Choosing social networks to market micro business
Have you heard that Instagram, the photo and video sharing app, took over Pinterest’s spot as the world’s fastest growing social network?
If you’re a solopreneur or micro business owner, you may find that news dismaying.
“You mean I have to market my business on yet another social network? I don’t have time to use Facebook, let alone Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and whatever’s next down the pike.”
Figuring out which social networks to join and how to market your business via those channels is the challenge of the decade. As the owner of a micro business, I face those same tough choices. I faithfully publish content to my Facebook business page, but I’ve become a Twitter recluse. My Pinterest boards see a lot of action, but YouTube hasn’t done much for my business. I have a Google+ business page, but rarely chat in Google+ hangouts.
Why am I not everywhere, doing everything, all the time?
Like you, I’m busy serving my customers. And living my life. But the most important reason I don’t try to be everything to everyone: my audience is not active on every social network.
I define “audience” as one’s ideal target customer, client, or constituent. When I ask micro business owners who their ideal audience is, they often respond, “Everyone in the world.”
Wrong. While everyone in the world seems to be online, your ideal audience is a specialized slice of the world. The ideal target audience for my company, for example, is a Baby Boomer business professional with moderate-to-severe Internet phobia.
As you plan your social marketing goals for 2014, devote time to defining or refining your ideal target audience. Once you have a clear picture of your audience, study user demographics for the major social networks. If your ideal audience hangs out at a specific network, focus your online marketing there. Actively participate in one or two social networks that provide the best return on your time investment, and let the others go.
My “A-list” social networks get plenty of TLC. I feed them daily with fresh content crafted to meet my readers’ needs. I listen to my followers’ conversations and respond to their comments in a timely manner.
I dress my social channels in their Sunday best. Many business owners neglect this critical step. One of my friends, the owner of a health care service, spent thousands of dollars on a gorgeous website and then slapped a blurry picture of petunias on the company’s Facebook page. The page looked as if was promoting Grandma’s garden rather than medical services. I informed my friend that this was unacceptable. I brought in my company’s graphic designer, who created a cover photo that complemented the design of the health care provider’s website.
Every social network at which your company has an account should feature a professional-looking cover photo that matches your brand’s look and feel. The “About Us” text must include information about your services or products and links to your website.
I’ve reaped the benefits of carefully choosing and customizing the social networks on which my company is active. When prospective clients contact me, they invariably open with, “I saw your Facebook page, and was so impressed that I visited your website and spent two hours reading your tutorials. I love your site’s design – can you make my company look like that?”
My answer, of course, is “Yes, we can!”
I believe you will see similar results when you define your ideal target audience, design an attractive space for them to hang out and consistently deliver content that meets their needs.