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How to develop a Social Media Strategy across the big four networks

Now that Google+ has reached 20 million users, in order to stay in the social media game you’ll have four services to keep track of. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious big dogs. LinkedIn, the business social network, has been increasing in popularity and importance. With a huge number of initial sign-ups and very positive press, Google+ doesn’t seem to be going away. Most speculate that once more people start using big G’s new network and business pages are integrated, even more growth can be expected.

So how do you manage having a presence on four different social networks? There is no universally correct way. Everyone should develop their own strategy. To help find how others created theirs, I surveyed a group of marketers in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. All of them have a strong presence on multiple social networks. The survey asked which of the big four networks they use, what their strategy was, and what impact, if any, Google+ has had.

With these tips you can develop a social media strategy that works for you and effecively targets your audience of followers.

Facebook

Facebook Usage

Facebook Usage

With over a quarter-billion users, Facebook is the largest social network. One main difference from Twitter and Google+ is that, for both these networks people have to agree to follow each other in order to “become friends.” This fosters a more personal experience. Users tend to know each other before becoming friends.

The usage chart indicates how people surveyed use Facebook. Personal usage is on the far left in darker colors while Networking and Work is lighter and to the right. This same format is used to show usage for the other social networks. As you can see, most use Facebook for personal, family, and entertainment.

“…when I share things that are more personal or family oriented I sometimes go straight to Facebook.”

“Facebook is more oriented toward keeping up with friends and family relationships.”

“I use Facebook to post more about what I am doing and who I am doing it with.”

Twitter

Twitter usage

Twitter Usage

Twitter is a mixed bag of sorts. Usage is spread fairly evenly except for family use. Twitter is the service that tends to “stay out of the way.” They provide a method for you to share 140 characters of thoughts or links with others. The rest is up to you. Even though it is a very simple, limited interface, people often find it the most confusing. Regular users often have found specific ways Twitter can deliver custom news or information to them.

“…I use it as an aggregator of news or stories from reporters/networks I enjoy, bloggers I read, music news I care about…”

“Twitter is just for fun – mostly just follow/tweet my hobbies.”

“(Twitter) has really allowed me to build my personal brand…”

“I often cross post from Twitter.”

People tend to find their own personal use for Twitter. Often times other services feed into Twitter so they may have personal and work topics in the same stream.

LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn Usage

LinkedIn promotes itself as the professional social network. Its more about creating a network of business associates. People you’ve done work for, companies you’ve worked at. Content can be shared but tends to be more focused to business news or the users related industry. You can see from the usage chart that there is a heavy lean towards networking and work.

“LinkedIn is only about professional networking…”

“I’m not posting entertainment stuff on LinkedIn…”

“I use (LinkedIn) for the forums and to keep a professional network. I rarely find the feed interesting but will regularly use it to see who is reading my profile and to have professional contacts…”

Besides being marketed towards professionals, LinkedIn does not allow you to share photos. One major reason it will always lean towards the work and not personal side of the usage chart.

Google+

 

Google+ Usage

Do a a Google Search and you will find dozens of reviews for Google+. It combines many features from each of the other big three. So how are people using it? How should you use it?

“Try not to post the same things on each network. Google+ is the only one that may cross that line…”

“Basically it is a good middle ground between Facebook and Twitter for me.”

“…with Circles I can be more precise in who I share with and really tailor content to that group.”

“I think I’ll enjoy it more when I start following the Twitter audience, bloggers, news, companies.”

“Google+ appears to be a composite of the major social media approaches.”

Finding Your Strategy

Your strategy needs to be your personal strategy. Many of those surveyed spoke on tailoring content to your audience. Keep track of who is following you and determine what would interest them.

“Create and build a personal brand through sharing content that is relevant to the audience, while still keeping one main thing in mind: BEING SOCIAL.”

This quote brings up another important point. Be yourself. You can turn off your followers if all you are posting “seven ways to…” or “top five reasons to…” links. Engage your audience. Respond to them. Let them see who you really are while still staying with in the boundaries of the specific social network.

“Be myself and always be transparent. Also, have fun with it!”

“I definitely think transparency is important, but that doesn’t mean post everything all the time. It just means to be aware of conflicting view points and to not get trapped in an echo chamber of similar content and people. This also allows for more interaction, and much more interesting discussion and connections.

So get out there, post, share, and have fun developing your personal social media strategy.

 

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About Eric Wortman

Eric Wortman is a PPC analyst at Pure Visibility. He specializes in ads for Search, Social, Mobile, as well as Local SEO. Eric is founding co-chair of SEMPO Michigan and an experienced speaker. He lives in sunny downtown Ann Arbor and is good at soccer, excellent on Facebook, and horrible at photography. You can find him on Google+.

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