It’s now common knowledge that social media sites are great places to be networking and sharing what you do online.  The whole premise of social media sites started around social networking as they allow you to grow your connections exponentially, without geographic restrictions.

Connecting with others via social media allows you to build social proofing or ‘street cred’ which leads to increased  connections as well as opportunities to research and test new markets and ideas, and learn from others.

CC-BY Image "Australian Social Media Site Stats" by Digital Capability
CC-BY Image “Australian Social Media Site Stats” by Digital Capability

The top five social media sites (minus the blogging sites) in Australia at the moment are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter (Social Media Statistics Australia, May 2015).  But it doesn’t pay to be involved in all of them as the audience that you are targeting to connect with are not in all of these sites.

Knowing which sites you to spend your time networking will ensure that you are interacting with the right audience and not spreading yourself too thinly in terms of time and quality of connecting.

Here are the best sites to spend your networking time based on the largest five Australian social media sites for your industry/sector:

For the retail industry – gravitate to Facebook

The retail industry is considered to be a business to consumer business model and the biggest social media site where Australian consumers frequent is Facebook.  Facebook, with 14 million Australian members, offers many opportunities for retailers to connect with their customers, as people hang out there like they do in a pub or cafe, catching up with friends and family.

Facebook allows you to directly connect by ‘friending’ people through your personal profile, or through a Facebook business page.  Either option allows you to post interesting content such as inspirational images, quotes, freebies or bargains that individuals can benefit from and which pique people’s interest in your business.  Alternatively, you can join relevant Facebook groups to share and connect with others.

For the professional service industry – gravitate to LinkedIn

The professional services industry is considered to be a business to business business model that provides professional services (business and financial services etc) to other businesses.  The best social media space to connect with key business decision makers is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has a lot less members than Facebook with just over 3.5 million Australian members,  but offers the same networking opportunities through personal profile, company page or by joining relevant groups or sharing blog-like posts.  Information shared through LinkedIn is much more professional and business like (ie there’s no cats and babies pictures on LinkedIn). Interesting posts about job or business opportunities as well as research or professional development opportunities that lead to endless and exciting possibilities can be found in LinkedIn.

For the knowledge service industry – gravitate to Twitter

The knowledge service industry is considered to be both a business to business / business to consumer business model, as this sector helps people either/or improve their existing knowledge (through education and training) or manage their knowledge better (through systems and processes).  People in the knowledge service sector gravitate to Twitter because information is shared in digestible bite-sized posts (140 character limits per tweet) that can be filtered easily through #hashtags, trends and lists.

CCO - Public Domain image by Stux
CCO – Public Domain image by Stux

You can have a personal and/or a business profile in Twitter but they are two completely separate profiles, unlike Facebook and LinkedIn which require you to have personal profile before you can have a business page.  Although Twitter is the smallest social media kid on the block with only 2.79 million Australian members, Twitter does provide great opportunities to quickly build connections and share knowledge online as this is where people of influence as well as journalists and bloggers hangout to source and share their breaking news.

 

For the personal service industry – gravitate to YouTube

The personal service industry is considered to be a business to consumer model as it requires a person to do something practical for another person which they could do themselves if given the right information (eg landscapers and interior designers etc).

People in the personal service industry sector gravitate to YouTube, as this social media space allows them to visually share the tricks and tips of their trade through video.  Those in this industry that do this well make a secondary (or primary) income through online advertising on their YouTube channels.  YouTube, with 13.75 million Australian members, is a force to be reckoned with in terms of creating a network of dedicated followers, while learning from the best.

For the personalised experience industry – gravitate to Instagram

The personalised experienced service industry is considered to be a business to consumer business model, as it helps people create great times through food and drink (hospitality) and living memories (tourism).  This industry also lends itself to sharing these experiences through photos, so people in this industry gravitate to Instagram.

Although still an adolescent compared to Facebook and YouTube with only 5 million Australian members, Instagram has tripled its membership from 1.6 million in just 12 months (Social Media Statistics Australia, May 2014).  Instagram allows you to visually share how you provide the personalised experiences people are desperately seeking in socially connected world.

Image: How do you use social media to attract the right people to your business? by Debbie Tranter
Image: How do you use social media to attract the right people to your business? by Debbie Tranter

Remember social over sales

Whichever social media site you choose to go with, remember social media is about being social and not selling, so make use of your time in these spaces to connection with others and get to know people.  This involves two-way communication.  That is, showing an interest in what others are doing and saying online.

Don’t feel you have to exclusively spend your time in one social media site as networking in more than one social media site increases your opportunity to grow your network faster, so consider which site offers you the best features to share online who you are and what you do.

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Contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out which social media sites that you should be spending your time networking online.

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Which social media sites should I spend my time networking?
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