So, you want a social media presence? That’s smart…social media matters. But which social media network? You can’t fully commit yourself to all of them, there are just too many and there aren’t enough hours in the day to manage them. So, where are you going to invest your time and that of your employees?
Which social media platforms are the best in 2017? The answer depends on the specifics of your business, your vision, and your brand. But three stand out as particularly helpful for most professional services businesses, so let’s start with them.
Whether LinkedIn or Facebook should be first is a very tough call (check out this MLB call…were they right or wrong?). Both are useful and very popular. But we are talking about professional services, so for us LinkedIn comes in first. Why? Because you are likely selling to business owners, executives, decision makers, and every one of them is on LinkedIn. True, they aren’t all active on it, and, as we’ve seen, they aren’t all using it well (article coming soon on that topic). Nevertheless, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that didn’t exist fifteen years ago and is a great way to quickly access almost everyone in the business world. As for how to properly use the tool, we’ll address that in another article.
Everyone is on Facebook. Yes everyone. Those who don’t have their own account are logging in through their friends’ accounts. And Facebook really puts the “social” in social media, because many people use the platform to hang out, to be themselves. Why do we care about that from a professional services standpoint? Two reasons. First, business is always fundamentally about relationships between people, and Facebook lets you see a person as more than a suit. It’s like playing a round of golf or going for drinks with a prospective client, except you don’t even have to be in the same country to connect. Second, Facebook ads helps you target decision makers according to their interests, likes, dislikes, location, and so on. You can write up an interesting, engaging article about your work and literally send it to, for example, everyone in your city who is between the ages of 25 and 39, has an income level of at least $100,000, went to the same University as you, and is currently expecting a child. Seriously. There is just no other place you can do this sort of thing, and the cost is as low now as it will ever be.
There are a lot of social marketing platforms that could be number three—they’re not as useful as either LinkedIn or Facebook for those in professional services, but in one way or another, they can do things that neither of the big two can. We pick Instagram for the honor because of branding. Nothing allows you to brand better than Instagram. Incredible image editing tools make even people who aren’t creative look creative. People love art, they always have. And Instagram’s direct messaging option lets you contact anybody, without spamming—that’s not something you can do in LinkedIn. Admittedly, there is a lot of noise to cut through on Instagram, because most people send lots of useless info, but the option to connect is still there.
As we said, your top three list for social media will depend on your business, your vision, and your brand. After all, while Snapchat, Youtube, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Anchor, and others didn’t make our list, they’re hardly irrelevant. So, don’t think you have to prioritize your social media the same way we do. Put some thought into it, and if your top 3 is different from ours, then great. The important thing is that you begin to think carefully about social media marketing and how your business can take advantage of its’ potential.