Startup business owners are full of energy and enthusiasm. This is great, it keeps you motivated and helps you conquer any problems with ease. On the downside, you may find yourself spending too much time on the wrong things.
For me, it was Facebook. My first business was a gift company. Instead of focusing on corporate customers I ploughed most of my online marketing time into Facebook. Although I made direct sales to consumers the business community eluded me. Of course I was spending my time in the wrong place. I should have been building valuable contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter.
To ensure you don’t make the same mistakes as me you should spend some time evaluating the networks that will work best for you. Here’s how:
Know your customer
No matter what you are doing in business getting to know your customer is crucial. The better you can define them the more successful your marketing, both online and offline will be.
If your customer encompasses different types of people you will need to define each one separately. Once you have a better idea of your customer you will be able to tailor content for them.
Spend some time creating buyer personas. These will serve you well both for deciding which networks to use and for creating content that will appeal to them.
Find your customers online
Now you have defined your customer you will need to find out which online spaces they inhabit. Are they Facebookers? If so do they Like pages or do they just use it personally? Do they have Twitter accounts? Do they Tweet or just consume information? Do they have LinkedIn profiles? If so are they kept up to date?
Your first step is to ask existing customers which channels they use. You can survey them or ask them when you speak to them.
If you have customer email addresses you can use these to search for them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Keep a note of how many are using each network.
Learning about your audience on Facebook
Facebook has a neat little tool for finding out more about Facebook users. Audience insights found in the Ad Manager interface analyses the behaviour of groups of people on Facebook. You can narrow your selection by adding interests and other demographics.
Your ideal audience is one that uses Facebook and interacts with a lot of pages, posts and ads.
Learning about your audience on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s advanced search tool helps you discover users with specific skills and job descriptions. You can narrow your search by location, connection to you and more. Premium LinkedIn users have access to more specific search tools. It’s worth upgrading for a trial period to access these.
Learning about your audience on Twitter
Twitter search can help you find users who Tweet about your industry or competitors. You can search Tweets and profiles to find people who fit your customer profiles.
Followerwonk is a free third party tool that can help you narrow your search further. It helps you find Twitter profiles that include keywords. It also gives you statistics on their follower count and social authority.
Now you have found your customer online it’s time to plan how to reach out to them and create content that will draw them in.