Facebook, Twitter & YouTube are the heavyweights of social media – and for good reason. They each have their target market in which businesses desperately want to get a piece of. Everywhere you go, you see and hear of these three platforms more than any other platform. So it’s no wonder they’re the most recommended and used platforms in the social media industry.
But are they right for every business? Have we elevated these platforms to the point in which now if a business isn’t apart of them, they feel as if they’re not doing justice to their social media strategy?
In this day and age, with people changing the way they view and use social media, there really is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ social media strategy. In fact, some businesses shouldn’t be on certain platforms at all.
For instance, if a divorce lawyer were on Facebook, would they get any likes? By liking the divorce lawyer, that like would broadcast to every friend, thus making it publicly known they’re going through a divorce or are thinking about going through a divorce. I don’t know many people who would want to make that kind of information public like that.
So Facebook may not be the best platform for a divorce lawyer. But should that mean that he shouldn’t be active on any social media platforms?
Instead of being on Facebook, he could create videos on how to prevent divorce, or how to find the best divorce lawyer or even the steps you need to take in order to bring up the possibility of divorce in a relationship.
The same topics could be written up and posted on his blog and then shared on Twitter so that it gets a bit more exposure. Twitter would be a safer bet, as whoever you follow isn’t broadcast to the world. You could read the tweets of the divorce lawyer without anyone knowing about it.
On the other hand, someone who owns a food truck, would benefit greatly from Twitter, Facebook & YouTube. They could advertise where they are on Twitter & Facebook, and then post a few videos of their awesome food on YouTube, maybe even some testimonials from customers. They would also benefit from Flickr, as posting up pics of their food, truck and various locations would be a blast.
YouTube may not even be the right platform at all for those looking to create their own videos. If you’re in the indie movie business, Vimeo may be a better option for you, as it’s known to cater to the indie market.
If you’re a business in that will be growing and looking for many employees in the future, LinkedIn will be a great driving force to find qualified candidates. Not only that, but LinkedIn has groups and Q&A in order to get you noticed and to do a little head hunting.
Dell is a great example of someone who uses LinkedIn well. Usually there’s very little interaction on posts in LinkedIn (unless it’s in a group) but when Dell posts a blog or status, they get quite a bit of engagement. That’s because they’ve made a huge splash in the LinkedIn communities. They also have a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Forum, Blog and I’m sure much more. They can handle that kind of busy social media strategy because of the size of their company.
The size of your organization and who will be managing and creating content will play a huge role in which platforms you first start out with. If you’re the only one who’s going to be creating any new content and know you won’t have the time, starting off with one platform, such as Facebook, would be just fine. Having one active platform is better than having a lot of empty platforms.
Which Platforms Are Right For Me?
So now the question is, how the heck do I figure out which platforms are right for me? Let me try to explain the process to go through in deciding which platforms are right for you. This process can sometimes take a month or more, so while it may be a quick read, the actual process should take a bit longer.
Let’s say I’m a new age gardener. I want to show people how to garden in a healthy way. But how do I do that?
First, I’m going to look at where my market is by searching Google, Facebook, Twitter Search, YouTube and niche specific forums to discover and investigate my target audience. LinkedIn would also be an amazing source of information as I can get involved in groups and the Q&A section.
I’m then going to look at competitor’s websites and social networks to see what’s working and what’s not. I’m going to get involved in their networks, and maybe even contact your target market directly to get the answers that you need (asking never hurt anyone!).
Through my experience with interacting with my target market and my competitors, it’s beginning to give me a clear picture of how I can be different while informative. I’m beginning to determine which questions need to be answered, what holes need to be filled, how to fill the gap (if there is any) of engagement and so on.
Once I’ve done my market research, process of elimination and analyzing what I want to do with my business in order to best benefit myself and others, I’ve decided to utilize these four platforms:
YouTube: I’m going to post weekly videos showing off a certain gardening technique, certain plants, chemical reviews, showing off the best mulch, explaining how to utilize each plant in a meal, etc.
Facebook: I’m going to start a Facebook page where I’ll post my videos, ask and answer questions that people have about gardening healthy, and share other useful information that I find from my colleagues.
Flickr: I’m going to post up pictures of completed meals where I’ve used the plants that I’ve grown, pictures of the stages of the each plant growth, screen shots from my videos to entice people to watch the full video,
Blog: I’m going to post up recipe’s using the plants that I grow, I’m going to post the videos in a blog post along with a little blurb so it gets some more exposure and I’m going to post up techniques, tips, tricks and explanations as to the best healthy gardening and why it’s great for anyone.
As you can see, the main driving force of all these platforms, are the videos. The videos on YouTube will drive all the other information on the other networks. I have decided that by posting videos and making YouTube my primary source of traffic, everything else will help solidify the entire strategy.
With all these platforms, I’m not going to forget to engage with others through out the platforms that I’ve chosen.
For example, I’m going to go to other YouTube channels that deal with healthy living and watch, comment & like their videos. I’m going to go to other Facebook pages and get involved in the conversations as my Facebook page. I’m going to find other gardening pictures on Flickr and comment, maybe even start a Flickr group so that we can compile the best healthy eating pictures. And lastly, get involved with other healthy eating and gardening blogs by commenting and guest posting.
So, that’s the process that I’ve gone through in order to decide which platforms are right for me and to determine how much work is going to have to be put into each platform in order for it to be a success. If anything sounds like too much, then I’ll simply put one on the back burner until I get a larger audience.
There may not be a ‘one size fits all’ social media strategy, but with each platform, comes the various different ways, and people, in which that platform can share your unique and awesome content with the world.
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Morgan Barnhart is an entrepreneur and responsible for SociableBoost, a social media marketing consultancy in San Antonio, Texas. The Eugene, Ore., native also has a background in voice over acting and producing and has been developing websites for 12 years.