In 2008, some 20 million people were on Facebook. That number is now 400 million and growing. Social Media has added a whole new dimension to business to business and business to consumer communication. Its impact cannot be ignored. But is it right for your business?
For answers to these and other questions about Social Media, this article features two experts who specialize in this arena of branding and marketing. Andrew Jones is the CEO of New Media Fluent, a firm providing comprehensive services, including set-up, monitoring, and completely hands-off automation of Social Media for business development. Dave Nelsen, President of Dialog Consulting Group, is an award-winning entrepreneur and Social Media guide.
Why use Social Media?
Andrew – Social Media will help you remain relevant, maintain customer relations, reach new market segments, establish you as a force in your industry, and increase traffic and business for your company. Conversations about you are going on right now in Social Media. Don’t you want to be a part of them?
Dave – Social Media creates awareness, familiarity, and builds trust. It acccelerates learning on both sides so potential buyers can make better decisions about products and support.
Which is best for business contacts?
Andrew – For Business to Business, I recommend Linked In. 50% of users are business decision makers. Facebook and Twitter are where the majority of the general consuming populous is, so I recommend them for Business to Consumer.
Dave – It depends. For Business to Consumer, Facebook, though businesses should have Fans, not a Friends page. For B2B, a blog offers a narrow focus with more control. Blog posts are indexed by Google.
What kind of time should I expect to be spending on Social Media?
Andrew – If you just send Tweets and status updates, you can do that in 30-45 minutes a day, but you won’t see much from it. If you want to capitalize on the power of Social Media, you may want to consider hiring a firm to handle it. These firms approach your media efforts with strategy and purpose and ROI in mind, and allow you to do what you do well – run your business.
Dave – Choose the best Social Media for you and focus on those, doing one, maybe two. Keep messages brief. Connect only with those you know and trust. Spend no more than three hours a week. Check results. If they are good, keep it up.
How often should I post on each medium?
Andrew – Post often enough to keep people interested. Too much annoys people; too little, they forget about you. Blogs – update once or twice a week to keep people engaged once you have your followers established. Facebook and Linked In – three times a day is maximum, less is fine. Beware of updating Twitter more than once every couple of hours.
Dave – Blog – 1 to 2 times a month, Facebook – three times a week to daily with dynamic shorter posts. Tweets allow 140 characters with embedded links. Do not Tweet too many times a day. Linked In – 2 – 3 times a week.
How long should a blog post be?
Andrew – The length of a blog post depends on your industry. If you are in a business where people are typically very busy, keep it short, such as a paragraph or two. If you are in a heavy content industry, it may take as much as a page to convey the information you want to get across. Remember, though, that a good picture is worth a thousand words.
Dave – Consider your audience and what you want to get. 1000 words is meaty. To build brand, use keywords every time you post a blog or message. Send an email blast when you do a new post, with a brief paragraph and the word, “more” that links to the post.