In 2011, Pew Research found that two-thirds of adult Internet users (65%) now use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up almost 7% in 2010 (61%), and this is about eight times the 8% who said they used social networking sites in 2005.
Looking at usage on a typical day, at least 43% of online adults use social networking.
When you think about social networking, you probably think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.
Everybody who’s anybody has a profile in each. And it seems everybody is preaching the same thing. To get more business:
- You HAVE to have a Facebook Fan Page and gather as many fans as possible
- You HAVE to be on Twitter and post several times each day
- You HAVE to join LinkedIn and participate in groups
- You HAVE to participate in Google+ and setup your circles
- You HAVE to have a presence on Pinterest and learn how to create infographics
But, do you really HAVE to do any of this? Will your business fail if you don’t?
The answer depends on your target audience.
How social networking fits into your business
Remember, your target market determines where you should be and how you spend your time. If your target audience spends their day on Twitter, then that’s where you should be engaging with them.
Maybe they prefer to interact on Facebook because there is no character limit. They may like the back and forth conversation of posting comments on each other’s wall and seeing their updates throughout the day.
The point is this, participating in social networking is just like networking face to face. You should only attend the “events” that make sense for you and your business. Thus, you should only be spending your time on social media where your target audience is hanging out.
How to get the best results with marketing via social networks
In order to provide the solutions your audience is looking for, you need to be visible when they need you. Marketing your business is simply about educating your target audience about how you can solve their problems.
You can’t be a day late to the party. Take the time to do your research and find out EXACTLY which social networks your target market is hanging out in. This will tell you where you should be spending your time.
Most importantly, you will see the return on your time investment, as you’ll be connecting directly with the people who are already looking for you. Also you will demonstrate that you are committed to helping others and serving their needs.
You’re not just following the crowd because it’s the “in” thing. This isn’t high school – and the success of your business depends on your ability to connect with your target audience.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest or ever engage there. But what you want to seriously consider is which social networks you should concentrate your time and marketing efforts on.
For example, one division of our business involves training and coaching for administrative professionals. We teach them how to use systems and technology to streamline their workflow.
We also teach them how to start their own home-based virtual assistant business. Based on our research we found that this audience is most active on LinkedIn. As such, we setup a group on that site that dozens and dozens of pre-qualified leads join DAILY.
We’ve leveraged this group to build our email subscriber list, conduct market research and sell numerous products and programs, earning us thousands of dollars in new income.
Do we still have a presence for this audience on other social networks? Absolutely! But we focus our attention on LinkedIn, because that’s where we get the best results and make the most money.
The same principle applies to you. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather have 100 highly qualified and targeted potential clients to engage with and learn from rather than 2,000 people on Twitter who have no idea of your expertise and talents? Of course!
Which social network will it be for you and your target audience?
It may (or may NOT) be any of the BIG 5 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest). It could be a small relatively unknown community just waiting for an expert like you to join in the conversation. Take your time to do your research and find the option for your target market.
Make the commitment to participate in the conversation for at least 3 months before evaluating your performance. You’ll need at least that long to get comfortable and start developing relationships with the folks you meet.
Let me know what you find! If you find a specialized network outside of the BIG 5, post your findings below and share with us how it’s working for you!
- (Expert Feature) Why Pinterest Might NOT Be Right For Your Business (baybusinesshelp.c0m)