Using social media effectively means more than just posting status updates to different platforms in a scatter spray fashion. If you want to achieve social media success, you need to reach the right people at the right time.
This means that you, or your social media agency, need to understand which network attracts the demographics you’re interested in. Choose the wrong network and your efforts could fall flat, at best – or even damage your brand.
Friends, Colleagues and Fans – Who Goes Where?
The mark of a good social media agency is that it knows the importance of reaching the right people.
Getting your message in front of 1,000 interested prospects is far more valuable than pushing it out to hundreds of thousands of people that don’t even know what it is you’re selling, much less have any actual interest in it.
To reach the right people, you need to know where they hang out. Here’s an overview of the most popular social networks:
Facebook interactions are generally fairly personal ones. People use Facebook to talk to friends and family, and get updates on brands that they like; and don’t mind telling people that they like.
Most Facebook users are fairly young, and they’re not likely to friend their bosses, or follow companies that sell embarrassing products. Facebook pages are used as overt marketing tools quite frequently.
Facebook makes it fairly easy to reach people based on location, which makes it a powerful marketing tool for restaurants, gyms, and other businesses that serve a specific locality.
Twitter is popular for quick and informal conversation. Twitter users seem to fall into two categories – the people that post updates almost constantly, and use Twitter almost as an IM service.
The other people use Twitter as a makeshift RSS reader, following a handful of interesting people, and reading more than they post. Twitter is often used by brands as a way to watch for complaints, and answer small customer service issues.
Google+ is a rapidly growing social network which is used mostly by male geeks. Currently, the leading demographics are web developers, students, marketing professionals, and engineers.
It’s easy to share highly targeted blog posts on Google+, not to mention use of its trending topics to let your posts reach the whole world, not just to those who follow you and it’s a popular platform for asking and answering questions too.
LinkedIn is one of the few social networks that attracts more men than women. It also has a slightly older than average population, with most LinkedIn users being 35-44 years old.
LinkedIn is a network for professionals, and it’s best for B2B communications, headhunting, and job advertisements. Answering questions on LinkedIn is a good way to build your brand.
Next time you speak to your social media agency about running a campaign, ask them which networks they will target, and consider how those networks match up to your demographics.
Try to resist the urge to pad your marketing statistics by getting hundreds of thousands of MySpace fans if your target demographic is 40+ year-old male professionals.
The numbers might put a smile on your face, but they’d be a waste of time and money. Focus on genuine interactions instead.
About The Author: This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Boom Online Marketing. To find out how a social media agency can help your business, please visit Boom.