Is your business on social media overload?
Lately I’ve been seeing an increasing number of articles and blogs discussing the growing number of social networking platforms and how they may be overloading users with too many options. In my personal opinion, I believe the launch of Google+ has caused many users to question the amount of social media outlets they use each day. It certainly had me asking myself if I could handle managing one more social network.
The pressure to partake in the newest and hottest networks can be rationalized by the results of a Nielsen study, which found that social networking is now the most popular online activity, ahead of sending e-mails, surfing the Internet and playing games. If social networking is drawing in the majority of users, then it’s not difficult to understand that that’s where your business should be as well.
But what happens to businesses when consumers experience social media overload? How can businesses keep up? And how should you combat these issues and continue to be successful in your company’s social media campaign?
Where the consumers are
When it comes to marketing, businesses go where their consumers go. While traditional marketing requires a fair amount of research and study information to determine the best outlets and marketing procedures to target the right demographic, social media marketing has the ability to remove much of the guesswork and directly target consumers via social networking profiles, groups and shared partnerships. Businesses can’t control which social networks their consumers utilize, which is why it’s so important that businesses stay up to date with popular social networks, which can allow them to connect with their users as well as stay active in their social media strategy.
Regardless of whether you’re a social media veteran or a novice, it’s important to understand how to reach the largest number of consumers and which networks are the most advantageous to your company’s online marketing strategy.
The Big Three
The “big three” social media entities are, without a doubt, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media guru Scott Monty stated in a blog post called “The Magic Number” that “LinkedIn is the business meeting, Facebook is the hallway conversation and Twitter is the cocktail party.” In other words, utilize LinkedIn for creating new business connections and exposing your company via LinkedIn’s company pages. Use Facebook as tool to harvest relationships and keep your company’s conversations with consumers flowing. And treat Twitter like a party–there’s always something being said or happening that people want to know about.
Understanding the “Big Three” in the social media ecosystem will ensure that your company is utilizing the networks for optimal representation and exposure. But social media activity is a big player as well. If consumers feel like they are being overloaded with social media, the last thing your business should do is push marketing upon them and deter them from following your brand.
Instead, create a strategy that allows your business to schedule blogs, news and updates at certain times throughout the day and week. Don’t post more than once a day to your Facebook fan page–too many updates to your fans will force them to “unlike” your business. Try posting a couple times a day to LinkedIn and even more to Twitter. Utilize social networking aggregators like Hootsuite to create posting schedules that will help avoid a cluster of updates that will annoy your followers.
Finally, make sure your company is putting out valuable information that your consumers want to see. In a New York Times article, one overloaded social media user said she evaluates all networking sites by asking herself a single question: “Will it enhance my life?” If this is what your consumers are asking themselves about social media networks, they are probably asking it about your business as well. What is your business providing to its users that will enhance their lives? By asking yourself this question, you’ll find the right answers to be successful in using social media without overloading your consumers.
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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and president of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website at www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.