"Should I be on every social media site?"
Hands down, this is one of the most common questions I hear from new clients that are just getting started on social media, and developing a presence online.
The short answer? No.
The truth is you do not need to be on every. single. social. media. site. You just don't. Things have changed so much.
In fact, unless you are AMAZING at it, ie: you get incredible engagement, you're a natural with mobile photos, you're not clocking hours on a Facebook k-hole, etc. you're doing yourself a disservice by being on every single site.
BUT. Every business is different, and one social media strategy may not be suited for the next artist, maker, or retailer.
Facebook Brand Pages, Facebook Personal Pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. And those are just the most popular sites! So where to begin?
Before you sign up for and dive into any of the above, it's important to figure out which sites are best suited for your brand. Ask yourself these questions:
Where are your people at? This is an important question to ask. Where is your community? Where is your competition? What are they doing? Who are you selling to? And make no mistake -- if you are a brand, social media is all about selling. Where is your demographic and where is your industry online? For me, my contemporaries are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and their blogs.
What is the product you're trying to sell? Another vital question! Are you selling a product? Are you selling a service? How will you package your content that you'll be sharing? Will images on Instagram and Pinterest be easy to style? Products are wonderful for these platforms. Is text a big aspect of your content - such as blog posts or products? Than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are something to explore.
Are you looking to drive traffic back to a source, or is it strictly brand reach? Or both?Instagram doesn't make it as easy to drive traffic like some of the other sites. Your community has to do a little extra work, a few extra click-click clicks to get back to your content. Whereas Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, et al allow links and images to entice those clicks. However, if you do a good enough job on Instagram, that could be your bread and butter -- I've seen many brands and individuals create their entire social business through the photo sharing app.
What social site(s) make the most sense for my brand? This question is the catch all for all of the above questions. Not only do you have to figure out where you should be, you have to figure out why you are there. This answer is different for different brands. Look to your competition and those you admire on social -- where are they, what are they doing? Take a page from their book, and write your own novel!
For some brands and individuals the answers to these questions take some figuring out, which takes trial and error. Contrary to what the Internet would have you believe these things rarely happen over night.
As I mentioned above, a great place to begin is to start looking towards your contemporaries. Who is on what channel? How are they utilizing it? What is their engagement like? I always ask my clients: who do you admire online? Who are you watching? Then we go from there, and build out a strategy.
If you are an artist, a gallery, a museum, or a retailer Instagram is a great place to start, as is Pinterest. Because they are so visual. But I have clients who have tried Pinterest and found it wasn't their demographic, Tumblr was where it was at for them. I have other clients who are just on Facebook and Twitter.
And then there's me. I use this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn for my business. I discovered where I needed to be through trial and error. I have found Twitter is an awesome place for my content and my mission. Instagram? Not a great place for my business content. But because I love it so much I use it for brand reach. (i.e. I share things that compliment my business's overall mission: I work with creatives to tell their story online so I share things I make, thoughts I have about my business, art shows I go to, etc.)
So before you dive in and sign up for every single social media site. Sit down and ask yourself the above questions. Outline your goals. Do some research. Be honest with yourself about your time, and your expectations. But by all means do not let fear factor into it! Start small, and build slowly. Social media takes time, energy, and strategy. You can do it!