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Is Facebook Over? No, But Look Elsewhere Anyway

iStock_000021938397XSmallThere was a time (it feels like last week, and honestly, that’s not too much of an exaggeration) when it seemed like Facebook was the insurmountable king of social media. In the last few years, businesses across all markets have finally caught on to the fact that social media, far from being just a social playground for teens, is now the main stage for marketing and audience engagement. Businesses that previously wouldn’t have thought that social media had anything to do with them finally understood the erroneous nature of that way of thinking, promptly built themselves a Facebook page, and learned how to make the most of it.

The problem is that Facebook is unlikely to remain at the top of the social media food chain forever. Certainly, we all have our heels dug in over there, and it’s quite likely to be relevant for many years to come, but even now, customers (and thus, businesses) are shifting their focus elsewhere. They aren’t abandoning Facebook, but they are establishing roots in social media sites that are positioned to be the next big thing. As a savvy small business owner, it’s a smart time for you to start doing the same thing. Consider the following points:

  • Know who’s on top

If we could sum up the best current social media strategy in one sentence, it would be this: build a presence in lots of places, monitor social media business trend news, and apply your energy to each platform accordingly. Let’s say Foursquare is suddenly seeing a bigger-than-average surge in attention and activity; maybe they just had a big news story or whatever. Whatever the reason, this week, it seems like they are the only social media platform that matters. When that’s the case, obviously focus more of your energy on engaging your audience there. Be active and present to the absolute best of your ability. What that doesn’t mean is completely neglecting – or worse, deleting – your presences on other sites. Because chances are, next week, another social media site is going to the on top. That’s simply how it works, and you want to be both aware of how the trends are flowing, and ready to stay atop the wave.

  • Diversity always means security

Far too often, companies have incredibly active Facebook pages, but are nowhere to be found on Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, or anywhere else. Or maybe they have a brilliant, responsive, informative, funny Twitter presence but are tragically underrepresented on other sites. It’s fine to do one or few things better than others, and it’s always a good thing to know which platform best gives voice to your brand (an art gallery might shine most on Pinterest whereas a legal group might fare better on Twitter), but the real mark of social media success is figuring out how to express your brand honestly and fully through as many platforms as possible. Sound challenging? It is. Otherwise everyone would do it well, and most small businesses don’t. But nailing it pays off immensely.

  • You already know how to do this

Learning the principles of social media engagement is the hardest part. Since Facebook has largely been the main place where small businesses have branched out into their online audience, moving to other platforms seems like an exhausting prospect; they finally understand how to fully leverage their Facebook presence, and now they have to go somewhere else and start over? Yes and no. The truth is, once you have the basics of social media down, you can apply them just about anywhere. Sure, every platform has its own way of functioning, but a lot of the strategies and methods of analyzing engagement and measuring results all stay consistent. Learning the basics of cooking by making one practice dish doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you know how to cook. You don’t know how much you already know.

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