Using Social Media for Business: Strategies for Long-Term Success
Using social media for business is a lot of work. But it’s worth it if two things are in place: 1) You are connecting with customers and prospective customers; and 2) it’s making an impact on your business, either directly or indirectly.
One of the biggest factors in determining your success with social media is channel selection. Which platform(s) are you going to use? Then, it’s all about the strategies you use. Each platform is unique — and the nuances matter.
That’s why I created The Social Media Strategy Series, to help you make a good business decision. It’s in the form of a podcast, where I devote a full episode to each platform or strategy. In each segment, I cover the character and philosophy of the featured platform, its potential benefits and pitfalls, particular idiosyncrasies or restrictions that might affect you, and the actual strategies that I use in my own business serving clients.
All of the strategies comes from my work with clients week to week — and in my own content strategy. I am a practitioner, so most of the strategies are things that I’ve actually tried in the real world. In other words, I’ve made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to go. The goal is to give you some criteria and considerations as to whether or not each particular platform will be good for your business in particular.
I started with the major platforms for business: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube. I included Instagram and Snapchat, just because they are evolving quickly and garnering a lot of attention. Here’s the full list so far:
- Social Media Marketing: 4 Strategies for Channel Selection
- Twitter for Business: Is It Right For You?
- LinkedIn for Business: What’s Your Strategy?
- Facebook for Business: Optimizing for Organic Reach
- Google Plus for Business: Why It Still Matters to Your Content Strategy
- YouTube for Business: Where the World Goes to Learn
- Instagram for Business: Brand Storytelling with Images
- Snapchat for Business: How to Nurture Your Audience
- Pinterest for Business: Are You Missing an Opportunity?
Or you can find each of them (with Show Notes and links to outside resources) here on the series page: The Social Media Strategy Series. My intention is to keep going with more: LinkedIn Pulse, Twitter Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Groups, Medium (of course!), Periscope, SlideShare, and more. Let me know if there are any platforms (or strategies) that you would like for me to cover!
This series is not meant to be a comprehensive view of each platform’s statistics and up-to-the minute updates on their latest changes. It’s about the strategies that you might use for each — and helping you figure out whether or not it’s right for your particular business.
I don’t like to get hung up on how popular/hot the platform is, the demographics, the number of MAUs. Each audience is unique, just like your business is unique. In my practice, I’ve seen successes (and failures) that go completely against “conventional wisdom.”
Getting Started with Social Media
1. Change Your Mindset
Social media is a great way to connect with customers and potential customers to form a relationship and start building trust. If you’ve been resistant to it so far — or “trying it out” with not much success, let’s start by getting past what I call the Two Phases of Resistance to Social Media. Here are two posts to help you with that:
- Getting past Phase 1 of the Resistance to Social Media
- Overcoming Phase 2 of the Resistance to Social Media
2. Choose Your Content
Then you should think about what content you can produce. As I mentioned in Social Media Marketing: Choosing the Right Content, there are three considerations:
- Does it match your brand? What’s the tone of your brand voice? And what’s the best format? Written content, audio content, or visual content?
- What can you commit to? Frequency matters, but you don’t want this process to get so heavy that you can’t keep up with it. You have a business to run!
- What type of content will connect with your audience? This is probably the most important factor, but the key is to find the intersection between what you can do and what your audience wants.
3. Select Your Channel
Once you’ve committed to an earnest effort with social media marketing and identified what content you can produce, then it’s about selecting the right channel. I give an overview of this in Social Media Marketing: 4 Strategies for Channel Selection, which is why it’s at the top of the “playlist” above.
The upshot is that your goal should be to get really efficient with social media. For most small businesses, the biggest factor in your social media marketing ROI is the time spent. That’s because it’s often the CEO or founder who’s trying to manage this while actually running the business too. You really have to get the most out of each hour spent.
Making a Informed Decision about Social Media
So listen to each episode in the series, identify which channels you think might be good to try. Give them an honest effort, and treat it like a competition. The best one or two channels win — and then eliminate the rest. Every “no” is more valuable than a “maybe,” because it’s a decision.
The important thing to me is that it’s an informed decision. You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you think that Instagram won’t work for you. Or that you heard that Google Plus is dead (spoiler alert — it’s not). Successful business owner see opportunity where others don’t.
I hope that The Social Media Strategy Series will help you with that. Maybe you’ll try a strategy that you’ve hadn’t considered before. Or maybe you’ll rule it out before burning a lot time on it. For instance, suppose you get to the end of my Snapchat episode, and say, “I don’t think Snapchat is for me.” That’s great. You’ve made a clear decision, based on your own criteria — not just hearsay or hype. If I can contribute in that way for you, I’m psyched.
Enjoy, and let’s hear from you as well! What’s working? What’s not? What strategies have you developed? I always enjoy hearing your challenges — and the clever ways you overcome them.
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