Many clients come to us asking for the same social goals: more likes, more followers, more connections. At Right Source Marketing, we try to get behind these blanket statements to the real meat of the requests. Why do you want more likes? Are you trying to convert “likes” into customers? How will we measure those conversions? What’s the ROI of a Facebook campaign?
While I can’t promise that I have all the answers, I can tell you that all social media networks are not created equal. Some are certainly more effective in targeting the consumer, while others are better for reaching a business audience. Some are easier to measure than others, which is important in determining your return on investment. Some networks may be the best to reach a specific goal, while others may meet a variety of other goals. Follow me as I break down the need-to-know about using the big four social networks for business—sorry, guys, I will not be covering Gentlemint in this post!
Facebook is a story-telling site. As a business, you may not see a lot of value in Facebook, it is a good idea to get your company’s story out there, even if it’s just for the purpose of being found via a Facebook search. Facebook’s new Timeline features a cover photo and other image options allowing your visitors to get a strong visual sense of your company’s story. Take advantage of this visual story by adding the content you already feature on your blog, newsletter, and/or videos to keep Facebook fans coming back. Updating your page often gives your followers a reason to visit more than once.
Facebook also excels in its ability to measure social media success with the inception of insights. Any time you post on your company’s Timeline, you can see that post’s total impressions, reach, engaged users, those “talking about this,” and virality. Granted, some of these metrics have been created by Facebook and aren’t exactly comparable to other social media networks, but at least you can measure your Facebook success. These insights can point you in the right direction when dealing with potential and current customers.
Another useful facet of Facebook for businesses is Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads allow for very specific targeting for a reasonable price. You have the ability to customize these ads to your business’s needs. And, again, you can measure your success. Facebook Ads also retains its own insights so you can see what’s working and what’s not working and make adjustments.
LinkedIn has become a powerful force in the professional realm. In fact, it’s often seen as unprofessional to not have some sort of presence on this networking site. According to LinkedIn, most companies use their site to find job candidates. LinkedIn members span across 130 different industries, representing all 500 of the Fortune 500 companies. Even if you’re not actively searching for job candidates, LinkedIn is a great social network for meeting and establishing relationships with other professionals in your industry. You can skip all the photos of your neighbor’s dog or invitations to Farmville and focus on advancing your company. A well-optimized LinkedIn page goes beyond just looking good for your followers; your company page appears on the first page of Google search results for keywords matching your profile.
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to post status updates. This is a great way to share blog posts, company news, and other company-specific updates with your LinkedIn connections, who may or may not visit your blog or website regularly. Additionally, LinkedIn recently added insights to your status updates as well. Now you can see impressions, clicks, and engagement statistics to help guide your updates in the future. However, if your company creates a LinkedIn page, make sure your employees are optimizing their individual pages as well. Visitors to the company page can see employees of your company, so instruct your employees to use professional photos, keep only relevant business information, and avoid any personal (read: unprofessional) posts on LinkedIn.
Twitter is all about building relationships with your current and prospective customers. While you may not think a 140-character tweet does any good, it’s the aggregate you should focus on. A quick glance at any Twitter page tells that visitor if the company is active on Twitter, if they’re reactive to replies, retweets, and mentions, and if they’re interacting with the big opinion leaders in your industry. A Twitter account doing all of these things is more likely to obtain influential followers and receive more clout in the market.
Twitter is a great way to show off your company’s personality and wide breadth of knowledge. Tweeting your original content serves as another content distribution method that is more likely to be seen and read by individuals. Curating content from non-competing industry experts and reacting to recent industry news proves your company is up to date on the latest and greatest in your industry. These two strategies will allow your company to build a relationship with its Twitter followers and build trust with those individuals and entities. For more Twitter tips, see my earlier blog post, “Do This, Not That: Guide to Twitter Etiquette.”
You may not believe it, but today Google+ has more than 170 million members, so it should definitely be on your radar. Sharing your content on Google+ means that your content will be immediately indexed by Google. Additionally, +1 links often rank higher in search results and rank higher for your Google+ connections. Google+ is more about quality content over quantity of content; you may obtain fewer followers in your Google+ circles than on other social networks, but these followers are more likely to actually read and react to your posts than other social networks.
Your content will be indexed faster, and more influential people are likely to see it when you post on Google+. In addition, people who search on Google will see the +1s your post receives, which also gives your brand a little more credibility. Share buttons have become very common at the end of blog posts, but to be able to share and see shares/likes directly from your Google search is a valuable feature that no other social media networks can boast about yet.
In summary, Facebook is great for telling your company’s story, especially if you’re a B-to-C organization. LinkedIn connects you to job candidates and the right professionals in your industry. Twitter helps you build a relationship with your followers, whether they’re current customers or prospective customers and can position you as an industry thought leader. And Google+ helps your company’s content get found on Google by the most influential people.
Each of the above social media networks is a great place for businesses and individuals to interact and to keep a finger on the pulse of your target markets, but each network is unique and has its own uses. You should definitely have a presence on each, but use them wisely. Now that you know the best practices for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, your business should have no problem putting its best foot forward!
Have another social network you think I should have covered for businesses? Disagree with one of my points? Let’s get the conversation started in the comments!