Social Media Landscape

Fact – too many businesses still need to wake up and realize that social media is not “one of these Internet fads” that will disappear.

Fact – because of this mindset, too many businesses are potentially missing out on extra business that could mean the difference between staying afloat and going under. So why the problem?

One of the main reasons is that businesses – whether it’s the CEO, top-tier management or otherwise – are looking at social media as an individual medium, much like PR or marketing.

This is where the cracks start to appear. Social media benefits companies the most when it’s used as part of an integrated campaign.

Social media is also perfect for reaching out and connecting with your audience, as opposed to just selling them something. Sure, you’re still selling your brand or product – but this time, it’s in an “encouraging to ask questions” approach instead of “this is us and you’ll like it” one.

Accepting that social media needs to be approached as an integrated strategy rather than a standalone campaign is the first step businesses need to take. After that, the job gets a little bit easier.

Define Your Audience

Just like any market or product, social media is made up of different audiences. As a business owner, you wouldn’t launch a new product onto a more traditional marketplace without some in-depth market research first – don’t ignore this on social media.

Knowing your audience is key to succeeding in business social media. You need to know if your audience are participants or promoters. Why the need to differentiate? Simple -

  • Participants are social media users that may use numerous social media sites and applications, but don’t really “take part” in the medium. They’re like the visitors to your business website that may purchase something and then interact with you no further. There’s nothing wrong with this – but as a method of expanding your brand, you may need to look elsewhere.
  • Promoters are the users that like to share information – whether it’s recommending something via Twitter or their blog, if they come across something they like they will pass that information on. This is where your use of social media can help build your name. Just remember that social media works both ways. Don’t try and cheat the system – give back just as much (more, even) as you receive.

Have a Clear and Defined Goal

Another area where businesses are failing to adapt social media to their needs is that they don’t have a clear goal on what they want to achieve. Many hear the phrase “social media” and immediately feel they need to be a part of this buzz, jump straight in without any forward thinking, and are then disappointed with the (lack of) results.

Ask yourself who you want to connect with and why, and then research the areas of social media that are most relevant to your needs. Demographics are one of the key points of knowledge for any campaign – make sure you know where your demographics are playing online. A social map can help here.

Again, though, don’t try and play the system – cheaters will soon be found out, and your brand can suffer irreparable damage if seen as merely a self-promotional company on social media.

Tools of the Trade

Once you have your audience and your goal set out, you need to use the tools that will help you the most. There are numerous available, and this is where building your social media connections can help, by advising what ones they use and what results they achieve.

Some of the best free examples of business tools include Monitter (which allows you a view on Twitter discussions of keywords); Google Alerts (giving you insight into what’s being said about you); and Social Mention (letting you gauge social reactions and reach to your topic or keywords and allowing you to jump in on conversations elsewhere).

Getting into social media shouldn’t be a hard decision for businesses to make – it’s either right for you or it isn’t. Social media is a long-term strategy, not  a short-term fire sale.

Understand that, and you begin to understand social media.

Image: fredcavazza

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
74 comments
Leonard Evenson
Leonard Evenson

It seems that our whole future will happen around search engines, social media, and personal information converted into personalized ads. Some might say it is frightening and bad, but I think we have to go with the flow, and if this is the present and the future, we should make the best of it. I am also developing a business around this, with a lot of it based on webpages, plugins, and software to do the programming, accounting, SEO, <a href="http://www.monkeymonitor.com">monitor employee</a> performance, and many other reasons. We basically only have the need for 3 major things: internet, computers and electricity, and the rest relies on us, humans. Social media is the best place for internet marketing at the moment because it is like a forum where everyone passes through on a daily basis. It is just a question of how cleverly we use it. Thank you for your article and the information! Have a happy Christmas!

Bethany Brightmore
Bethany Brightmore

This is a great outline for businesses not using social media, or not using it to their advantage. I work for a digital & social media marketing company in Sydney called Tick Yes and we continuously blog about the importance of maintaining your online presence. We wrote a feature about common misconceptions about social media that's a great follow on from this- check it out. http://blog.tickyes.com/3-common-misconceptions-about-social-media/

Bethany Brightmore
Bethany Brightmore

This is a great outline for businesses not using social media, or not using it to their advantage. I work for a digital & social media marketing company in Sydney called Tick Yes and we continuously blog about the importance of maintaining your online presence. We wrote a feature about common misconceptions about social media that's a great follow on from this- check it out. http://blog.tickyes.com/3-common-misconceptions-about-social-media/

Warren
Warren

Hey Danny, another great tool that measures a company or brands online reach is heardable. They aren't as well known as I'd have thought (though I'm sure you've heard of them) but they have some great metrics available to measure a brands social media efforts.

