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If You Focus on 4 Social Media Sites, You have 99% of Your Marketing Covered

99 Social

One of the biggest problems faced when businesses try to use social media as a marketing tool is that there are simply too many social media sites. A day doesn’t go by when I’m not asked about this new site or that old site and whether or not they can be used is marketing. Most can. However, most simply do not have the reach to make them worthwhile. For the majority of businesses, if they stay focused on four current social sites, they’ll have the vast majority of their marketing covered.

Some big sites were excluded. It’s not that Tumblr doesn’t have its place or that Foursquare is useless. It’s that the time and energy necessary to make them stronger is not worth the return on investment. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest are the big dogs right now. They don’t take a ton of time to master and the results are strong compared to the effort put into them.

  • Facebook – This is the only no-brainer out there. If you only use one social media site for your marketing, this is it. From both a social interaction perspective as well as a public relations perspective, Facebook can cover as much as 70% of your social media marketing efforts.
  • Twitter – This is often the hardest for businesses to understand. They look at it, give it a try, and believe that the results aren’t worth the effort. The problem with that argument is that Twitter is still extremely popular and more importantly the time necessary to have a rock-solid Twitter presence is minutes a day at most. Don’t abandon the low-hanging fruit just because the results aren’t apparent. If you use it right, the results will come.
  • Google+ – Even if you don’t believe that Google+ will emerge as a true social media force (it will, but I won’t argue that here), the search engine marketing benefits of building up and maintaining a strong presence on the platform cannot be argued. Few would say they couldn’t use better search results or more traffic from Google. Their social network is one of the ways to improve those results.
  • Pinterest – Just like Twitter, Pinterest falls into the category of low-investment, higher-returns. One of the things that differentiates Pinterest from other social sites is that they’ve embraced business usage more readily than other platforms. Posting and maintaining a quality Pinterest presence can be literally less than a minute a day and many of those who use the platform swear by it.

There’s a common theme here. Effort versus reward. If you measure your returns relative to the amount of effort put into the maintenance, you’ll find that these are the sites that generate the highest level. Used properly, just about any business can benefit from a strong presence on these four social media sites.

Views: 717

Tags: facebook, google+, marketing, pinterest, social media, twitter

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Comment by jim leonard on January 11, 2013 at 7:52am

Thank you for this info,  I use Facebook Religiously for my business, Independent used car dealer, and yet I have the #1 facebook site in oklahoma,  I do not advertise with it, I simply post humorous pictures, The point is not to sell them something, But for them to think of me when they are ready to buy.  

Comment by J.D. Rucker on January 10, 2013 at 6:13am

Great comments here for sure. Thanks for the tools, Manny.

One thing we have to remember is the audience for this article is a dealership body that has been told by so many vendors and experts that they need to be on dozens of social media sites if they want to succeed. Vendors have been using scare tactics and smoke and mirrors to get dealers to think that social media is simply too big for them to be able to do it on their own and that they need a vendor to handle all of the dozens, even hundreds of "relevant" social media sites. This simply isn't true and I hope that none of the comments in this thread are geared to make the dealers in the ADM community believe that they have to have a vendor to succeed.

It simply isn't true. If dealers focus on the four listed above, they can succeed on their own without a ton of time or money invested. Whether that's truly 99%, 85%, or 99.9999% is not really up for debate because that's not important. Had I known that portion would have been such a sticking point that distracted from helping dealers see the truth, I would have titled it differently.

YouTube is an amazing platform and is an excellent content source that applies to the social media portion ofmarketing. I consider it more in the realm of content marketing rather than social media marketing; just because it falls into the classification of social media doesn't mean that it's best suited for social media marketing in its purest form. People don't go to YouTube to interact with businesses. They go to be entertained, to learn more, and to address their needs. The vast majority of people will watch videos on YouTube without ever leaving a comment or engaging in a social media way.

Content marketing or video marketing (however you want to classify it) through YouTube is extremely effective. Using YouTube on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest as a source of content can be effective. Just as I didn't include blogging in the list, I didn't include YouTube for the same reason. It's best used as an original content venue for marketing rather than a place to draw interaction with customers.

LinkedIn - that's very debatable. It's my opinion that people go to LinkedIn for professional reasons only. Personally, if someone tried to sell me a car or broadcast a marketing message to me through LinkedIn in a B2C manner, I'd be very unlikely to do business with them and would probably remove them from my contacts. Dealerships can definitely leverage LinkedIn to find talent and to express strong reasons to want to join the team but I've never considered LinkedIn a place to try to increase retail transactions.

Awesome comments so far! Keep them up and I'll try to respond to all of them.

Comment by Joe Schwartz on January 9, 2013 at 2:20pm

Wow, that's a strong statement indeed.  Perhaps "Social" marketing but we have left out some important channels, YouTube for example.  My question is by what measure are we assigning value to our activities on these networks?  

