Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tarleton Tip Thursday (#24): Choosing social networks for business & non-profits

Welcome to Tarleton Tip Thursdays where every week we help you harness the power of social media. Last week we discussed how to select your personal social networks. Today we'll talk about how to select social networks for your business or nonprofit organization.

1.  What kind of business or non-profit do you have?

Which dish are you?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
 Is it a business at all? Or is it a nonprofit? Can you afford Facebook ads, or do you have a "bare bones" budget?  What do you want from your audience--sales, word of mouth, fellow believers in your cause?

2.  Who is your potential audience?
Who is your audience?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Most people want as many people as possible ("Everyone!") as their potential audience members or consumers. But realistically, some people will be more interested in your product or cause than others.  Are you targeting "foodies"?  Athletes?  Parents?  College students? You may have multiple, overlapping categories.

3.  Where does your audience spend time online?
In social media, more is *not* always better.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, a combination? Facebook is probably a sure thing--at last count it had over 900 million users. Find out about other platforms by doing a little research.  The Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project is an excellent place to start.  If you have a younger audience, you might want to try Tumblr.  If you have a photography business, Flickr might be perfect, assuming you can protect your images. 

4.  What's in it for them?
Some audiences are tougher than others.
Personal image obtained with permission.
You also want to address the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) factor.  Why should people follow your page? Will they get discounts? Inside knowledge? Humor?

Check out the pages of companies you admire. What do they do differently? One hint: Try to find your unique voice.  Is your brand authoritative, reassuring, quirky, inspirational, practical? Get input from "fans."  Do surveys.  Give away prizes.  Pick a fun or interesting image just for the heck of it, or to start a discussion.  Remember,  you want to engage and connect with your potential customers. 

What do you think of these suggestions? Do you have any of your own? Please share them in the comments. Stay tuned for upcoming tips, where we'll discuss using analytics.

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