkedIn Profile Summary is where you can give people a glimpse into who you are, what your background is, what you’re looking to accomplish, and additional places they can find you online or contact you. It can also be used to provide additional descriptions about your experience, expertise, awards, etc. The LinkedIn summary also presents an opportunity to include links to content that you’ve created and displays them. For example, you could include a PowerPoint presentation you’ve given, a video clip of a speech, or samples from your portfolio if you are in a creative arena.

Here is an example of well-rounded summary that includes a sample video of a speech.hdlinkedinSee Henry’s Profile here.

Bottom line, this is your chance to solidify their impression of you and to sell them on your abilities. Don’t be afraid to add some sizzle. If you are looking to grow your business and find new clients tell them how you can help them in this section.

Optimize your LinkedIn Profile: Catch Attention with an Informative Headline

LinkedIn is one of the oldest and most established social networks.  It is the world’s biggest professional network with more than 259 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  Membership in the United States is over 84 million.  If you aren’t already using this tool, you should be.  It can be a major asset in your marketing arsenal.  This series of posts will help you to optimize your LinkedIn profile in five easy steps.

Before we dive into optimizing a quick word on why this is an important step.  LinkedIn values users with what they call “complete profiles”.  For instance users with completed profiles show up higher within LinkedIn’s search results.  Spending a little time now to get your profile in shape will pay off later.

Tip:  If you are already an established user with lots of connections you may not want to alert all your connections of small updates as you optimize your profile. You can turn your activity broadcasts on or off and select who can see your activity on their homepage from the Privacy & Settings page.

Step One:  Catch Attention with an Informative Headline

Following your name and picture the profile headline is the first impression that potential connections will have of you.  It is also a key factor in making your profile rank higher within LinkedIn’s search.  When writing your headline keep those dual purposes in mind.  Be clear about what you do for clients and try to include as many applicable keywords as possible for the search algorithm.  Multiple titles, descriptions of what you do, books you’ve written are all good ideas for your headline.  Be aware that there is currently a 120 character limit for this section.

For example having a headline such as “President of John Smith Consulting” gives prospective clients very little to go on and is easily passed over.  Wouldn’t you be more interested in talking to someone who is a “Facebook Marketing Expert Author & Trainer | Social Media Speaker | Relationship Marketing Specialist” or “CEO @TopRank Online Marketing, Author: Optimize, Public Speaker: Integrated Search, Social, & Content Marketing”?

The headline section is only the first area in which you will want to use keywords.  There are online tools that can help you identify what people are searching related to your particular field.  Google has an excellent one that I recommend checking out.  It’s important to consider what are known as short tail and long tail keywords.  Basically, long tail keywords are keyword phrases made up of 3-5 words whereas short tail keywords are one or two words.  Short tail will be the common and popular words associated with your industry.  The long tail ones are less popular but are more targeted to specific searches and come with less competition.  Including a mixture of both is the best strategy.

Have you come across any LinkedIn headlines that caught your eye?  Let us know in the comments and come back for the next post on pumping up the summary section.