Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere far from civilization, you know what social media is and have some idea that you need social media to be successful in business. If you’re reading this you might also be wondering how your small business can take advantage of these platforms. But, which are the best social media platforms for business?
It’s not hard to sign up for social media platforms and automate posts to go out on a schedule, but will this drive flocks of customers your way? Probably not.
Social media is more than just a place to dump your content and hope that it will be seen and loved. It’s about having authentic interactions with your customers, prospects and even employees. Everyone wants to be noticed and heard, just like you do; to feel their opinion matters. Think about it, if you walked into a store and everyone ignored you, even when you sought someone out to ask a question, would you want to return? On the other hand, if you were warmly welcomed, asked how they could better serve you, even given a gift or incentive just for walking through the door, you might feel a little warm and fuzzy about the place and want to return again and again.
Not only do you get to be social (hence the name) directly with your target customer, social media also allows your business to gain valuable insights, create lasting relationships and foster customer advocates. Research indicates 69% of the public is using some type of social media.
Which Social Media Channel is Best for Business?
It’s important that you choose the social media platforms that work best for your business. Each platform has its own unique audience, so be certain that you speak directly to the intended audience. What and how you post on Twitter will not be the same as Facebook, for instance.
LinkedIn is a community for professionals. Individuals use it as a public, online resume available to be found by prospective employers or as an opportunity to find prospects. LinkedIn usage is especially high among educated, high earners; making $75,000 or more a year.
Your Company Description page should be clear, professional, and informative for visitors looking to learn about your business. Keep your articles professionally oriented. Use Linkedin to talk about significant new hires, provide industry insight, and promote press releases.
Twitter only allows you to share short text updates of 280 characters or fewer, along with videos, images, links, polls and more. It’s quick and easy to interact with other users or businesses by mentioning their usernames in your posts. Sometimes this can get you noticed by bigger businesses, however, only 22% of U.S. adults are using this platform, according to the Pew Research Center in 2019. It is good to have a presence here, but, you should use this site to send a quick message which ultimately gets clicks to your website.
Facebook still dominates social networks on the web, according to Smart Insights 2017 study. Chances are pretty good that your customers are actively using Facebook. According to the Pew Research Center, Facebook usage is almost equally spread between gender, income levels and location. Where it differs is by education, as only 56% of those with high school or less education utilize this platform versus 77% for college graduates. Age is another differentiating factor, only 36% of those age 65+ utilize the platform, while 88% for those between the ages of 18-29.
Create a Facebook business page and use it to promote your brand and tone. Your posts should include major company announcements, industry insights and images and videos which show off your business.
Pinterest is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. Many businesses overlook this platform initially, as contrary to what I just said, it’s not actually a social media platform, at least, not entirely. More importantly, it’s a search engine. You wouldn’t spend time and money creating an amazing website for your business and not put it on Google, right? If you’re not on Pinterest, you’re missing out big time. This platform is essential for bloggers and businesses that blog to drive traffic to their websites. You must have clear, visually appealing images, optimized for the most conversions to make it worth your time. If you need help with this, I am at your service.
YouTube, Instagram, and SnapChat, are also visual social media platforms that are in the most popular category. These platforms are not ideal for all businesses. If you can visually capture your products or services, then these social media sites could be a great option for you.
Putting Your Brand Out There
Each social media post, whether it’s sharing a press release, blog post, photo or video, or just a comment, should provide a positive interaction with potential customers. You never want to only self promote on any one platform. By consistently managing your social media platforms you will be able to develop feedback for your brand and stay aware of any improvements needed as well as get to know your customers so you can better serve their needs. The way you conduct yourself, what you share, how (and if) you respond to others over any social media, is a reflection of your business.
If you have employees, they are your best brand advocates. Encourage them to add their current position at your company to their profiles. This will automatically make them followers of your page, and will feature your Company Page on their profiles, helping to drive more traffic your way. Encourage them, also, to take action on company posts as it increases your reach to their personal network. Don’t be afraid to ask them to “like” or share the post if they agree. The more reach, the more engagement and interactions to promote your business. Don’t forget to warn them that as representatives of your company, they should conduct their own personal social media professionally.
But, how can you manage it all?
It’s impossible to be great and ever present on every social media platform there is, at least, without a large budget and full time social media team. You can hire a VA to manage at least a portion of it, but you should know which social media channels are best for your business before you spend money promoting on one.