When business owners ask which social media sites they should use for their small businesses, the answer is always the same: it depends.
Social media is no longer an option.
Many businesses mistakenly believe that they can make a decision whether or not to have an online/social business presence. Those days have been gone for a long time. A search of your business name online will likely reveal that you already exist in many places – and that clients and customers are already attempting to engage with you online – even if you are not aware of it.
Determining which platforms to use can be overwhelming. There are a great many to choose from, and it seems like more appear every week. There are businesses on all of them. Which ones are right for you?
Marketing your business through social media should be no different than marketing in any other way – it should be targeted to your audience. So the goal, then, is to figure out which platforms are frequented by your target customer.
Choose your social platforms.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube are the heavy hitters. So how do you know which ones are best for your business?
First, look at the average age of your target audience and compare it to the average age of the social platform’s users. Targeting teens and twenty-somethings? Instagram may be your best bet. Busy professionals on the go? Twitter’s 280-character limit broadcasts bite-sized pieces that are quick and easy to digest, and with the right hashtags, directed at the right industry. Adult women? Try Pinterest.
Is your product or service something that is showcased better in video? Creating a YouTube channel from which to post videos to your website and other social media sites can be really advantageous. And if your product is something that people would enjoy watching be opened or used, encourage your customers to tag you in a video.
Is your product or service something that people can make a decision about regularly? Like clothing or food? Or is your business selling clean rooms to hospitals? The answer to that question will also determine which sites are best for you. LinkedIn, for example, is better used for business-to-business growth or personal résumé connections than sites like Facebook or Pinterest.
Facebook continues to hold the largest number of subscribers with the greatest variety in utility, although it can be argued that they have shifted more toward group engagement than individual engagement. On Facebook, users engage with each other and with business pages, games, videos, photos, and more. Facebook’s users range in age from teens through adults of all ages. Businesses can be checked into and rated on Facebook as they can on Google, Yelp, and other sites.
Claim your listings.
Perhaps the biggest oversight by many businesses is the failure to claim listings on sites where clients are already engaging – sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Google. By claiming your listing there, you have the ability to shape the customer’s experience. You can upload brand identity graphics, logos, and photos, and complete your listing to include contact information, hours, location, and your business history. You can also dialogue with members who have commented on and reviewed your business – both good and bad.
Post often to your social media accounts.
One of the worst things a business can do is create a social media page and not use it. The key to client engagement is business commitment. So once you commit to your social platforms be ready to post and engage often.
If you’re not ready or equipped to take that on, then consider outsourcing to a social media expert to help you manage your brand online.
For more information on Sentree Managed Hosting, visit our Hosting Plans Page.