To push it a bit further, why isn't LinkedIn on the list?  LinkedIn does bost 60 million affluent ($100K+/yr) active members.

What is the target, e.g., how do we expect our ROI to be  weighted here?  There are so many assumptions implicit in this analysis that it looks a bit too top-down to me.  One could argue that an integrated OEM campaign that leverages YouTube as the central investment from an asset creation perspective, will cause ripple to all of the channels you mention, JD. 

But then, there may be an implicit assumption regarding content strategy that I either missed or hasn't been stated, etc.

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 9, 2013 at 5:10am

Some great tools here Manny. Thank you!

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 8, 2013 at 5:47pm

Wow, great conversation!  First I want to say that the four sites mentioned by JD are certainly the focus and for some dealers with limited resources (and time) the main Social Media sites.  I DO believe that it's better to do a great job on these sites than to scatter your energies on many sites.  (I'm still struggling with Google+) That's my view from the trenches.

That said, I had my dealership on YouTube before any of these other sites and we are approaching 300,000 views.  As Ralph said, I use our blog as a hub for all the other sites.  I believe that is extremely important.  I'm currently working on assisting a salesperson with their online presence and a blog will be the hub of that.

Pinterest has amazing potential.  Our most popular board is "Pre-Owned Vehicles". Although it's not among my top 10 referrers, it is climbing all the time and holds a solid position.  I have been checking out and recommend you do so three sites that are starting to measure Pinterest and guide us in the right direction.  They are PinReach, Pinalytics and Reachli.  I can see campaigns being built around this.

Love this debate and have to say I come down on both sides.

Comment by T. Lavon Lawrence on January 8, 2013 at 12:08pm

I knew from the moment I saw the email notification from Ralph that this was gonna be a great conversation piece.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on January 8, 2013 at 11:53am

Responding in chronological order:

Ralph, the dealers who would benefit the most from an article like this are those who are attempting to dive into social. There are definitely benefits from LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Slideshare, and other sites that can be had, but the four listed consolidate into a realistic strategy for the average dealer. There are always exceptions to any rule; I know a dealer that gets more traffic from Google than Bing but I wouldn't recommend to dealers that they should focus on Bing first based upon an isolated case. Marketing on Slideshare is an investment of time that few can master, as you know. Regarding blogs, I've written on multiple occasions the importance of blogs in both search and social as well as direct promotions. Not including them on the list wasn't an omission of their importance but a difference in classification. Pinterest is, for certain, a stronger platform than many realize.

Kathleen, Richard, and Alexander - Yes, yes, and yes. Agree across the board.

Brent, it was simply an choice on wording. I didn't want to say "If You Focus on 4 Social Media Sites, You have 99% of Your Social Media Marketing Covered" - hate doubling up on the words "Social Media". As a result, my choices were "If You Focus on 4 Social Media Sites, You have 99% of Your Marketing Covered" or "If You Focus on 4 Sites, You have 99% of Your Social Media Marketing Covered". I assumed the community would know that you cannot cover 99% of all of your marketing with the internet, let alone social media, but in retrospect the second wording choice would have been preferably. Either way, I wouldn't worry about ADM dealers. They understood the point.

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 8, 2013 at 10:46am

BTW, I was referring to the SEO value of applying content to SM.

As for conversions and leads, this is quite interesting - FORRESTER: Facebook And Twitter Do Almost Nothing To Drive Sales. Probably worth a post on its own as well.

Comment by Brent Albrecht on January 8, 2013 at 10:43am

JD, I have to agree with Ralph that these type of broad statements can be misleading and give the wrong advice.  The fact is, 99% of any dealership's market is not on social media at all, so using these 4 sites alone will never get you there.  The concern is that dealers could stop other forms of marketing by thinking your stat above is correct and they can reach everyone using social.  as a comparison, here is what some other research says:

According to Pew Internet Research, in August 2012, only 69% of adults are on ANY social media site, so by using social alone you could be missing almost 1/3 or your market.  In fact, several studies (including Nielsen 2012) say that 20% of adults in the US are still not even online!

So the idea that 4 social media sites can cover 99% of your market is silly.  Don't get me wrong, I believe that social media is a powerful tool for dealers to include in their marketing mix, but dramatic headlines that are obviously incorrect do not help businesses in the long run

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 8, 2013 at 10:42am

Ralph, I emphatically agree with the blog set up for automotive retailers and the blog of choice IS a self-hosted WordPress application. Forget the others, the support and plug-in repository dominates, competitors fail in comparison. That is the EXACT process that I preach. 

  1. Original and informative content (no matter where you get it, write it yourself, hire a copywriter, go to a third party such as TextBroker, iWriter, SkyWord, etc.).
  2. Push that content manually to all popular social network, especially Google+ and Facebook.
  3. Measure the results for Social Signals, most SEO CRMs, like gShift and SEOmoz measure this metric.
  4. Repeat and repeat what works.

If you are writing your own content through WordPress, use Scribe.

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