Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Adrienne Brown, @adriennejmedia. Adrienne is the Chief Digital Strategist of Adrienne J Media, a Digital Marketing agency located in Atlanta, Georgia. She has 13+ years of marketing and advertising experience and has worked with brands like African Ancestry, National Black Arts Festival and the Keisha Lance Bottoms for Mayor Campaign. Adrienne has a passion for all things digital and for helping fellow small businesses succeed. Learn more at www.adriennejmedia.com
SmallBizLady: Why is it important for my business to use social media?
Adrienne Brown: Social media networks, with 3.2 billion daily users globally, has proven to be an important online destination for consumers. Your current and future customers currently use social networks as a resource and entertainment within their daily lives. If you want to reach your customer in an environment where they are active and engaged, having a presence on the right social network is key.
SmallBizLady: Should I have a profile on every social network?
Adrienne Brown: The large number of consumers using social networks is a great opportunity for small businesses. It provides extraordinary access to potential customers. However, to maximize your efforts, it’s important to identify specific networks that will be the most effective at communicating your message to your audience.
SmallBizLady: As a small business owner, my plate is already full. Is this really necessary?
Adrienne Brown: When you take into account your current business operations, determining which network(s) fit into your mix, and which do not, saves you time, which can positively affect your bottom line. At the end of the day, it’s in your business’s best interest to be strategic about where you allocate resources and where you do not.
SmallBizLady: Where should small businesses start when selecting a social network?
Adrienne Brown: Start by identifying your ideal customer. Pinpoint their age, sex, online behaviors, and interests. These details will allow you to select network(s) based on the known demographics its most active users. If you are unaware of the type of people that typically use each social network, a quick Google search will lead you to a wealth of information.
SmallBizLady: I’ve identified several networks that reach my ideal customer. How do I narrow down my decision?
Adrienne Brown: Ask yourself a series of questions. Does your ideal client actively use this network? Are your competitors using this network? Do you have the resources available (time and/or budget) to add this network to your social media efforts? What are the benefits of using the network? What are the disadvantages of not using the network?
Analyzing your answers to these questions will allow you to single out the network(s) that reach your ideal client and fits into your business practices.
SmallBizLady: Am I missing out on an opportunity for my business if I don’t join a new social network when it launches?
Adrienne Brown: Before you jump on the bandwagon of a new social network, or one that has become more popular, it’s important for you to weigh the pros and cons. Does it fit into your current social media strategy? Do current users match your ideal client demographic? I highly suggest analyzing the network’s adoption rate and users before joining.
SmallBizLady: I’ve heard that Facebook & Twitter are dying. Should I still use those social networks for my business?
Adrienne Brown: Although consumers are using a wider variety of social networks, it doesn’t mean the more traditional platforms, like Facebook & Twitter, no longer have a seat at the table. Transparently, social media users are spending less time on these platforms. However, their decrease in time does not mean they are less important. What it does mean is that the content small businesses produce must be compelling to attract their audience’s attention.
SmallBizLady: How do small businesses determine if they’re using a social network successfully?
Adrienne Brown: Increasing brand awareness and audience engagement should be the most important objective for small businesses. Closely monitor each social network’s performance month over month. If you notice increases in following, engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.) and actions (clicks to your website and/or content), then the approach you are taking for that network can be deemed successful.
SmallBizLady: In addition to increasing awareness, are there other ways to use social media networks to improve business?
Adrienne Brown: While social media has been historically used to drive awareness and engagement, it has become much more than just a marketing channel. For some businesses, social media networks also serve as a sales channel, customer service, even human resources. To that point, it is important to identify the correct networks for how you plan to use social media for your business
SmallBizLady: Is there anything small businesses should know about competition across social media?
Adrienne Brown: A consistent presence coupled with compelling content, across the appropriate network(s), can help position your business above the competition. In Hootsuite’s 2018 Social Media Barometer Global Report, 87% of organizations “recognize the need to maintain a presence on social media in order to stay competitive.”
SmallBizLady: What would you consider the most important benefit of using social media networks?
Adrienne Brown: Carefully monitoring your social media performance can provide important details about the interests and preference of your customers. This information allows you to develop a deeper understanding of your customer and the ability to reach them on a more personal level.
SmallBizLady: Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?
Adrienne Brown: As a fellow small business owner, I completely understand the attractiveness of implementing a “spray and pray” method when joining social media networks. However, if you take the time to identify networks that match your audience and business practices, you will lay the groundwork for more effective, and possibly enjoyable, social media practices.
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