Setting up social media for your business: it’s a great way to talk to your customers, build a brand, conduct marketing research, and promote your products and services right to your target audience. But how do you choose which site or sites to join? Will you be the most successful on Twitter? Vimeo? Google Plus? Can you gain a bigger audience posting comments on Facebook, pictures on Pinterest, or videos on YouTube? This week we at BuzzAGeek take a look at five of the largest and most influential social media sites and explain how to use them and which sorts of businesses will benefit most for each.
Twitter is a microblogging site that allows you to communicate with your followers by posting 140-character micro-posts called “tweets.” In these short posts you can link to content from all around the web as well as share photos or videos with your audience. Twitter is best used as a platform to communicate one-on-one with your customers, as well as to track interest trends in your niche via use of hashtags. Simply using Twitter to casually chat with your customers, link to important or interesting information about your brand, and use the hashtag system to find customers with similar interests can increase your audience and promote your small business. It has 560 million active users.
Businesses that will benefit from Twitter are those who provide services that require large amounts of customer engagement and interaction. Information services, hospitality, retail, and tourism businesses would do quite well.
Facebook’s main benefits are its incredibly large and active user base—over one billion people, its ability for customers to share content they like, and the chance to post your own content to inspire and incentivize your consumers. One of the best ways to do this is by using Facebook to announce promotions and run contests. By encouraging your followers to like or share a post for a chance to get bonuses or gifts from your business, you reward their interaction and also get them to promote your business to their friends, which will count as a recommendation to their own followers. Similarly the use of Facebook Open Graph allows you to publish the interactions customers have with your brand on their feed.
If your small business routinely has sales, discounts, or favors word-of-mouth or recommendation-based marketing tactics, Facebook will fit well in your arsenal. Retail, auto service, house cleaning, and spas can really use Facebook to its fullest potential.
The social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn is about businesses and employees coming together. By building a company page on LinkedIn, you can clearly outline your business’ professional goals, products and services, recent activity and, if applicable, employment and networking opportunities. LinkedIn is incredibly handy for building professional relations with others in your field via messaging and also building a credible reputation.
This site is invaluable for small companies providing business-to-business products and services. Since your customers are other businesses, networking with people and companies working in the industry you serve is a great way to grow your client base.
Pinterest is an “online scrapbooking platform” which lets businesses and consumers share visual content like photos and infographics. To use Pinterest correctly, you create several “boards” on your account each with an individual topic, and then pin web pages and images you like under each board. Followers can re-pin images they like to their own boards, and you can pin images that promote or relate to your brand from theirs. Since it’s a visual platform, your content should be simplistic and visually appealing for best results. Subtly watermarking your content with your business’ name and URLs can help drive traffic to your other websites and social media.
If you’re a small business that deals in visual products and services like fashion retail, hair and makeup, graphic design or photography, using Pinterest to show off your work may be one of the best ways to share your business with customers.
Video content can be a powerful branding tool and YouTube is the internet’s king of producing and sharing video content. With over one billion unique active users producing and consuming video content, YouTube is a perfect place to create and share video ads, service-related how-to videos, and product demonstrations. YouTube is most effective when you allow your videos to be shared by those watching, encouraging your customers post your video on their own social media sites.
Most any kind of business can benefit from YouTube if they choose the right kind of content to produce. While ads seem like the most obvious, filming a video which instructs your customers in how to use a product or explains the benefits of your service can go far. You can also use videos introducing your staff to humanize your small business and build personal connections—just keep your videos on message!
To really use social media to your advantage, using more than one site for social marketing will have more effect to promote your small business brand. Remember that no amount of social networking can fully replace the use of a custom website, only augment it. BuzzAGeek can build your small business a personal website that is SEO optimized and helps you get the most use out of your social media web and lets your customer base share your content on theirs as well.