Updated 6 February 2020
I love this quote from Dustin….and he may be one of the only ones who agrees with me.
While most social media marketers believe you only need to be active in a few locations, there are reasons for needing a presence – at a minimum – on each major social media platform.
1. SEO and Search results
Dominate search results for your brand.
That may seem odd as who else would rank for your brand, or show up in a search when customers are looking for you? Yet, it happens.
Years ago I was marketing for another brand. They were just getting started. I wrote an article on the brand, then shared and promoted it. Within a few months, when searching for their brand, my article and other shared content outranked their own website! This site ranked at the top when searching for their brand name!
Review sites will also outrank brand websites, especially new ones or those without much content or authority (in Google’s eyes)..
Starting out, the easiest way to ensure you are found is to create as many indexable links as possible.
Your website is the biggest one….followed by social media pages and profiles.
Social Media Profiles Rank in Search Engines
While social shares may or may not affect a web page’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names.
One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to improve your brand’s visibility in search is to create and optimize your presence on each of the big social media platforms. (The image to the right is from the 1st page of Google’s search results for TSO Media.)
Each page or profile should be complete with contact information, especially links to your website, and consistently branded. This ensures if the customer searching gets to your Facebook page rather than your site, they will know it’s you. Your contact information will do the rest.
1a. SEO and Search results
The nature of search is changing. SEO is ‘search engine optimization. It’s not relegated to Google. Social media platforms are search engines as well. Merely having a presence will help you get found, but the point here is that using those pages and profiles – creating regular, quality, relevant content tailored to your audience on each – will increase your visibility.
2. Sales and Customer Service
– Your Audience
Let’s get one thing straight. The ‘experts’ are right. You must be present where your audience is present. The failure in the line of reasoning is the assumption businesses only have one audience. I hate to break it to you. You have at least three. So, even if you take the ‘expert’s’ advice, you need to apply it three times. I am willing to bet there will be some overlap BUT you will end up realizing it takes four or more sites to reach all three.
You would think this would be simple. I know who my buyer or client is. I know where they are active on social media. But you likely don’t. Most business owners truly do not have an idea of where their core audience hangs out. Very few have built a complete avatar to know their perfect buyer or client. This leaves open the possibility of being wrong. THINKING your target is active on Facebook when it is really Twitter could mean wasting time and completely missing the mark.
And if your market changes or if you shift your focus and have a new audience? Seems much smarter to already have the infrastructure in place first.
Your Buyer’s Influencers
Sometimes the direct route isn’t the best. There was a reason toy companies advertised during Saturday morning cartoons and not the evening news. Kids weren’t buying the toys. Their parents were. Why target children then?
Do you really think Mom and Dad were going to pay attention to toy commercials? To think Micronauts were the best toy ever and their son had to have them? (I really did.) Of course not!
They targeted me! I can still remember seeing commercials for toys I had to have, running upstairs to tell my parents…. only to be told no. The point though is that I did tell them. It is sometimes easier to reach the influencer than the buyer. Sometimes the influencer has more sway. Sometimes the influencer actually makes the decision (I’ve been married. I know).
So how does this play out on social media?
What if you were selling a product or service to construction contractors? The buyer might be on LinkedIn and I would certainly reach out and send a personalized connection request. I would not expect to make a sale to them. Me? I would find the person whose job is directly helped by your product or service. Reach out and connect with them. If we are talking about the office manager, they are likely on Facebook, possibly Pinterest, Instagram, and SnapChat. (See where the Buyer Persona worksheet comes in handy?) Connect with them on those sites.
So why even connect on LinkedIn with the actual decision maker? Simple. Visibility and accessibility (it’s a theme of mine)! When the office manager brings your product or service to the decision maker, they are familiar with your name. That instantly adds a layer of trust and if you have been interacting. you already started to build a relationship. Your odds of earning the sale increase. When the decision maker has additional questions or is ready to sign, you are readily available where they want to connect.
Think back to the networking comment I made above. I can almost guarantee you are not joining groups and going to events where everyone is your potential client. You attend groups to build relationships with those who can get you in front of your buyer and for opportunities to partner with others. Why are you not using social media marketing the same way?
