Recently I asked a question on my Ask Kim Facebook Page and it generated some really insightful dialogs…. The question was…
“So Chris Brogan, social media influencer, has supposedly LEFT Facebook for G+. What do you think of this?”
Businesses such as Sollé Coaching, Evolution360°, & Chris Lucas (as well as many others) that I consider to have good “horse sense” when it comes to marketing seem to almost intuitively understand how Brogan’s decision should not be construed to be a correct decision for all businesses.
Some others who replied (some publicly, some privately) however expressed an uncertainty with whether they should be doing the same and an obvious fear that they may be making the wrong decision.
This is a very tricky question that a lot of business owners are faced with at the moment so we need to break it down so that you can find the right answer for YOUR business!
What does all of this mean for those of us that have been using Facebook to expand our social reach and grow our businesses?
What is my take on several social media influencers, such as Chris Brogan, “abandoning” Facebook entirely and moving to Google+ this early?
What is currently the right moves for small and micro businesses at this stage?
All three of these questions hub together and come down to one question that unfortunately more businesses than you would ever believe can NOT answer!….
The question is… who, specifically, in granular detail, is your audience?
And that, then, gets followed up by the second (and less important) question of … and how do you wish to be seen (branded) by that target?
People seem to get these out of order and put the second one in front of the first one and it screws everything up!
Let me elaborate…
If your target market is the average Joe and Jane retail consumer, who maybe is an aspiring entrepreneur but isn’t there yet… then you can’t afford to leave Facebook.
If however, you want to be seen as a resource on social marketing, someone in the know, someone who is the expert and brings information to them, then you can’t afford to not be on Google+ and able to provide them with that information as well. (Take note that I said a resource on social marketing, if your niche is not social marketing, then this point becomes moot for you!)
For these people, Google+ is only a periphery thought they may not have even heard of yet (most haven’t) and thus your market does not CARE about anything other than Facebook (or Twitter if that’s your thing). It would be nice to get there before they do, but now is much too early.
It’s really that simple.
Let’s do it again!
If your target audience is other Kate and Bob who have a small or micro business and are using social as part of their marketing strategy but are not overly tech savy and are afraid of change and have little resources to invest in multiple platforms … then you can’t afford to leave Facebook.
Because Facebook is what they’ve invested in and will cling to and will depend on you to help them come to trust an additional platform when it’s time.
If you’re niche is social marketing, you also can’t afford to not be on G+ as these same business owners depend on you to test it for yourself and help them do a risk assessment and decide when it’s time to jump. However, majority of the time these are not risk takers and you will not find them on G+ yet, so your market is not on G+ at this time.
The degree to which you will work your Google+ profile is determined by the degree you wish to be “edgy” vs “safety-first”.
Third times the charm…
If your target audience is Becky and Tom, who market B2B (business to business) and that have Kate and Bob as THEIR target audience… and Becky and Tom are early adopters, willing to take some risks, and developing a brand for themselves as thought leaders within their own small community…
And if you want to be seen as a thought leader and resource to these people that are themselves that to their communities…
Then Google+ is where you have to be now. And Facebook is a “shrug”. Generally speaking you’d want to stay current on what Facebook is doing but there is substantially lower needs to be involved in the daily grind of a established platform. For you, Google+ NEEDS to be at the center of your attention because you can’t afford to miss a beat.
I’m not saying I’d go so far as to close a page, but many in THIS category are hanging “I’ve Moved” signs and I think that’s a noteworthy response for this group.
So What About Chris Brogan….
Does Brogan know something we don’t?
Yup – he knows his target audience and position (we hope).
People tell me that Brogan’s target audience is “small businesses” and that always made people think that they were run of the mill small businesses looking to someone for guidance (case #2 above).
Brogan’s actions however imply that case #3, and this has definitely been what I’ve observed. Many of Chris’ audience are B2B businesses that they themselves have some influence in the social direction of their audience. Chris has to remain agile, nimble and fast on his feet to stay one step ahead of this audience and he has to take risks that would be insane in case #2.
I also think that Chris understands that Google+ is not just another social network and what it means for long term evolution of the online world (something I’ll cover in another post).
What about you?
Brogan is an interesting case study because he makes us think. He scares us a little too in his willingness to be decisive even if its a gamble. Visionaries are not always right, but often times they are, and they are rarely ever believed on first response from those watching them.
Yet, Brogan’s choices make us consider our own and open the doors for us to answer the questions above and decide what is right for him.
For me, my audience sits between #2 and #3, and I believe you can observe my strong presence and positioning and careful thought given to both platforms.
I am where my audience is at – are you?
Share your thoughts below!
Taking The Headaches Out Of Internet Marketing
PS: Check back soon – or subscribe – for another post I’m working on on why Google+ changes the game and why it’s not just another social network. This is something if you don’t understand it will make it harder for you to make choices moving forward.