Social Media is necessary to small business owners, but it can be confusing to understand the platforms. Which social media site will benefit your business most? We’ve come up with a clear and concise guide for small businesses to choose the social media right for you.
One of the biggest headaches for small businesses today is trying to navigate the ‘must-have’ social media arena. As if juggling all of your daily tasks weren’t enough, now you need to add some ‘social.’
The confusion over which social media will help your small business most is understandable.
This article discusses the dos and don’ts, breaks down each social media site simply and helps you decide which platform(s) are right for your business.
Social Media Rules: What (Not) to Do
Social media, for most business owners, is a simple ‘You just post things and people like them, right?’ Not exactly.
- Don’t only post about you, your company or your products.
In the online world, this is the same as the bore at the party that says ‘Let me tell you about me. Have I told you about me? I am fantastic because…’ No one wants to hear it. We’re all ego-centric. I want to talk, too.
A huge mistake many business owners make is to only post about their company- and nothing else. It doesn’t engage people; it isn’t a conversation.
Every single social media site requires interaction with others in a similar field; users; and every post needs to be valuable.
- Do take each social media site individually.
They aren’t the same, and they don’t work the same. Using the conversation analogy: you change your speech depending on whom you’re talking to at a party. It’s the same with social media- and we explain the different approaches to each below.
- Don’t think the minimum is good enough.
Consistency is integral to any social media. But when you want to create traffic, and you’re just establishing your social media presence, once a month will do nothing for you.* You may as well not bother with any- it’s the same result.
*After your social media is solid, you can pare down to a schedule that works for you and decrease posts as much as you like.
The Different Social Media Sites
It seems there’s a constant influx of new social media sites, but we’re covering just the mainstays. These sites can be an integral addition to your small business marketing strategy.
Facebook Page for Small Business
Using a personal Facebook account and doing a FB Page aren’t so different, but a lot of companies think the page should only reflect the company. Almost the opposite is true. You know those annoying people that post what they had for breakfast-?
Best posts on FB pages: Questions to engage others (‘What do you think…?’); quotes; photos; useful info (’10 Easy Tips…’); and sharing from similar sites. Very little of the company itself- you don’t want to come off sales-y.
Pinterest for Small Business
A huge and still growing social media site, it relies on visuals. It’s still a conversation but it’s almost completely image related. The interaction is ‘hearting’ (liking); ‘pinning’ (sharing); and following boards. It needs balance between your stuff and others’.
The brilliance about Pinterest for small businesses: your audience (possible customers) can expand quickly if you use it right.
Twitter for Small Business
Because Twitter is in ‘real time,’ it needs a certain amount of consistent commitment. Not replying immediately is a no-no. Even replying an hour later is considered rude.
You need to mention other people in the conversation by name, i.e. @Joe and ‘retweet’ a lot of others’ tweets. It’s very engaged.
Google+ Business Page
If you’re looking for traffic, Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter are your social media go-tos. Google+ is for a long-term build and is the turtle to Facebook’s hare.
Our suggestion: Create a basic business page. Why? Because Google loves Google. It helps with branding, visibility and online presence.
And after it’s up- it doesn’t need to be maintained. It simply needs to exist. You can always choose to start posting on it at some point in the future, but it isn’t needed beyond the initial set up.
Instagram for Small Business
A photo site, it depends on #hashtags. Is it worth it for a small business to post on a photo social media site? It depends on your products or services.
If there’s any way you can highlight your business via images, definitely do it. Again, it’s another great way to grow your clientele and increase traffic- with a branded hashtag.
Youtube for Small Business
It’s a video share, with comments and likes- and partners with Google, which is important to increase visibility. Not every business needs a Youtube video.
Some businesses make the mistake of creating a typical ‘Welcome to our company…’ The problem? No one’s going to watch it. The best business videos are those that are entertaining or create interest.
Linked In for Small Business
If your business relies on B2B (versus B2C), then LinkedIn can be a great way to build contacts and find new clients. It’s basically a business resume that you can streamline for your niche. It’s also helpful for keeping on top of trends in your field or finding out what customers need.
In this day and age, the words ‘social media’ are nearly synonymous with marketing your small business. Understanding the different social media platforms and how they could benefit your business is essential. We hope this guide has been helpful!
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