One of the greatest roles social media plays is in driving SEO. Building relationships with others in your industry provides a way to generate increased visibility for your content through social shares. Those same contacts who are sharing your content are likely writing their own, creating the opportunity for backlinks. The increased visibility through shares to audiences outside yours combined with these backlinks and even comments on the blog itself as a result work to drive traffic to your site (lead generation) and improved search rankings (when your clients come looking for you, you know you are visible).
– The Single Network Fallacy
The whole notion of concentrating your efforts on the sites used by those who make up your ideal customers is sound. The problem lies with the fact that those in your core audience ARE active on more than one site, especially with younger users.
“Roughly three-quarters of the public (73%) uses more than one of the eight platforms measured in this survey, and the typical (median) American uses three of these sites. As might be expected, younger adults tend to use a greater variety of social media platforms. The median 18- to 29-year-old uses four of these platforms, but that figure drops to three among 30- to 49-year-olds, to two among 50- to 64-year-olds and to one among those 65 and older.” ~ Pew Research Center, 2018
While you may be able to limit your presence to fewer sites with older generations as your core client, there are 2 considerations:
- Are their influencers in a different age demographic?
- What 2-3 sites are they using?
That last piece is tougher to answer. While 50-64 year-olds use only 2 sites, you have no idea which two. Limiting your presence could mean limiting your visibility to your audience.
– Missed Opportunities
Think customer service.
Joe is referred to you, heads to your retail location or website and makes a purchase. A few days later he has a question. He’s on Facebook – the platform you use as it’s the best place to reach that audience of yours – but he really doesn’t use it. He prefers Twitter. Guess what? If you do not have a presence on Twitter, Joe is forced to use Facebook, email or call. Granted none of these options are difficult, but we live in an age of convenience. Make your customer resort to something they prefer not to use, make it difficult or uncomfortable for them and they may go elsewhere next time.
With a good social listening system, social media becomes a powerful tool for brand awareness, creating authority and, quite frankly, cold calling. You should be monitoring for specific sets of hashtags, keywords, and phrases. Focus on those which would be used when looking for information on, or for buying your product or service. Even if you never post, you could be monitoring for opportunities to help others with questions or to sell.
Heck. Monitor for your competitor’s brand mentions. You might even find opportunities they miss and potentially earn the future business!
3. Brand Reputation Management
Shit happens. No business is perfect. People talk. What’s more, they will talk where they are comfortable.
When it comes to social media, they will talk where they have influence. It makes no difference if you have a presence on that site or not. You don’t need to be on Instagram to be the subject of a rant there.
If you’ve chosen to avoid Instagram under the premise you do not need it to reach your audience or have no idea how to use it, you will not be able to respond (even if your social listening system catches it).
Catching and responding to a negative post quickly could prevent it from going viral. More important, it provides an opportunity for you to address the issue.
And If you are that ‘perfect’ company?
Your customers will be your best brand ambassadors. They will sing your praises, share your content and in some cases, go out of their way to respond to questions, inquiries, and even complaints on your behalf. They may not (and quite honestly you hope they don’t) confine their praise only to sites where you have a profile.
And…. you better be aware of their posts about you and acknowledge them. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. It’s essentially how you’re paying them.
Failure to acknowledge a thank you on a social media post or comment is the equivalent of walking away when someone thanks you in person.
What’s In A Name?
Plenty, if it’s yours!
You may have no need for or interest in using Twitter or Facebook now, and if you do later, finding your brand name is unavailable because of a squatter or worse yet, a competitor, sucks. It happens more than you think and trying to get the name – not likely going to happen. The impact could be significant.
It is vital to secure your handle and custom URL immediately. When working with brand marketing clients, their handles and custom URLs are something we focus on immediately.
The Bottom Line
You can listen to the social media marketing ‘experts’ and focus only on where your buyer is active or you can look at the bigger picture, reaping all of the benefits and value social media marketing offers.
It is your choice.
Original publish date 27 October 2015