Every small business needs to have a social media presence. But with new apps and platforms rolling out constantly, it can become difficult to determine which sites are best for your business and how to use those sites as effectively as possible.
Certain businesses will certainly need to use specialized platforms, but it’s a safe bet that no matter what sort of business you run, you’ll need to be familiar with these four.
Facebook features over 2.2 billion monthly active users. It’s difficult to get a consensus on anything these days, but there’s consus on Facebook: most adults in the US are on Facebook, and they use it every day. So if you’re considering where to start your small business social media, Facebook should be the first stop.
Facebook gets billions of visitors every month and polling has consistently shown that Facebook is a top news source for millennials and those of Generation X. All that says that because social media presence is all about putting your business in front of eyeballs, Facebook has the most eyeballs.
Setting up a page for your business is simple and intuitive. You just enter some information like location, focus, and hours of operation, and you’re on. Once you have a few loyal customers following you, sharing your posts, and tagging you as they use your product, your Facebook page becomes a vital part of your marketing.
It can also be a hub for your other content. If you have a blog, linking your blog posts on your Facebook page is a great way to drive traffic, which will help your blog become more visible to search engines.
Facebook takes many of the best parts of other social platforms and brings them together. Photo sharing, text posting, sharing, and a sense of community are all important parts of Facebook’s appeal. But arguably the most important part of Facebook is that it’s where the people are. If you have a follower on Facebook who shares one of your posts, they’re spreading your message to hundreds or thousands of followers who trust the source of that endorsement, may be in the area, and are now potential customers you didn’t have access to before.
Twitter is a fantastic tool for small business social media. While Facebook allows you to create and spread content, Twitter is fantastic for real-time interaction with other brands, potential customers, and loyal users.
That might be what Twitter is best for. If a customer has a great experience with you and your company, he or she might tweet about it, giving you an opportunity for an instant and personal interaction. If the customer is for some reason not satisfied, you can reach out here as well. DMs – direct messages – are also a handy feature that let you interact with customers.
But it isn’t just interaction with customers that makes Twitter useful. You can also interact with other businesses through liking tweets, retweeting, and quote-tweeting, which can raise your profile and make your business more visible online. It’s also important to tweet regularly, and make sure you study proper small business Twitter strategy.
If nothing else, tweeting for your company is an exercise in brevity. How can you use 280 characters to get a message across to your followers that will make them want to share, purchase, or interact with you and your company?
LinkedIn may not seem like the most necessary social media for a small business. It doesn’t necessarily lead to more sales, customer interactions, or marketing opportunities for many businesses.
But LinkedIn is an outstanding choice when you’re in need of business resources, contacts, and legitimacy. People will find your business on LinkedIn and having a page there can show your potential customers that your company is legitimate.
In addition, many of the top business and marketing professionals in the country (and world) use LinkedIn to share resources. That can mean something as simple as a tip they learned from a mentor or a link to a piece of software that be the missing piece in your business plan.
On top of all that, LinkedIn is a fantastic way to reach out and contact people in your sector or industry. If your business just started up, it might be wise to reach out to a more established person in a similar company to see if they might be willing to lend you advice or insights.
And once your company is hiring, LinkedIn is maybe the best way to find new employees. It’s essentially an online resume that can lead you to new candidates.
Regardless of what you use it for, every small business should have a LinkedIn page.
Instagram can be a particularly useful small business social media platform if you’re selling a product or experience. If you’re a gym owner, a craft brewer, or a hand-made jewelry company, Instagram is a perfect way to share what you do with people around the world.
Like many of the other, larger social platforms, Instagram is remarkably easy to set up and link to other platforms. But where Instagram stands out is as a visual platform.
Great photography reigns supreme on Instagram, so be sure that you’re finding the most visually appealing ways to show off what you and your company can do. If you sell a product, don’t just include photos of the product itself – share photos of your customers using the product, of alternative uses, or of ways the product sets itself apart from your competition.
If your business lends itself to Instagram, you may want to even consider spending a few hundred dollars on an entry-level camera, which allow you to take clearer, crisper images with more control than a cell phone. A nicer camera lends an air of professionalism to your page.
Instagram is also great for businesses because of hashtags. Many users follow or search pages via hashtag, which means that adding multiple relevant tags to every post can lead to more engagement (and more visitors).
One other effective Instagram technique is the use of social influencers as proxy marketing. Influencers are often locally or nationally followed pages in a particular field, be it fitness, fashion, or food. Many brands pay money for these influencers to mention or display their product in a post, which puts the product in front of thousands of followers who trust the source.