There are over 100 social media outlets on the Internet, so it is no wonder small business owners are confused and overwhelmed about what they need to set up and how those sites can help their businesses. Let’s break down some of the most widely used social media sites and see how they can help grow your small business. With 52% of all online adults using two or more social media sites it is important to know how to make sure your business is capturing part of that traffic. The largest growth came from the 45-54 age range in 2014, this also happens to be the group with the most expendable income.
The most recognizable and most used sites are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp and Tumblr. Each of these social sites is unique in its own way, but all have similarities as far as their users. Each social site garners a differing number of followers, but they are all harnessing the power of group networking to grow either individual networks or business profiles. Before you get started setting up several social media sites, it is good to remember not to bite off more than you can chew. Only sign up for sites that you know you will maintain. Just signing up for something does not help build your network or your business. You will need to populate it on a regular (often daily) basis to keep your brand alive, relevant and in front of as many eyes as possible.
Breaking down these top 9 sites into Social versus Professional is sometimes difficult, but the stand out as more geared toward professionals is LinkedIn. It is indeed a social network, but LinkedIn gears itself to more professional and career-oriented information. It allows you to connect using groups, interests, and businesses you’ve worked for/with. Your LinkedIn profile appears more as a living resume and often can lead to job invites. If you have a product that is aimed at or good for other businesses, this is a good platform for your business.
Facebook and Twitter are the two largest social sharing sites, with more than half of all online adults using at least one of the two social networks on a daily basis. Both offer sponsored or paid advertising. The average user is spending almost 35 minutes between the two sites a day, so the need to post on these two sites multiple times a day to capture the largest viewership is very important. Of the Top 100 brands, they interact at least 12 times per day on twitter, whether it is a new tweet, responding to a tweet, re-tweeting or commenting on another tweet. The major difference between Facebook and twitter is that twitter has a 140-character limitation, allowing viewers a summary of what you are wanting them to know. Both sites allow for link and video sharing to enhance and/or expand your original post.
YouTube is a video sharing website with over 1 Billion users. It is a public site that allows users to upload and view videos. As a user you can subscribe to other user’s stations and/or create your own station to add videos to. If you start a station, it is important to populate it and continue to upload new videos, whether they are informative or product related. How To videos are the 4th most popular type of video watched on YouTube – and on a platform where there are 4 Billion views per day, this is a great place to add your instructional videos. Google links to YouTube videos regularly. Increase exposure by adding the web link to your Facebook and twitter and you are well on your way to being a social brand.
Google+ is the social network linking Gmail users through profiles, personal or professional, and Hangouts. Google+ was intended to be the next Facebook, but has not made that major leap. Although by the end of 2013, Google+ had 33% of all US social logins. A quick tip to increase Google+ engagement is to keep headlines to a maximum of 60 characters.
Yelp is a social review site, so making sure that you start and/or claim your business on Yelp is very important (and it takes a few days). Yelp is a public site that allows anyone to comment on any business and rate their experience with stars. It also allows for businesses to reply to any comments publicly or privately (depending on the users account). Yelp houses over 86,000 active business accounts, so get out there and grab yours, monitor it for reviews and reply appropriately.
Tumblr is a great site for blog readers. Tumblr allows you to upload your blog articles to your business account, upload videos and photos associated with your business as well. Blog articles can be a huge SEO push for companies. Publishing blog articles regularly that are pertinent to your business or how your business helps the consumer will help your Google and other search engine results and business views. Tumblr has seen a huge spike in users with an average of 120,000 new users added per day.
Pinterest has become the go to site for DIY and How To seekers. As small business owners you supply a service to others, and if you can post tutorials or instructions they can be pinned to other’s boards and shared through other social media outlets. Pinterest and Etsy (a sales site for homemade and vintage goods) have helped each other grow through the years via a limited partnership.
Instagram is as social as the social sites get, allowing you to share pictures and short videos, tagging others and where you are when taking the photo. It is an app-based service with limited access from a desktop, meaning it is intended to be used from mobile devices. Instagram is a great tool for athletes and other famous people to grow their personal brand. It is also extremely popular amongst the 16-25 year old age group.
In all of these social sharing sites, it is important to remember that you should only get involved in the sites that you are comfortable interacting with, and to keep your posts frequent and relevant. For instance, knowing when and how to use a hash tag (#) and when to insert a full link versus a shortened link can make a difference in how relevant you appear to your audience. Each social media site has a How To and/or Best Practices page, and that is a good use of time when starting something you may not be familiar with. It is also important to remember that there are people/companies available to assist with your social branding, so if you aren’t comfortable after reading this and doing some homework of your own, let us help you build your brand.