arnold on Aug 31, 2018
If you’re a small business owner you need to know which social media platform to utilize. Time constraints. Pick 1 or 2.
The first thing you need to know is a little bit about each platform. I will briefly introduce the 6 most popular SMplatforms and then show you how to pick the best one for your business.
Social Media Platforms
Social networks are an integral part of online life for businesses. However, most social media advice written for larger companies with bigger budgets, extensive branding, and marketing teams, it can be difficult for small businesses to implement the same strategies for success. With 94% of small businesses using social media, it is important to know which networks are used most by your audience instead of attempting to use every channel at once.
These days, social media revolves around five major platforms. These apps are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Because of this, it is important for small businesses to be aware and active on sites where people spend their screen time. So how do you pick a social media platform? Ask the following starter questions. Who is your demographic? Is your product visual? Is it local? How much does it cost? By establishing goals and knowing where to connect with your consumers, social media can enhance your small business in more ways than one.
Starting with Facebook, it is important to understand where this app can be most beneficial for small businesses. With over a billion users, Facebook is not only good for increased exposure and building an online presence, it is also free and offers analytics. In doing so, your business will have a resource for prospective customers and a line of credibility.
Furthermore, the app includes a function for local searches with their Marketplace site; this can be useful for searches with physical addresses. Marketplace automatically shows products and services in the local area and lists products based on the user’s browsing history. Facebook has several tools that can be useful for small businesses; it is a matter of identifying which ones will best fit your company.
With Instagram, it is important to be visual. The app is arguably the easiest channel to publish content, so small businesses should use this network for photos, videos, editing, and analytics.
Essentially all businesses can find a use and voice, but it will take more work depending on the type of content a business decides to publish. So how should you communicate with customers? To get conversations started, ask a question, solicit opinions about a specific product, and feature user-generated content. The more customers feel involved with a company and brand, the more likely they are to come back.
It is a good idea to publish different types of content which can range anywhere from tips to reminders to events. Take businesses in the food and beverage industry as an example. Small companies in this sector should have an Instagram feed as more than 200 million posts are tagged with #food, and another 23 million are tagged with #drink.
Twitter is a less popular channel, but it can be useful for small business owners. This platform is meant for conversation, and it is a good way to reach out to people directly. Due to a different algorithm that shows relevancy over chronology, thereby lowering levels of engagement, it is not an optimal tool for mass marketing. While the Twitter cycle sifts through content faster than Instagram’s cycle, the app is valuable for particular demographics. Tweeting links to your website or articles multiple times will be more effective, especially if you change headlines to avoid repetition.
It is also a tool for content marketing which segues into articles, blogs, and links to websites. As a small business on Twitter, it is important for you to find your customers. Search the network for phrases and keywords, conversations happening that are relevant to your business. In doing so, you can figure out the needs and challenges that your goods or services can address.
Let’s talk about Pinterest. With over 200 million monthly users, this platform is particularly useful to reach younger audiences and women. Half of U.S. millennials use the platform in addition to 68% of women between the ages of 25-54. Pinterest influences purchasing decisions of social media users. The channel makes it easier to find and share products that are creative and visually appealing; therefore, it is useful to note what is searchable and what people are looking at. About 93% of pinners use the app to plan purchases and about two-thirds look at saved pins while shopping.
As a business account, you can have access to analytics and advertising. Remember to pin consistently, focus on visuals (lifestyle images tend to outperform product pictures), and include descriptions. Pinterest is a social network at the root even if it appears to be a billboard of visual content. Get audiences to contribute to your boards; follow boards and accounts in your industry; like and engage. As a business owner, Pinterest offers multiple benefits.
And last but not least, LinkedIn. With over 467 million users, it is the largest online professional network. As a small business, LinkedIn is not the best site to use for marketing. Use this channel as a source of connection and expertise; focus on brand awareness. LinkedIn is a tool for networking.
In addition, small companies should focus on keeping their page updated and polished with credentials and experience; while it is good for small businesses to encourage people within the company to share networks. LinkedIn is also a great source to ask for help. Ask the network for their expertise before hiring a consultant; they can help from bidding to management to new hires.
Think about the brand and customers of your small business. Be where they are. Social media has made being visible easier than ever.
So how do I choose a social media platform?