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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.

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


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Comment by Alexander Lau on January 8, 2013 at 10:22am

Great post and I think it's worth mentioning that whom really knows what new networks will pop up in the future...? I suppose this is the nature of technology (web) supporting demands.

I couldn't agree more with the Google+ mention and it's probably worth a post on its own: "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)..." It's Google's differentiation from the others, not only a social network, but it brings in all of their other web apps (extremely important for Local / Places) maintenance and acts as a publishing tool for any type of media known, which probably has a better likelihood of being indexed properly in the long run. I look at Google+ as being in Beta, to be honest with you. Look for bigger and brighter things to come. I think it might outlast FB as well, obviously Google controls more.

Comment by Richard Valenta on January 8, 2013 at 10:00am

Ralph,  Good points.  I have not seen a dealer effectively use to generate leads. What's their strategy? - Richard

Comment by Kathleen Perley on January 8, 2013 at 9:52am

Great Article! Pinterest seems to drive a lot of traffic to our site and does great things for our SEO and time on site. 

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 8, 2013 at 9:51am

JD, in a completely different direction from my previous response, thank you for identifying Pinterest as one of your recommended channels...

I went to dinner last Saturday night with 5 other people and one of them was a so-called "Social media guru". I was shocked when she loudly declared that Pinterest was "worthless" to companies seeking an effective social media marketing strategy...

After I wiped off the soup that spilled on my shirt when I shuddered in response to her statement about Pinterest; I asked her if she had ever used the tools readily available online to query what consumers in any given product vertical were responding to in the form of social media engagement.  She asked me a few questions which demonstrated she had not (she was a very nice person BTW). I went on to explain that I had used one of those tools a few days prior only to learn that during the month of December over 90% of all social media engagement by automotive consumers with companies posting content online was in response to photographs and illustrations...

Then i asked her what the fastest growing social media site is, that emphasizes the sharing of images... Pinterest of course... Then i asked her what was the largest social media platform to launch business accounts or profiles in the last 6 months... Pinterest, of course.

Dinner was great, but she probably hates me at this point... I do want to apologize to those who were with me at this dinner party, but I just could not help myself!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 8, 2013 at 9:40am

JD, I know your intentions are great, but I disagree with issuing this type of guidance, and apparently so do many other people who are involved with digital marketing in general:

In my opinion, it is a strategic error to focus on these "Top 4" social media sites if that focus is to preclude applying appropriate effort to other sites and channels.  In every market where a car dealer operates there are inevitably UGC sites and channels that are popular among locals, and for example... I have dealers who have received more leads in 2012 from than they have from Facebook.  In many ways, I see WHAT a dealer does with a social network's capabilities as being more of an impact on results than simply throwing content at the top 4 sites.  With as many posts as Facebook receives on any given day it is not difficult to imagine a car dealer's content getting swamped and overwhelmed with everything else to the point of oblivion.

Now, let me be VERY clear... I am NOT saying dealers should not pay attention to the big 4 JD has identified, I am simply saying that different dealers, brands and locations can benefit immensely from many of the other sites, networks and online social media publishing tools out there.

Lastly, there is one big major difference to JD's advice I would like to point out. The dealers I have worked with get a tremendous response from consumers, traffic and lead generation from publishing their own blog sites as a variation on dealer microsites. Most of them use the Wordpress CMS software hosted on any number of servers for hire, such as and Rackspace.  Before you do anything with any of the social media sites that JD recommends, my opinion is that creating a blog site first to use as the hub, the point of origination for content that is then syndicated and republished to your social media accounts, profiles, channels, etc. on the big volume sites, is a top priority.

To me, creating social media accounts on the major sites without having a hub for your hub and spoke strategy is like launching a dealer website without your inventory online... What's the point?

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