Social Media for Small Businesses
, and LinkedIn
all offer unique advantages, but sorting through the differences and benefits can become difficult for small businesses unfamiliar with the social networking sphere. Eric Yaverbaum
(Associate Publisher and Co-Founder of social media online magazines FB & Business
, Tweeting & Business
, LI & Business
, Big G & Business
) agreed to answer a few question for SocialTechPop about how to choose which network to use and why they’re important.
Are small businesses using social media to their full advantage? If not, is it a fault of overlooking the benefits or a lack of know-how?
Small business is slowly but very surely beginning to use social media. The low hard dollar cost to entry is very appealing, although what many businesses are finding is that social media does involve a major investment in time. Nevertheless, during these difficult economic times they are probably the fastest growing sector of businesses becoming interested.
There is an awful lot of both "overlooking the benefits" (if done right) and of "lack of know-how." The more case studies regarding the successful application of social media, the more interested small businesses have become. As far as the "lack of know-how," what many small businesses are finding is that success, in this very rapidly changing landscape, has more to do with trying than it does with learning what worked yesterday.
How important is it to use multiple social media sites?
It’s vital. No one knows for sure which social media platforms will be here tomorrow and which will end up like MySpace. The best advice I can give anyone trying out social media is to not only get involved in as many platforms as possible, but integrate them together where it makes sense. As an example, your twitter account can be fed directly to LinkedIn and Facebook. That’s just one of the hundreds of ways you can multi-purpose everything you do across the platforms.
What are some of the differences between social media campaigns that succeed and those that fail?
Successful social media campaigns used to be anything viral. In the good old days of only five years ago, most of what went viral was sophomoric humor, and the more eyeballs the better. I’d say that people who thought that was the only metric likely also believe that any press is good press. Social media success comes when you speak to a very large group of people who are interested in what you’re talking to them about and can engage with the topic. Just like some people get up and go to the fridge during a good Superbowl commercial, now they just don’t click to see more or enter the conversation.
Social media has come a long way in a short period of time. Now, success is generally a transparent dialog with people who are genuinely interested in the information being shared. A successful social media campaign will and can engage tens of thousands of people, even millions. It will stretch across multiple platforms from Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn to Google. The metrics for success can vary, but generally they can be measured just like always at the "cash register."
What advice do you have for businesses just starting up their Google+ accounts? Are the marketing strategies the same as for other social media sites?
Google+ is unique in that you can put different interested parties in different circles. That means that, unlike Facebook, where absolutely all of your friends basically access the same information, you can speak in one language to one group and in another to other groups. And you should!
I strongly suggest that you personally spend time with both. There are an awful lot of uneducated brands, companies and clients taking advice in an environment from relatively untested, unchallenged, rapidly moving directionally-challenged advisers and adjustments at warp speed. Slow down for a second, everyone. You just have to give the technology and a new way of communicating a real test drive yourself before making any great declarations about what is and isn’t "right." Of all the social mediums out there today, while growing at rates you’d have to take notice to, Google+ is less than one year old. Kick the tires. You’ll still be considered an early adapter if you join tomorrow.
There is an enormous amount of "me too" Facebook repurposing on Google+ with the one big difference of "circles." The question is, which circle should you put each of your "friends" and "contacts" in? And once you have that done, how do you speak to each of your different circles? While this clearly gives you the ability to target more directly and not use a one size fits all approach, well…it takes more time. And yes, time is precious. With the advent of each new real player, which Google+ is, there’s even more time needed!
How is Google+ beginning to surpass Facebook in regards to business? What advantages does it offer over other social media sites?
Not that long ago, MySpace and Facebook were almost neck in neck for where to go, where to spend your time. I would say that while some are saying that: 1) Google+ is "beginning" to surpass Facebook and 2) It’s Google. Facebook is big for sure. Google is bigger. So it seems like if anyone has a shot to knock Facebook off its perch high atop the mountain, Google would be it. But even with internet warp speed growth and a hunger for more, faster and better, I think we’re going to have to wait just a little longer to see who is worth betting the farm on. And with enough real contenders, all popular with large and growing participants, we’re all going to run out of time! We can’t be everywhere and neither can the information providers, experts and platforms we all want to connect on. I believe we will need to wait another 18 months to see just how much traction Google+ has, Facebook’s staying power, and if there is plenty of room for both.