social-media-400854_640So many people are using social networks that it simply boggles the mind.  At the most recent count, 1.49 billion people are active users on Facebook.  That is more than the population of China or India. Are you boggled yet?  The latest Pew Research data shows that 28% of online adults use Pinterest, 26% use Instagram and 23% use Twitter. And the numbers just keep growing. Truly the world is changing. So why should you care?  Well, it could mean a lot more sales if you set goals, create a strategy and do the hard task of being social.

Post, Pin or Tweet?

Should you be posting, pinning or tweeting? Well, that depends on where your potential customer is socializing. You need to know the demographic of your perfect customer so you know where to put your effort.  If you sell mostly to the over 60 crowd you probably won’t spend time on Instagram, but if your best customers are twenty-something that may be just the place for your business. Not every platform fits every business, but once you know where your customers are gathering, begin there.

Over 30% of your customers 65 and older use Facebook. Many of you already know about posting on Facebook because I see you there! Marketing on FB is all about sharing photos, posting quotes, linking to your blog or other articles that are relevant to your customers.

Women with higher levels of disposable income dominate Pinterest. This is a place where people ‘pin’ pictures they find on other people’s (or their own) websites.  Mostly products, crafts, rooms, houses, art and landscapes.  Anything that is creative, pretty or can be a do-it-yourself (DIY) project is found on Pinterest.  You want to see a particular Sherwin Williams color on the walls of a real room, ideas for a quilt pattern, a kid’s project, or a new collection of jewelry…it is all there with images.

Over half of online young adults, ages 18-29, are using Instagram. Instagram, as I see it, is simply a giant photo collage that the whole world is creating. It is separated into topics that are identified by a hashtag name (#).  I am sure if you go on Instagram and search for anything, you will find it.  The other thing unique to Instagram is that photos can only be uploaded from your phone. What a wonderful mobile world!

Twitter followers are of all races and ages, have higher than average incomes and are more likely to follow your brand than Facebook users. Twitter has always been a mystery to me. As a writer, 140 characters (about 20-25 words) does not seem like enough letters and spaces to carry on a meaningful conversation. I also cannot get used to talking in acronyms.  I guess I should think of lol, btw, b/c and b4 as part of a new language and become inspired to Tweet. Maybe I am just afraid I will forget how to spell or begin Tweeting out loud.

Content Strategy

Social media is, well, social. It is way more than simply pushing pictures of your business and products. There is a rule of social engagement that says for every one business post you make, you must create five other posts that help, entertain or educate your customers.

Your goal is to engage people. Start a conversation. Ask questions. Answer questions.  Make them like you, trust you and want to buy from you.  If you are restaurant owner ask your audience what their favorite dessert is–then go make it and invite them over.  A gift store can ask who is the hardest family member to buy a gift for and then create a helper’s guide to shopping for ‘that person.’  Let them know you care about what they want.

Make your content valuable to your customers. If you sell flowers assume you are talking to people who love flowers and share the best tips on growing, cutting, saving or decorating with flowers. Create a strategy that makes you the go-to person in your market, so you can gather an audience that trusts you and wants to do business with you.

There is a bit to learn if you want to effectively market your business with social media.  You can find free social media training links on our Resources page when you are ready to jump into the social fray.

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