A growing number of small businesses around struggle with the task of figuring out which social media channel best suit their business needs. A task that must be calculated and implemented. You’ll need to prioritize or allocate a certain person into the management of social media sites – helping create traction and provide results. As well as but not limited to regular posts, interaction with users/followers/fans, and a constant stream of information about your business – including products, contests, and for added thought leadership: expertise.
With the variety in social networks, it is best to choose the channels best suited for you and go all in on them, in order to provide value. I’ll go against this idea in my next post [the more, the better] but presence is great, but inactivity is even worse – a middle would be the best possible option. You don’t want a potential customer or visitor checking in your social networks, only to find that you haven’t posted in a month? A year? Or even worse, since 2012 – and your store’s still in business? A major pet-peeve of mines is to see this sort of neglect – it shows a lack of concern for management.
Also, consider the fact that it is a waste of money to invest time into a particular network and realize that your customers do not interact within the channel, you aren’t gaining the right amount of following, and ‘it just ain’t working’.
So, what social network should you utilize? Well, it all depends on your business – a ‘who, what, where, when’ technique should be considered. Facebook has the largest and most active user base but most businesses do not seem to see the results within this platform but a better following base on a platform like Twitter or vice versa. Some may need the youth following provided with Twitter and others may benefit from the functionalities offered by Pinterest. And sometimes, Facebook is the best option. Some social networking sites like Linkedin, for example, don’t require that much hand work – just a little update of company profile, number of employees, and repost of relevant content. And the majority of the time, content can easily be spread across social networks with just a couple tweaks. It is less noticeable to be inactive on Linkedin & Pinterest then it is for Facebook or Twitter. Prioritize.
Facebook garners a whopping 1.15 billion active users per month and continues to lead as one of “the largest and most active social networks in existence” [include link: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-worlds-largest-social-networks-2013-12], I’d believe that a significant amount of your customers, users, fans/followers are currently using it as we speak. So, why not use that to your advantage? Plus the like page validates business’s reputation.
Pro(s): Offers up a far reach across a diverse demographic. Facebook targeted ads. Customer reviews and ratings. Access to a fan base.
Con(s): If you do not post regularly, it is likely that your fans will not see your post even when you do, due to the news feed algorithms and Facebook marketing approach. I like several brands on Facebook and rarely see any of them – I usually put in the extra effort and visit them myself to check on their latest activity.
Recommended post time: 1-4pm Atlantic Standard Time
If composing short snippets in under 140 characters is a doable task and most of your customers are on Twitter then take the leap. According to the Pew Research Center, Twitter has a strong 18-29 demographic – young professional will find this platform suitable to drive awareness.
Pro(s): Specific photo, video, and links allow for a more visually pleasing “tweet” similar to Facebook – utilize the view summary, Twitter pic, and video embed integration. Users can manipulate their message in a variety of ways and connect with followers on a more personal & creative level.
Con(s): A short bio area; so, USE WISELY. 140 characters, keep it short & sexy. Instagram photos no longer appear embed with “view photo” or opened (like Twitter picture). If you have a target audience of the older population, this might not be the best choice due to low engagement rates.
Recommended post time: 1-3pm Atlantic Standard Time
A ton of people are a bit iffy about the whole usage options provided by Google+ but it is pretty straightforward. Google is the world’s largest search engine offering users that use their platform(s) increased visibility within search engine and an opportunity to influence search results. The benefits have led tons of businesses into the addition of Google Plus into their social media strategy.
Pro(s): SEO benefits – allowing businesses to increase in search rank. Content and product exposure. Great for those in technical industries with a technical audience.
Con(s): Not many engaged or participating users – it would be quite hard to find your customers here unless you have an email newsletter which can help drive traffic to your + page.
Recommended post time: 9-11am Atlantic Standard Time
Any company that fosters the idea of creation will benefit from this platform since you can easily gain followers, engage with a larger audience of creators & customers, and those interested in the whole creative process. With the amount of browsing that takes place on Pinterest, customers who see your products and services in action are more likely to purchase and become more involved in your company. As of late, Pinterest is testing a small experiment among companies like Ziploc, General Mills, and Old Navy for ‘promoted pins’ – just like Twitter’s promoted tweets.
Pro(s): High conversion rate. Drive tons of traffic. Engage with users, public access, and more shared content. Pinteresters are influencers interested in the cool. Great Twitter, Facebook, and website integration. You can tag post for more visibility.
Con(s): You’ll need to focus a lot more time on staying relatively active and connecting with users when they are more likely to be active (see recommend post times). Minimal text content, more visual.
Recommended post time: 8-11pm Atlantic Standard Time
Every start-up, small business other than those geared towards food and clothing (unless corporate or head offices are in your future) should have a Linkedin page setup to connect your employees, company info, and content under one umbrella. Just one of the many platforms that don’t require regular update depending on the format of your page.
Pro(s): Configured to offer businesses a more professional network while giving them the opportunity to post & promote original content under the auspice of Linkedin’s Influencers network. A strong professional network that flaunts your business’s credibility and shows throughs for an eager to build real-time connections.
Con(s): A closed network that doesn’t allow for public interaction – only by those that give permission. It will require quite some networking from your side but the benefits (a face-to-face network) will be noticeable.
Recommended post time: 9-11am Atlantic Standard Time.
What social media platforms are you using? Which ones work better for your business? Let me know in the comment below!
Follow me on Twitter @isabelleofume for more expectations, thoughts, and expertise.