Warren
Warren

Hey Danny, another great tool that measures a company or brands online reach is heardable. They aren't as well known as I'd have thought (though I'm sure you've heard of them) but they have some great metrics available to measure a brands social media efforts.

Danny
Danny

Part of me wonders of it's because of the name, Ari? Say social media to someone and they immediately (or very often) think the worst.

Yet if you were to say, "Business growth through media", their ears would perk up. So perhaps we need toa ddress it from a different vernacular?

Danny
Danny

Hey there Samantha,

You know the really ironic thing? Those same people that question it have been using social media for years without realizing it.

Email; customer feedback forms on sites; forums; they're all forms of social media. Like you say, they're just named differently. ;-)

All good here, thanks, looking forward (hopefully) to a snow-filled winter. Heading out to Vancouver early 2012, will definitely have to catch up!

San Diego SEO
San Diego SEO

There's still a faction of businesses that hasn't jumped the social media bandwagon? Not that it's a bandwagon though, but I feel like if a business doesn't see that social media is definitely a pertinent source of connection that would benefit them greatly, then they are clearly not seeing right.

San Diego SEO
San Diego SEO

There's still a faction of businesses that hasn't jumped the social media bandwagon? Not that it's a bandwagon though, but I feel like if a business doesn't see that social media is definitely a pertinent source of connection that would benefit them greatly, then they are clearly not seeing right.

Cesar
Cesar

Great post - You would be surprise how many business owners who truly believes that social media is not important to them or their business- Wish they all read this post.

Thanks

Cesar
Cesar

Great post - You would be surprise how many business owners who truly believes that social media is not important to them or their business- Wish they all read this post. Thanks

Cesar
Cesar

Great post - You would be surprise how many business owners who truly believes that social media is not important to them or their business- Wish they all read this post.

Thanks

MySocialMediaMentors.com
MySocialMediaMentors.com

Social Media really plays an important role in business. It's the best way to communicate with people that shares same interests and could help help you share and learn ideas online.

MySocialMediaMentors.com
MySocialMediaMentors.com

Social Media really plays an important role in business. It's the best way to communicate with people that shares same interests and could help help you share and learn ideas online.

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@andrewmatranga Cheers for the share, sir!

FvLegends
FvLegends

I'm Totally agree that knowing your audience is the key. I see a lot of businesses struggling with this but ones you know who you're talking to it becomes so much easier. Thanks for writing this article

FvLegends
FvLegends

I'm Totally agree that knowing your audience is the key. I see a lot of businesses struggling with this but ones you know who you're talking to it becomes so much easier. Thanks for writing this article

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at a private dinner of Boston-area Fortune 1000 C-level leaders and high-profile attorneys who gather every month at a different member's house to talk about society and culture and business ideas. I was asked to talk about social media. We sat on couches and I shared my knowledge, asking them questions along the way.

Nobody had a Twitter account. A few used Facebook because their grandkids asked. Some had LinkedIn accounts but only had a name up because they only used it to recommend others.

Some people grasped what I said. Many didn't understand.

One of the members in the group, someone who founded an ecommerce site about 15 years ago that he later sold for millions of dollars, argued with me because he believed social media was only a marketing channel and nothing else. I tried explaining ways it benefited HR, operations, and supply chain management, but he called me crazy.

Some people will never understand.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at a private dinner of Boston-area Fortune 1000 C-level leaders and high-profile attorneys who gather every month at a different member's house to talk about society and culture and business ideas. I was asked to talk about social media. We sat on couches and I shared my knowledge, asking them questions along the way. Nobody had a Twitter account. A few used Facebook because their grandkids asked. Some had LinkedIn accounts but only had a name up because they only used it to recommend others. Some people grasped what I said. Many didn't understand. One of the members in the group, someone who founded an ecommerce site about 15 years ago that he later sold for millions of dollars, argued with me because he believed social media was only a marketing channel and nothing else. I tried explaining ways it benefited HR, operations, and supply chain management, but he called me crazy. Some people will never understand.

