As business owners we’re told social media is the way to get customers and increase sales…but it’s more complicated than just throwing out an ad and waiting for the profits to come flowing in. In this post we’re going to talk about the importance of finding WHERE your audience is on the internet and HOW to connect with them to turn them into buyers.
Being active on all social media platforms might seem like a wonderful plan, but it is unnecessary and counter-productive. It’s inefficient, exhausting and usually ends up with you spread too thin: As J. R. R. Tolkien so graphically explained it, “like butter scraped over too much bread”.
It’s better to find out which specific social platforms your ideal audience uses and concentrate your efforts there.
There are three ways to find your customers on the correct social platform so that you do not make any incorrect assumptions, nor miss a potentially powerful social group:
- Checking social platform stats and demographics
- Checking out competitor social media presences
- Checking out Facebook and/or LinkedIn Groups
Only when you have done this homework should you then select the top 1-3 platforms that are most responsive and concentrate the majority of your social media networking on those limited platforms.
It’s not just about the numbers. If you check the stats on various platforms, you’ll quickly find out that each platform attracts different demographics. For instance, Instagram tends to attract younger women, Pinterest is nearly all female but attracts older women than Instagram, Twitter is going after business these days—as well as being a favorite of authors of all shapes and sizes—and YouTube is a whole different story, being segmented quite specifically. For example, according to MediaKix, 37% of individuals aged 18-34 are “binge-watching”, 62% of millennials are likely to take action after watching a YouTube video or videos, YouTube reaches 95% of all adults age 35-55, and males and females are almost equally represented, though heavily split between specific categories.
Here’s a quick overview on the main social networks for small businesses, entrepreneurs and authors today, in descending order of user numbers:
But here’s the real qualifier: It doesn’t matter if YouTube has over 1.5 billion users if 95% of your particular audience predominantly communicates via Twitter or some other network. That’s why it’s important to identify and market to the right networks.
Algorithms change, rules change and social platforms are in a state of constant flux. That’s why it’s better to conduct your own real-time primary research instead of relying on secondary research such as searching Google for blog posts.
Another fact of social media platforms is that stats and demographics change very quickly. For example, it has always been accepted that Pinterest consists of a predominantly female audience—but as of the time of writing, Pinterest is announcing in its own demographic info that “50%+ of new signups are men” (following their own preferred categories, which are different from female ones.)
Check out your competitors and see where they are concentrating their efforts and getting the most response. Chances are good if your biggest competitor is spending lots of time on LinkedIn, there’s a reason for it.
Also check out major influencers in your sub-niche and field. Where are they most active? What posts from other networks do their followers share?
When you study competitors’ social feeds and pages, look for the types of posts that generate:
- Hot, ongoing activity
- Personal stories
And don’t just read. Really pay attention to the valuable data you acquire. Make notes on all these relevant strategies and topics. Make notes about the posts your ideal audience most actively responds to—and use those types in your own social marketing.
Using social media to grow your business is not about selling, it’s about making connections with people. When people know, like, and trust you then they’re more likely to buy from you.