A 5-Step Process for Choosing the RIGHT Social Network for Your Small Business

You can never have too many choices until you have too many choices.

In the land of social media there are simply too many parties to chose from. We’ve reached the point in time where we can no longer attend every social media marketing party. We have to focus in on the parties (networks) where we’ll have the most impact & forget about the rest with no apologies or regrets.

“But wait,” you say. “What about enter new social media platform name here? Am I not missing out on potential customers?”

The answer to those questions depend a lot of variables that only you can answer based on a five-step process. We have to see past the ‘new shiny toy’ & see the platform for what it is. In fact, we should be looking at all social media platforms for what they are & focus on how they fit into our marketing plan.

Small business owners get stuck in thinking they need to join every social media network to succeed in online marketing. But the truth is, every new social media platform isn’t always the right place to market your business.

How To Find The Right Fit

Finding the right social media network for you business is an important process. If you follow some simple steps & take notes along the way you’ll be better prepared to take social media marketing by storm.

So whether you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey or your a seasoned professional looking to trim some of your social media fat this five-step process will get your social media marketing in line.

The Five-Step Process

Step 1: What’s Each Party Has To Offer?

Think of every social media network as a party. Our goal is to have a good time at that party, so step one is to figure out what the party is all about. Each platform will have its its own distinct atmosphere. & we must first figure out what that is by asking:

  • What each platform does?
  • What it’s purpose?
  • How do audiences use it?
  • How do other businesses use it?

Answering these questions lays the foundation to finding the right social media mix. Focusing in on the websites that your business will benefit the best from.

Step 2: Finding the Right Party

Once you understand what each platform does the next step will to go where your people are. There’s no sense of going to the party’s where you can’t connect with anybody. Research & find out where your customers all ready hang out both current & prospective customers.

The importance of having a well researched customer persona plays a large part in finding the right social media fit.

Step 3: Who Else Is At The Party

Now that you understand what the ‘party’ is about & who the people at the ‘party’ are, the next step is to find out who else is at the party.

Where are your competition & industry leaders hanging their social media jackets?

It doesn’t matter who you are, every business has competition. Pick your top 3-5 direct competitors & take notice where they are active throughout a typical work week. The key here is the word ‘active!” The biggest facade behind social media is that everyone has an account on the various platforms but not always active. Pay attention to activity more than presence.

Once you get a feel for your competition you can take it a step further by finding the top 3-5 industry influencers. Although this is an optional step, since we live in a global economy this information can be useful even for the smallest most local of companies. If they’re an influencer in your industry then they already have an audience that can give you great insights from for your social media marketing.

Step 4: What Parties Are You Already At

This is the step that’s often overlooked but an argument can be made is the most important to understand. Take a step back and look at where you’re hanging out during a typical work week. Do you find yourself on Facebook checking in on status updates? Maybe you float around the forums & groups on LinkedIn or find yourself quickly scrolling through your twitter feed. Whatever the case maybe we all have one or two social media platforms we’re familiar with.

These are the networks you’ll be more successful using because you know how they work. The comfort level you have with them & regular use will help you easily fit them into your social media marketing plan.

Step 5: Deciding What Parties to Attend

Once you have the answers to the steps 1-4 you’ll discover some patterns. Because of the popularity & reach of social media there will be intersections between where your customers are, where your competition markets & what your comfortable with using. If you take those intersections and line them up with the purpose of the social network you’ll soon have a clear picture of what parties to attend.

Now this is not to deter you from experimenting with attending the other social media ‘parties’ to see if they fit with your business. It’s always nice to look outside of your industry norms to find new customers but that’s not initial point. Your goal should be to find a happy marriage between your marketing plan & social media efforts.

Social media marketing is less about the option out there in cyberspace & more about what you’re going to do with those options. It’s important to remember that it’s not about attending every party rather finding the parties your business can make the most impact.

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