Charlotte74
Charlotte74

Having a defined goal is important. Posting regularly is also important. That doesn't mean 3 times a day, t could be once a week, but keep that up regularly.

marccusters
marccusters

@PuzyrevMaxim Thank you for the RTs Maxim! Enjoy your day :-)

markaylward
markaylward

Hey Danny Nice distinction-social media as a part of an integrated strategy. I kind of take this for granted, but it clearly would benefit my approach to lay this out as a concept rather than talking about why "you should have a fan page". It's amazing how many small business owners are flat out ignoring social media. I think having teenagers is what clued me in so quickly :) Mark

markaylward
markaylward

Hey Danny

Nice distinction-social media as a part of an integrated strategy. I kind of take this for granted, but it clearly would benefit my approach to lay this out as a concept rather than talking about why "you should have a fan page". It's amazing how many small business owners are flat out ignoring social media. I think having teenagers is what clued me in so quickly :)

Mark

Mark Longbottom
Mark Longbottom

As ever a logical insight, being sociable is natural, technology to be effectively connected to those who matter to business is available. Real people use The Internet as a matter of daily life to interact, why then are some businesses considering it a fad, maybe because it means they have to change and be more flexible?Knowing who your target audience is as you say Danny vital, but for some businesses knwoing who they are should come first. With these tow criteria covered they will be able to narrow things down a little more.

Mark Longbottom
Mark Longbottom

As ever a logical insight, being sociable is natural, technology to be effectively connected to those who matter to business is available. Real people use The Internet as a matter of daily life to interact, why then are some businesses considering it a fad, maybe because it means they have to change and be more flexible?Knowing who your target audience is as you say Danny vital, but for some businesses knwoing who they are should come first. With these tow criteria covered they will be able to narrow things down a little more.

gripsocial
gripsocial

Totally agree that knowing your audience is the key. I see a lot of businesses struggling with this but ones you know who you're talking to it becomes so much easier.

gripsocial
gripsocial

Totally agree that knowing your audience is the key. I see a lot of businesses struggling with this but ones you know who you're talking to it becomes so much easier.

samtaracollier
samtaracollier

Excellent post Danny. I'm so fed up with explaining why social media is important as part of an overall business strategy. It's here to stay dammit! It's traditional marketing packaged differently. I'm happy to see more and more businesses seeing it this way. Haven't talked to you in awhile! Hope you're doing well :) We were supposed to get snow in Vancouver but we didn't end up getting any where I live. Boo.

HowieSPM
HowieSPM

I can understand a brand or Business not wanting/needing a Facebook page or to run social media marketing campaigns because their other spend is more measurable and successful. I can see in some areas maybe the investment is higher elsewhere and the CFO will always balance investments to garner the highest return on them hopefully for long and short term. But there are no excuses for some of the stuff I see. Just one silly example. Like the really nice Bloomberg News Android App. It has no share button. I can't tweet articles. You are a new org. You make money from your website and your print issue. Wouldn't the simple ability for me and others to Tweet and share like the little line up to the left here make sense for minimal investment? How will you know if it gives a 0.01% boost in traffic or 5% boost until to test it out?

Danny
Danny

Hey there Warren, The name does ring a bell, just can't place it - but will definitely check it out, cheers sir!

Danny
Danny

Hey there Warren,

The name does ring a bell, just can't place it - but will definitely check it out, cheers sir!

Mark Longbottom
Mark Longbottom

@Ari Herzog Crazy Ari to even want to take the human race back to communicating together effectively and for the benefit of each other in being able to add and find value together as opposed to being competitive. People need to go forward together it's the only way generations to come will have somewhere to call home :)

Danny
Danny

Part of me wonders of it's because of the name, Ari? Say social media to someone and they immediately (or very often) think the worst. Yet if you were to say, "Business growth through media", their ears would perk up. So perhaps we need toa ddress it from a different vernacular?

Mark Longbottom
Mark Longbottom

@Ari Herzog Crazy Ari to even want to take the human race back to communicating together effectively and for the benefit of each other in being able to add and find value together as opposed to being competitive. People need to go forward together it's the only way generations to come will have somewhere to call home :)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@markaylward Hey there Mark, It's usually one or the other, isn't it? Either "we need to be everywhere', or "we don't need to do this". Neither are usually right - but try telling businesses that... ;-)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@Mark Longbottom Email used to be called a fad. Then mobile phones. There's always a fad, mate - yet usually they're still around being talked about by the very folks that called them a fad. Funny how that works. ;-)

Danny
Danny

Hey there Samantha, You know the really ironic thing? Those same people that question it have been using social media for years without realizing it. Email; customer feedback forms on sites; forums; they're all forms of social media. Like you say, they're just named differently. ;-) All good here, thanks, looking forward (hopefully) to a snow-filled winter. Heading out to Vancouver early 2012, will definitely have to catch up!

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

@HowieSPM I can't recall which site it is now, but there's one that's dedicated to bringing social media news to the masses - and has one simple Facebook Share option, nothing else. Um... ;-)

HowieSPM
HowieSPM

@DannyBrown always wondered about that.....surprised @ginidietrich doesn't at least have another button for Friendster or Tagged.

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