Breaking the Mold on Conventional Social Media
When you hear the term, ‘Social Media,’ you likely think of the big names. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google Plus, etc. More often than not, businesses and marketers approach social media marketing from a channel-first mindset, where they evaluate the success or failure of their social media marketing based off of how much engagement you earn from the major networks, and generally accept lesser engagement (Google Plus for example) as a byproduct of marketing on a less active channel.
This channel-first approach, while conventional and widely utilized, is actually an incredibly innefficient and sometimes even ineffective way to leverage “social media marketing.”
What I tell clients all the time, and how I urge you think about your social media marketing strategy, is to first ask, “Where is my audience?” and “What are my physical resources (time/staff) I can commit?” and “What is my budget?” and “Where are my highest quality leads likely to come from?”
Unconventional networks like Quora, Houzz, Reddit, Imgur, and Buzzfeed are all viable and active communities, and depending on your audience and business model, may be far more viable options than some of the major networks with different demographics of active users.
Does your business have high quality visuals? You’ll likely want to focus on Pinterest, Instagram, and Imgur, and incorporate some Facebook advertising / Twitter advertising to boost awareness to broader audiences that exist there. Do you have a lot of thought provoking content being generated? Leverage your Facebook and LinkedIn audiences, and re-interpret your articles for the Buzzfeed Community.
Are you in the Home and Design business? Then you’re extremely lucky to have Houzz as an asset – arguably the most effective and targeted lead generation tool in a “social” space.
Moving forward, social media needs to be interpreted in a broader light. The definition of social media needs to evolve into a term which defines a space with an active user community, predominantly populated by your target audience, and is a space you are capable of providing input and unique value in a space where users are seeking your professional knowledge and expertise.
If you have a larger staff and a bigger budget, then you are afforded more luxuries in regards to how many networks you are active on, in which case, a high number of broader and niche networks make more sense for you.
Maybe, in retrospect, it’s the major networks that make sense for the major organizations, and the niche networks that make sense for the small to medium size businesses, who are looking to use their time and efficiently as possible.
Regardless, evaluating your social media strategy from an “audience first, resources second, channels third” mentality is the best way to ensure you’re operating as efficiently as possible, and helps move the conversation of social media away from general considerations for a few major players, that may or may not be right for you and your business.