Which Social Media Networks Should Your Business Use? – Part One

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google Plus, Houzz… The list of social media networks seems to grow all of the time, with a new platform trending every few months. How is a small business owner to keep up?

Some stick to Facebook, while others pinpoint a few that they like and know how to use. Another gut reaction is to create accounts on all of them, but this isn’t the most effective way to use social media to market your business online.

It’s important for small business owners to understand the benefits and focuses of each social media platform, in order to make the most informed decision for their business’ presence online.

Facebook: With analytics and advertising opportunities, Facebook is the big kid on the block. Facebook is the place for just about any industry that’s primarily B2C (but B2B companies can also make decent traction). It’s also where a lot of your customers are wasting time (and hopefully, seeing your stuff). But beware, in 10 years or so, when your target customers are today’s teenagers, you’ll need to ditch Facebook because they’re not on this platform.

Twitter: For real-time chatter and news, Twitter offers a chance for small business owners to engage more personally with their audiences. Where Facebook limits your reach, Twitter allows your posts to be seen by any and possibly all of your followers. Note that timing is something to watch carefully, since posts are listed chronologically.

Google+: We don’t really treat Google Plus like a legit social media network, because the active ‘network’ is so tiny. People don’t use Google+ as a primary social media network. However, Google likes you when you play with Google’s toys, so it’s a good idea to be active on Google+ in order to give your search rankings and authority a little boost.

LinkedIn: The best and most effective way to use LinkedIn is as a professional networking tool to reach potential employees and/or partners within your industry. Don’t waste your time trying to reach clients or customers on this platform – that’s not how they’re using LinkedIn. And it’s much more effective to post on LinkedIn from your personal profile (with all of its ‘connections’) instead of from a company page, since posts on a company page will only go to followers of that page (probably only a handful, since that’s not how people use LinkedIn).

MySpace: Before Facebook, this was the place to be to communicate with friends and show off your personality online. But, no more. MySpace is still around, but it’s almost exclusively used for independent musicians to showcase their stuff.

Houzz: For interior designers, roofers, contractors, and other professional service providers in the home and décor industries, Houzz can be a valuable tool to showcase your work and attract clients. It’s also a good way to network with related service professionals for referrals.

Come back next week, when I highlight the photo-focused social networks!

Featured photo source: Pixabay.com 

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