Why You Need To Be On Every Social Media Site
My friends and colleagues will tell you when it comes to marketing and especially social media, I’m not one to play by the rules – at least those arbitrary ones which tell you what times you should be posting, how often to post, how long your content should be and where you should be posting it.
When it comes to getting your social media presence started or built out, the first challenge is determining what sites you should be using. The typical response from most experts is ‘be where your audience is.’ It makes sense. Most will ultimately advise you be on one or two sites where your customer is active and engaged. Why waste your time and money (assuming you’re paying for ads or a social media manager) on Facebook if your typical client spends the majority of their time on LinkedIn? That, however, is a very narrow-minded approach.
My personal recommendation falls well outside the norm of almost every other thought leader or expert you’ll encounter will tell you:
You need to be on every social media site.
The first time I brought this up when speaking to a group of small business owners and solopreneurs their response is probably the same as yours right now: Are you #%^*&^% kidding me? I don’t have the time as it is to post on just one site and you’re telling me to be on six or seven of them?
Before you think I’m completely off my rocker, there is a big difference between being ON every social media site and being ACTIVE on every site.
So why be on all of them if you’re not active?
The Single Network Fallacy
The whole notion of concentrating your efforts on the sites used by those who make up your ideal customers is sound. My concern arises from business owners failing to realize that while their target market may predominantly use one or two social sites, those individuals are more than likely active other sites as well.
A 2014 Pew Research Center study found 24% of online adults were active on two social sites and 16% used three. The oversight of failing to recognize this multi-site usage means potential missed opportunities, both to reach your target market and, more importantly, be in a position to react and respond to them.
I’ll add a footnote here that I am generally referring to the Big 6 social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Aside from the fact that most small business owners fail at social listening and brand monitoring, for those who do, how will you be able to respond to a request for your particular service on Twitter if you’re not there? Social media has become one of the ‘go to’ places to seek advice on who to hire, where to eat, shop or stay. My mom used to pick up the phone and call a friend when she sought a referral. Now we head to Facebook and Twitter. Even if you’re not active, being on a site means having the ability to respond.
How much could one missed opportunity have been worth?
It’s not simply a sales opportunity. One powerful role social plays is it’s ability to set you up as the ‘go to expert’. People ask questions, discuss problems, see advice…..what if you were able to catch and respond to these scenarios, adding your expertise to the conversation? You don’t have to be actively posting every day, just present to engage when the situation arises.
I suspect the cost of a missed opportunity exceeds the cost to properly set up a profile.
Consider this: each profile provides an additional point of contact and links back to your website when setup correctly. Every opportunity to connect with or be contacted by a potential client increases your lead generation opportunities. Having a presence also means the ability to be tagged by others at referral opportunities (more on that below).
It’s Not Just About Your Target Market
You’re using social media to reach your target market, but social’s value goes beyond reaching your customer. It provides an excellent opportunity to network and build relationships with your influencers, potential referral partners and even competitors (think outside the proverbial box and consider the collaborative value).
My focus is on small business owners and solopreneurs. While Twitter isn’t the typical platform they use, it is a great resource for me to find content ideas, learn and collaborate. I am very active on Twitter, but you can just as easily set up a saved search or add that search phrase to your favorite social listening software. There is no need to be actively posting or engaging. Whether you check on the search on your own or catch something you monitor for, you’re in a position to address it.
Brand Reputation Management
People take to social media to get issues resolved. While your customer may not post a request for help on a site you’re not active, they might if they’re banking on some additional exposure to help get their issue resolved. And what about complaints or negative reviews?
Social media is a favorite place for anyone looking to air their grievances about a company (yes, they will post accolades but you know the old adage – a satisfied customer will tell 2 or 3 friends and a dissatisfied one will tell 8-10). Social media amplifies this. How often have you thought to yourself you’re going to post about a negative experience as soon as you get home?
You cannot respond to or address an issue if you don’t have a presence.
I often find it’s how a company handles negative situations, especially in full public view, has a more profound impact on how they are perceived than the initial posted complaint. No business is perfect. Situations do arise. I want to know if I use your service or by your product, if it does, you’ll work to resolve it.
If you are that ‘perfect’ company? Your customers will be your best brand ambassadors. They’ll sign your praises, share your content and in some cases go out of their way to respond to questions, inquiries and even complaints on your behalf. They may not (and quite honestly you hope they don’t) confine their praise only to sites where you have a profile. The added bonus of additional profiles? Tagging significant increases your visibility and ability to be found. It’s far easier to click on a your name and jump to your profile than copy and paste into a Google search to find you.
As for your brand ambassadors? You’d better be aware of their posts and acknowledge them. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. It’s essentially how you’re paying them. If you plan to do more, you still need to know who to show your appreciation.
If someone takes the time to support you, you’d better take the time to thank them.
Aside from opportunities and managing your reputation, having profiles on each social media site has two other benefits worth mentioning:
Social, at least at this writing, is not a direct ranking factor for Google. There is however a significant indirect effect. One of the simplest arguments
for having profiles on the big social sites – URLs. Every profile, in fact every post, creates a new URL. Profile URLs are indexed and do show in search engine page results (SERPs). More URLs means a greater opportunity to be found. If you’re site is poorly optimized for SEO (heck, even if it is) you’re not relying solely on it getting pulled. I’ve even found cases when my social profiles ranked higher than this site!
Having well optimized social profiles just became more important for those using a Wix site much as it was when Google started requiring all sites to be mobile friendly to show in SERPs. Why have all of your eggs in one basket?
What’s In A Name?
Plenty if it’s yours. Maybe the best reason to be active on every social media site, as my friend Bridget Willard of “You, Too, Can Be A Guru” pointed out, is to simply secure your handle or page name. You may have no need for or interest in using Twitter or Facebook now but if you do later, finding your own name is unavailable because a squatter or worse yet, a competitor grabbed it probably won’t sit well.
The Bottom Line
You only need to be active where your customers are but, you need to have a presence on every social media site.
Where do you stand?
Do you have a presence on each social media site? Am I just plain nuts?Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community