With social media getting older by the minute, people are getting wiser and finding their way around the clutter. Sure, there’s plenty of nonsense and useless memes but there’s still relevant and creative merit out there waiting at every corner. If you’re a small business owner, finding the right platforms that run parallel with your business goals is a tedious but rewarding task as they will soon be the catalyst in your online strategy.
I’ve found that for every business structure there is around 4 or 5 social networks that are relevant and hold potential for business development. For instance, a business that is service based would have less success than a business that is product based on Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr. But those that are service based can have more success on Twitter, Linkedin, or even Four Square.
The point is that there is a unique environment in every social media platform that demands a certain type of content and promotion. If you’re a little cafe or restaurant don’t be afraid to get interactive with your clients, put a sign in your window indicating a social media contest: Enter your picture of your favourite XYZ dish and you’ll be entered to win a free XYZ meal every day for a month! You can do this with food, coffee, or pretty much anything you can take a picture of.
The tedious part in finding your business’ preferred social networks is A/B Testing. I sat down last night with a photographer friend and we went over the social networks he was on and the ones he’s made sales on. Obviously, you want to focus more on the channels that drive your development but you also want to diversify and reach into different segments without stretching yourself thin.
Don’t feel by setting up a Google+ account that you have to stay consistent with it, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. However, pay attention to where your competitors are, if they’re already on Google+ maybe you should stay on and post content regularly. Going back to my photographer friend, he didn’t want to post his work on Pinterest because of their user terms. I suggested that he could just post the pictures that he’s already sold on Pinterest in hopes of using them for promotion and potentially driving traffic to his point of sale.
I think a lot of new business owners, free lancers, artists, and people with little online marketing know how often get intimidated by social media marketing. I’ve found that people are often misinformed, intimidated or they feel like it doesn’t apply to them or their business structure. Look at what we’re achieving with social media: civil uprisings went viral, we increased political involvement, we documented and monitored war, and we ensured a sense of internet freedom.
Social media isn’t going anywhere and with its maturity more people will catch on. The question is: will you be left behind?