Welcome to Part 4 of the seven-part Pathway to Smart Social Mastery system series discussing how to use social media to create more leads and grow your influence as a thought leader. Here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
You can get even more information by watching the actual episodes of the Master Social Media to Create More Business Leads and Grow Your Influence video series on which these posts are based. Sign up HERE.
Choose Your Social Media Platform for Business
This particular post focuses on Stage 3: Architect, which is about identifying the best social media platforms to help you grow your audience and achieve your business goals.
Once you discover where your prospective clients hang out online, you can make an informed decision about where to best invest your time and energy.
Start by answering these four questions.
1. Where do my prospective clients search for business resources?
The resources they use might come from a variety of places, some online and some offline. Maybe it’s a particular social media platform, or maybe they simply use Google or another search engine. Alternatively, maybe they prefer using a traditional trade association they’re a member of, or attend select conferences every year.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to show up where they are most active. If it’s somewhere that has a physical and an online component, make a point of being seen at both. Also, make sure you start to follow and pay attention to who is interacting with any trade association social media sites and notice who is interacting and if one platform seems more active than other. Also, search for hashtags that are being used by your prospective clients to connect with people who use this hashtag (best for events and online communities).
2. What is the main way my prospective clients get their business?
You need to examine how the people and businesses you’re interested in working with obtain their own clients. And be sure to look carefully, because sometimes it’s not immediately obvious.
One of Zoetica Media’s clients, for example, is a hospital system. This hospital system hopes to entice patients from the local area to choose it over other nearby competitor hospitals. And the conduit to winning these patients is through the physicians who work there, because the physicians and their specialty and reputation are what ultimately bring in patients. So focusing on letting the community know about the quality and expertise of its medical professionals is how the hospital invests a considerable amount of its social media outreach efforts.
3. What platforms do my prospective clients use, both professionally and personally?
When identifying the platforms your prospects hang out on, there might be a tendency to focus on those they use for purely business purposes, such as LinkedIn. But don’t limit yourself. Take advantage of platforms they’re active on for purely personal reasons as well.
CEOs, for example, often use Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with extended family members and close friends. So even though they might not be using those platforms directly for business, getting their attention, perhaps through a targeted ad, can be a good attention-getter. It’s worth noting your ads don’t have to go for the sale, but instead can simply showcase your work or services and thereby serve as a type of introduction that gets them interested in you.
4. What kind of resources do my prospective clients have on hand?
Depending on who you’re trying to connect with, knowing the resources they have available to them is critical and might alter where you invest your time on social media. Knowing who the decision-makers are in a company or organization is also important.
If you have your eye set on mid-level executives, LinkedIn is likely a good choice. You’ll have a strong chance of interacting with them, if that’s the platform you’re concentrating on. But hoping to have a direct line of communication through someone’s profile doesn’t always lead to success. While CEOs are also heavily represented on LinkedIn, they may have an assistant managing their individual account. Corporate accounts, meanwhile, are often run by a social media or communications team member.
Do your research
Rather than playing a guessing game, rely on factual information when deciding what social media platform is best suited to growing your audience and connecting with clients.
A good starting point is the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Factsheet, which is updated periodically. It tracks things such as social media use among American adults and who specifically uses social media by age, race, gender, income, education, and urban, suburban, or rural setting.
Most importantly, it reveals which social media platforms are most commonly used among Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube,TikTok, Reddit, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and Nextdoor over a particular time period.
It also discusses the demographic breakdown of each platform. So, according to the latest Pew factsheet, LinkedIn, for example, is used by 31% of men and 26% of women, by 36% of those between the ages of 30-49 and 33% of those 60-64, by 50% of those earning more than 75K a year, and by 51% of people with a college degree.
Remember: The number of followers you have on social media doesn’t matter nearly as much as who follows you and who you're connected with.
If your followers are people who are part of your target market or have connections to those you’re trying to reach, that is ultimately worth more than a high follower count made up of individuals who have no intention of doing business with you. Having high-value relationships with 20 or fewer people is therefore much more valuable than having 10,000 followers.
Keep a lookout for the next installment in this series, Stage 4: Creator.