Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare, Yelp, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest and the newly relaunched myspace are just nine of more than a dozen social media choices for businesses to use as a means for connecting with consumers online. The number one question asked of my marketing firm is which one do I really need.
The truth is, it depends on a business’s online message and return-on-investment focus. Facebook remains the number one choice for most online users including business, but with recent security changes making it more challenging for businesses to connect with users, there are some other options out there. Google plus makes it easy with few restrictions to connect with others, but unlike Facebook it does not always suggest connections, while hi5 a newer social site has the least restrictions but less of a professional appearance.
More and more businesses are using the off-the-beaten path social media choices and finding higher success rates due to the lack of demand for high security measures like those on Facebook due primarily to lawsuits and user demand.
As a business, decide your brand’s focus. A restaurant for example should focus most on Instagram to showcase food presentation coupled with a listing and promotion on mobile applications such as Foursquare, Yelp and Urban Spoon which promote deals and coupons regularly. Urban Spoon is an absolute must, because users are able to search for the specific cuisine they are seeking.
Retail shops, hotels and travel associated businesses may wish to also purchase a listing on Priceline, Expedia or Booking Buddy, and retailers should promote through local tourist publications’ social media pages as well. Hearing about a deal from a tourist publication holds more weight just as an article featuring a business tends to catch consumers’ eyes more quickly.
Linkedin should be used primarily for business networking or job posting and searching, while Twitter is great for national or regional brands. A tweet is only active for between 10 and 20 minutes for a user and after that the user is unlikely to see the information, so I always focus clients’ social media campaigns on targeted platforms associated with their industry.
Every business should be listed on all social media, and use HootSuite, Buffer or other automated social media managers to send out messages across multiple platforms to keep it simple, concise and make your marketing efforts more successful. Do not forget that European visitors are major users of mobile check-in applications, so keep your profiles up to date.
Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at dreamflymarketing.com