The recent news that Google is reorganizing Google Plus probably only registered on the radars of hardcore social media users and marketing professionals.
It is unclear what is going on over at Google with regard to Google Plus and what it will become with the reported switch to Google Photos and Streams. Frankly, many consumers just haven't been clear how best to use the product since its launch more than three years ago.
Google's product is just one channel in a crowded social media landscape. Determining which channels will work best for you and your business can be daunting.
Social media should play a vital role in any digital marketing plan but with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine and so many others, how can anyone possibly keep up?
Charging straight ahead and creating a presence on every social media channel isn't a prudent decision. Even well-staffed social media teams will find it difficult to effectively utilize every channel. In fact, just creating a presence and not following up with regular interaction can be a detriment to your brand.
The key is to learn what channels will most effectively reach your customers and focus efforts on those platforms.
There are three factors to consider when choosing social media channels: the demographics of your target market, the critical mass of users on a social platform that fall within your target market, and the type of content that drives the greatest engagement on that particular platform.
User Demographics: Most businesses can identify the profile of their targeted customer either by reviewing transaction data and appending demographic data to it or surveying customers. That knowledge is important in determining what social media channels will work best to reach your customers.
Critical Mass: Many of today's social media channels are used by such a limited, niche audience, that they aren't worth your time investment unless you, too, have a niche target that perfectly aligns. So, compare volume of active users on each platform, and research what percentage of those active users actually aligns with your target.
Content: Photos and videos generally garner the highest levels of engagement on Facebook. Photos are the name of the game on Pinterest, and videos are all that matter on Vine. Twitter tends to be more content driven, though now that photos are visible directly in the newsfeed, this channel is also becoming more image focused.
No matter what social channels you invest in, be regular and predictable with content publication. And make sure you engage with your fans.
That means checking your Twitter mentions and responding to retweets and questions. If someone takes the time to comment on a photo on your Facebook page, respond to it. It also means actually reading what your fans and followers are talking about, beyond your brand, and proactively engaging with them.
Find more advice at www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).