Why Going Big on Social Media Can Backfire
Join us at Entrepreneur magazine's Growth Conference, Dec. 15 in Long Beach, Calif. for a day of fresh ideas, business mentoring and networking. Register here for exclusive pricing, available only for a limited time.
Editor's Note: Entrepreneur's Ask the Expert column seeks to answer questions about everything from starting a business to growing one. To follow the column on Twitter -- and ask a question -- use hashtag #ENTexpert, or leave a comment below. Your query may be the inspiration for a future column.
Q: I'm working on my first tech startup. I've read articles that stress the importance of creating buzz and getting your product out to the masses through social media. Should I immerse myself in every social media platform or just focus on two or three and develop quality content?
A: If you are just a one-man show, definitely focus on only a few social media platforms and create killer content to attract eyeballs and generate buzz. If you try to spread yourself too thin and hit up all the social media networks, you will not only drive yourself crazy but due to time restraints, your messages will be fragmented and inconsistent, which may result in you losing your audience.
Deciding on your first social media channel can be challenging. As a rule of thumb, I think every business should have a Twitter account, as it allows you to easily connect with customers and industry influencers simultaneously. The thing I love about Twitter is that you can interact with people, even if they aren’t following you. You can grab people’s attention by tweeting at them and sharing their content.
The other popular social media platform is Facebook. While great for catching up with old friends, I have found Facebook to be the least beneficial for businesses, as there is no way to interact with people unless they have “liked” your page.
As for deciding on what other platforms to use, it really depends on the industry you are in. For example, if you offer products that are visually appealing, such as fashion or food, then sites that are known for pictures, like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are your best options.
However, if your company focuses on career, B2B or professional services, it's worthwhile to be active on LinkedIn. Also, getting involved in forums pertaining to your industry can help spread the word about your company -- just don't be too self-promoting.
When you have decided on the best social media outlet for your needs, the key to building your brand is corresponding with the audience using an authentic voice. Create a voice that naturally fits you and your company. For example, if your marketing materials are conversational and lighthearted use that same tone on social media. Make sure your voice is cohesive across all channels, otherwise, you will confuse customers.
Have a question for Entrepreneur's experts? Submit your questions in the comments section below or tweet us, using the hashtag #ENTexpert and the name of your business.