Choosing the Right Social Media Networks

Apr 08, 2009 9:11 PM  By

More than 30 million baby boomers now connect on LinkedIn, and even more are on Twitter. And it doesn’t stop there. According to recent data from Inside Facebook, the number of U.S. Facebook users over age 35 doubled in 60 days–and is still on the rise.

No longer dominated by tweens, social media is a viable channel to market to business and family decision makers. And that means long gone are the days when you could just optimize your Website content and create meta tags and expect serious results from the Internet.

You need to get involved in social media and optimize your entire online presence. Before you begin, though, you must understand where your target audience resides online.

With the many options available to companies in the social media realm, it’s important to first learn about your audience. Where are they most likely to be engaging in social media?

Today it’s no longer enough, or even smart, to post a profile to MySpace and Facebook just because those are popular, and call that good. Your audience may be on Facebook or MySpace, or maybe it’s LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter or something else entirely. Do a search to see where your brand is being talked about.

How? You can do this directly from a major search engine or by using the search capabilities the social media outlets provide. For example, you can search twitter using http://www.search.twitter.com. And a great way to view your brand’s social media presence is to use PR Metrics.

Is your company being discussed on any of the social media sites? If it is, you need to be there engaging in the conversation.

Coca-Cola is a great example of this. Did you know the Coca-Cola business page wasn’t actually set up or controlled by Coca-Cola? Two of its fans actually got there first.

But instead of getting angry about it, Coke used this to its advantage. It embraced its fans, inviting them to talk to them personally.

Think of the insight Coca-Cola gleamed from this meeting! And today, Coke has the second highest number of fans on Facebook for its corporate page–topped only by Barack Obama.

Can’t find any mentions of your company? Don’t panic. That means you have the unique ability to start the conversation—the way you want to start it.

But don’t wait. Get involved now and start talking about your company positively in social media channels.

While there are plenty of resources that can help you learn about social media, the best way to learn is to simply get involved.

Do some research on your audience, and then cautiously jump in. But please, before you do, make sure you have the time and resources available to devote to social media. Once you get the conversation going, it can be detrimental to stop.

Lisa Wehr is CEO/founder of digital marketing agency OneupWeb.