Social Networking for Business: Are You Doing What’s Right for Yours?

Jan 24,2011 Posted by to Marketing

The BIG 3: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Everybody who’s anybody has a profile in each. And it seems everybody is preaching the same thing:

  • You HAVE to have a Facebook Fan Page
  • You HAVE to be on Twitter
  • You HAVE to join LinkedIn and participate in groups

But, do you really HAVE to do any of this? Will your business fall in the water if you don’t?

The answer depends on your target audience.

Remember, your target audience 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. While it may be a little challenging to have a full-fledged conversation, you can still interact and find out what their challenges are, participate in the conversation when they are looking for solutions and become a trusted adviser.

The same could be true if your target audience hangs out on Facebook. Maybe they prefer to interact there because there’s no character limit (like the 140 characters on Twitter). They may like the back and forth conversation of posting comments on each others wall and seeing their updates throughout the day.

The point is, participating in social networking is just like participating in live networking. You should only attend the “events” that make sense for you and your business. Thus, you should only be spending your time where your target audience is hanging out – otherwise you’ll miss the boat completely.

Nothing is more frustrating than spending your efforts pursuing a particular marketing strategy only to find that it generates ZERO results. Has that ever happened to you? If so, it’s likely because the strategy (or in this case the platform) didn’t fit your business. You may be chasing an opportunity that doesn’t even interest your target audience — and they’re not going to go looking for you either.

In order to provide the solution to a problem, you need to be visible when your ideal prospects need you. Marketing yourself and your services 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. And 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.

A big part of your social networking marketing success will depend on how well you do your research. Take the time to interview your current clients, as well as any prospects whom you’ve met with but aren’t working with yet. You can send them a short survey via Survey Monkey or simply pick up the phone and ask them. You can also use a tool like Flowtown which will analyze your email list and tell you exactly which social networks your subscribers are participating in.

By taking the time to research which social networks your ideal prospects are interested in, 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 or LinkedIn or ever engage there. All of these are great platforms with a high search engine ranking. So if you have a well-developed profile that will help folks to find you when they’re searching for you online, that may be enough. But what you want to seriously consider is which social networks you should concentrate your time and marketing efforts on. 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!

So, which social network will it be for you – or rather your target audience? It might (or might NOT) be any of the “BIG 3?. It could be a small community on a Ning network just waiting for an expert like you to join in the conversation. Take your time to do the research and find the best solution for you and your tribe. Make the commitment to participate in the conversation for at least three 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 3, post your findings below and let the community know how it’s working for you!

Your Action Plan For The Week:

  1. Create a simple survey using Survey Monkey and ask people in your network which social media sites they participate in.
  2. Register for an account with Flowtown and analyze your email subscriber list to see which sites your audience frequents.
  3. Research what other industry or niche specific social media networks are available.
  4. Optimize all of your social media profiles and start actively participating in the sites where your ideal prospects are most active.

Sydni Craig-Hart

Sydni Craig-HartSydni Craig-Hart, expert marketing coach and consultant, supports service professionals in creating success – in both their businesses and their lives. Known as “The Smart Simple Marketing Coach,” Sydni uses a results-focused, “how to” approach in implementing simple and customized strategies so clients realize their professional and personal dreams. She has worked with hundreds of clients in over 50 different industries to help them attract more clients, develop multiple streams of income, discover untapped profit centers, gain national recognition, and create profitable businesses in which they enjoy the lifestyles they choose. To get your free Smart Simple Marketing Starter Kit and to schedule a complimentary “Profit Breakthrough” coaching session, visit www.SmartSimpleMarketing.com.

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