How Much Social Media Is Too Much For Your Business

28/04/2016 3:02 PM AEST | Updated 03/08/2016 12:28 AM AEST
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St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

Business owners have enough to worry about without having to add the extra stress of social media networks, yet it's a necessary 'evil' they need to utilise if they're going to keep up with the pack.

But how much social media is too much? Do you really need Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn if you're an accountant? Is Instagram all you need if you're a chef?

Social media strategist and community builder Debra Sinclair from Liquid Mango advises business people to take a step back and work out who your market or social media audience is.

"It can be very stressful and overwhelming because there are so many different social networks. Businesses feel they have to keep up with everyone else and constantly check networks. But my tip for business is to stop and focus on understanding who your target market is, then use the networks that they are using," Sinclair said.

"Once you know who your target audience is and how they like to communicate, then you can go out and connect with them on those networks. It's much better for a business to be on one social network and do it really well than be active on all networks. Consistency is one of the most important things."

Sinclair told the Huffington Post Australia when it comes to social media, what's good for one business isn't necessarily good for another. If you're an accountant, it might better to have a LinkedIn or Facebook page instead of Snapchat and Twitter.

debra sinclair

Debra Sinclair from Liquid Mango. Picture Liquid Mango

"Instagram is great for businesses that are very visual. But it's also great for letting people look behind the scenes. If I was looking at two businesses and one had an Instagram account that showed me what they do day to day and helped me learn more about the business owner, I'd be more included to want to engage and do business with them. It's a brilliant way of letting people get to know you as a business owner and telling your brand story."

Sinclair said examples of businesses that are doing social media very well include Low Tox Life on Facebook, Commonwealth Bank Women in Focus on Facebook and Twitter and Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar on Facebook.

When it comes to marketing, it doesn't matter what business you're in, everybody is feeling social media pressure. Aside from your business, there's also your personal networks to maintain. Fleur Filmer from The Marketing Consulting Company told Huffpost Australia business is getting harder because technology is getting easier.

"It's also important to remember that social media companies are very clever, very cashed up and they have their own networks they can market and advertise to for free. So they're selling a service to us for a profit by telling us your business will fail if you don't jump on. There is so much pressure from the social media companies themselves," Filmer said.

Filmer believes many business owners grapple with the idea of who their target market is and that's why many are failing at social media.

fleur filmer

Fleur Filmer from TMCC. Picture Fleur Filmer

"I'd say most business owners have a shotgun approach to social media because they think they have to appeal to everybody. So instead of sorting out who their target market is, they grab at every fad and do it very poorly."

"My bottom line advice to any business owner is chose a maximum of two social media channels that you know your target market is engaged on every day. It might be Facebook and Twitter, or Instagram and LinkedIn. It might be YouTube and Facebook. Just choose two until you can employ a marketing person who can post across all your channels every day."

Fleur Filmer's Tips

Do's

Identify your target market. Who needs, loves and/or wants whatever it is that you sell or promote?

Identify the two social media channels your target market most use. Where do they hangout online?

Communicate to your market regularly within those two particular target markets. It is better to use fewer channels well than more channels poorly.

Analyse your social media results each month. Make sure the time you invest in social media creates results and sales for your business.

Don'ts

Don't use a shot gun approach to social media. Just because it's the latest fad, does not mean it is relevant to your target market.

Don't spend time on social media that does not create results in your business.

Don't create additional social media channels for your business unless you find yourself with additional resources (ie time and/or support).

Don't launch into any social media without a strategy behind achieving your desired outcomes and goals.

Debra Sinclair's Tips

Do's

Be proactive, start conversations and build relationships on social media. Engagement matters and it's critical for online success.

Add value and share your personal opinion in your area of expertise. It's the human side of your brand that will help you connect with others and build trust, credibility, influence and thought leadership.

Be consistent with your content and your engagement. Consistency is important for success.

Keep your brand top of mind when you're posting personally and professionally on social media. Once you share something on social media it's there for all to see.

Don'ts

Don't show too much of your personal life on your professional social media accounts. It's important for people to get to know the business owner behind the brand however before you post make sure what you're sharing is relevant and valuable to your target market. Have a strategy around this.

Don't start a conversation on social media and then never go back to the discussion. If you don't reply or engage with others it shows you don't really care about them. This can have a damaging effect on your reputation.

Don't share the same type of content over and over again because this can dilute your message and disengage your community. Mix up the type of content you use because everybody likes to receive information differently.

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