The ever changing social landscape: a quick look at six communities02/24/2012
As a business, it used to be “enough” to have a Facebook presence as a brand, whether consumer or business facing. Sometimes LinkedIn is a good choice with Facebook or by perhaps by itself if the brand is only business facing.
Of course, there’s a myriad of social media choices besides Facebook: Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, Hipstamatic, Foursquare, Cafemom, Google+, Circle of Moms, myYearbook, StumbleUpon, Mashable, Gowalla, Yelp, Pissed Consumer ... (and the list goes on).
How does a brand keep up? First, don’t try (there are hundreds and hundreds of social communities). Identify the strategic social networks that fit with your business, create your page, handle, or channel, formulate the strategy and high-level messaging, and resource the community with staff or partner with an organization that is an established player in the social market. Now, put one foot in front of the other and begin. Test the waters even if you don’t believe in social media as a customer acquisition or branding medium. Businesses are jumping into the social media space for a variety of reasons:
- Increasing their online presence
- Leveraging media dollars and building brand equity
- Listening to what’s being said about their industry or business
- Getting to know their customers and prospects on a personal level
- Receiving referrals and leads
- Joining the discussion and build authority in the industry or business
Social networks and microblogs (eg Facebook and Twitter) help you connect with and contact those within your core business community. Your blog and Web site serve as your central hub. The hub sends consumers to your respective social media profiles to build the connection. Social media is changing how the world does business. It has a greater impact on Millennials and Generation Z (or Internet Generation), those who are the early adopters of media consumption. The Generations X and Baby Boomers will also adopt and when they do, your business will be impacted.
Ask your current community (eg customers) to look you up and like or follow you. Tend to your community on a regular basis with content and information that is of interest to them (and you too). Ask questions and request that your community respond. Share information that is timely and ask them to share information too. Publish images and video and ask them to do the same. I think you get it: it’s a two-way conversation in a virtual setting.
It’s not always easy to tend to your brand from a marketing perspective while running your business. We get it and frequently say here: where did the time go and can we manufacture more of it in the day? Besides Facebook and Twitter, we have a growing Tumblr presence plus a number of us are in LinkedIn, plus we regularly use Gowalla, Foursquare, Cafemom, Google + and others too.
In addition to finding social media that fits with your business and customers, it’s also a good idea to have differing social channels to reach your varied customer demographics. Here are my favorites:
- Facebook is ubiquitous across US geography, age, and ethnicity.
- More men than women are on Twitter plus those who are established in professional fields and the folks in their 30-40s too (and personally I find that the SEO gurus are huge tweeters).
- LinkedIn is the premium career social site for C-level folks to those starting their careers.
- Google+ circles are a great way to segment messaging to different audiences.
- Tumblr is an Instagram/Hipstamatic/general blogging-Twitter channel for folks under 30 years; few words, few images, a lot fickle. We use the less is more approach.
- My personal favorite is Vingit, a 15-second video app that is based in social Darwinism (people like your video, it stays, people don’t, it dies), yes I’m shamelessly plugging now.
Get connected and stay connected. Sign up and start communicating with your community. Let me know if we can help at Dirigo.