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Which Gang Do I Join?

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Confused ManI admit it!  I tried to ignore everything social media for a long time.  I decided if I ignored it long enough it would likely go away - NOT SO.  Not only did the big two not disappear like a bad dream, they are more prevalent factors than ever in deciding what a company's online marketing strategy should be to make the most effective impact on their target audience.  Being from the Midwest, 18 to 24 months ago, I viewed a company online presence as a three-legged stool - Facebook, Twitter, as well as a drop-dead gorgeous website.  Now, depending on the business you are in, the stool begins to closely resemble a poly-legged monster.  With the advent of the up-and-coming social media sites, "How can you make an effective choice?"  Where does a small business spend its limited budget and time to get the biggest bang for its buck?  Also, to add another factor into your strategy decision process is answering the question, "How to I address smartphone and tablets?"  Here at C2C over the last 12 - 18 months we have seen the traffic take a dramatic shift to the mobile side of the formula.

On average our sites are serving 20 - 30 percent mobile traffic now.  We have a small handful of sites where the mobile traffic is running over 40 percent.  The traditional desktop traffic is not going away anytime soon, but site visitors are now clearly using whatever device they happen to have close by.  It is VERY difficult to make a rational case for NOT properly serving all your device public.  You could argue that the full desktop version of your site is just fine for a tablet user.  Maybe; maybe not.  However; don't even think about letting yourself believe the same is true for the smartphone folks.  If you don't have a smartphone, do not pass go, do not collect $200 until you find a way to view your site using one.  You will find that your site has pretty close to zero usability and appeal.  Unless you have the eyes of a eagle, and the ability to hit nearly invisible buttons and links, you will agree.  Now; consider the fact you may be showing that to an ever-increasing share of your visitors.  You get my point.  In reality the answer to my rhetorical question that titles this article is, "It depends, but certainly not NONE, and most definitely not ALL of the sites with which you can sign-up."

If you created a social media presence on all the sites popping up all most daily, you will not have time left to run your real business.  Soon; the majority of your accounts will be dormant and that is worse than no account at all.  It will and does send a very bad message to your customers and prospects.  My advice is as follows.

√  Choose a social media presence that fits with your business

For example, is your business related to time-sensitive, time-dependent offers or services?  Do you often run discount programs or product specials?  It is well known that people respond to a sense of urgency.  I need to do this now or I will miss out.  If you do, then making the effort to develop a following on Twitter or some of the other instant communication methods might be worth your time.

√  Blend your social media efforts with your website

Remember social media has no ability to sell products or services, your company website is for selling.  Use your social media tools to drive traffic to your website.  Use social media to make known what is available on your website, but do not use it to attempt to sell.  That is one of the biggest mis-uses of social media that we see.

√  Keep all your content no matter its source aligned and current

The information on the Internet related to your company is as, if not more, important as your other advertising.  It is important to that all this information is sending the same message to your customers.  Make sure all the sources agree, the devil is in the details.  Make sure the message each source sends is supportive of all the remaining sources.

√  Serve all your buying public equally on all devices

There is no valid reason not to serve smartphone users, tablet users, and desktop users equally and effectively.  Whether you realize it or not, there an ever-increasing portion of the browsing public that uses an internet-enabled devise other than a classic desktop computer.  You must effectively serve them too.  Just know, if you don't they MAY find someone who does.  As the old saying goes, "Be easier than the next guy to do business with."

√  Build it and they will come

This probably was never true.  It is emphatically not now.  There are 1,000s of companies on the web selling products and services similar, if not identical to you.  The moral to the story is sell, promote, promote, then sell.  Get the point ... 

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