Are you still a social media ostrich? I get it. Who wants one more thing to do when the list of things-to-do for your small business grows larger by the second. It’s enough just to keep up on the blogging? However, social media is NOT something your company can ignore.
Search engines continue to pay an increasing amount of attention to social media activity. Perhaps you’ve even noticed the Facebook and Twitter feeds that pop up on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) now. Plus, being followed, liked and shared does wonders for your online presence and brand development as well.
The Most Popular Social Media Networks For Businesses – Join and Optimize, People!
The following is a list of some of the most popular social media networks with a little additional info so you can determine whether or not they’re right for your business.
Hopefully you aren’t surprised that Facebook takes the prime position. It still leads the way with more than 1.11 billion users. Whew! Many small businesses struggle to find ways to use it – – at first. But, once you begin posting what you’re doing, who you’re following, where you’re going and you begin interacting with your followers, the momentum will begin to take off. Plus, Facebook continues to improve its services to meet business owners’ needs so getting in now is worth it so you’ll benefit from each of their upgrades.
Twitter turns the adage, “bigger is better” upside down. Requiring users to use 140-characters or less seemed like a bit of impossibility at first, but then most people thought texting was annoying when that idea launched. And, that’s a good way to think about it; Twitter is like the texting of the blog world. It has also been a great way for companies to get better insight into their customers’ wants, needs and complaints because of its conversational nature. Plus, Twitter will give you access to different niches of your target market.
LinkedIn is essential for any business. In fact, it’s considered the “professional” social network and everybody who’s anybody in your industry will be found there so it is a wonderful place to network. LinkedIn is also a great network when you’re ready to grow your business – literally – via hiring new employees because much of your recruiting can be done right there and qualified candidates are trolling the site looking for positions in companies like yours.
If nothing else, the fear of Google should get you motivated to join Google+. While we wouldn’t accuse them of docking businesses who don’t joint their network, we certainly can imagine they would be naturally inclined to give preference to their own network when it comes to positive social media activity. The more action you get there, the better. Additionally, Google reviews are trumping the more typical review sites since they often show up first on SERPS (go figure!), and those reviews are valuable to gaining new clients and customers.
This has been a tough one for many business owners to get behind because it’s completely picture oriented, making it especially difficult for B2B business or those who sell services rather than products. However, it’s also the easiest social media platform to engage with, and its really popular. Make sure you brand your Instagram account using the same username as your email and/or Facebook accounts and sync it with other social media accounts so you’re recognizable. People like to look at pictures so anything goes, from sneak product peaks, to behind the scenes stuff, to tours of your office or a focus on favorite customers/clients.
If nothing else, the mobile element of Snapchat should be enough to incite you to get on board. We are in an increasingly mobile world and, odds are, we will be a 100% mobile world in the not-too-far future. Snapchat is a hot platform if your target market (or a market you want to break into…) consists of the 13-30 age bracket. Because the snapshots only last for a brief time, it can be a great way to create a sense of urgency when you send a CTA…everything on Snapchat is going, going, gone and then ready to be refreshed.
If you were never much of the competitive type, social media networking can be a difficult arena because it requires you to push, push and push to gain more, more and more. Quora, however, is a little different from the rest. Its goal is to support the online community with information and expertise shared by knowledgeable individuals. It’s your opportunity to grow your brand presence organically, as you become a trusted “expert.” The payoff may be slower, but you can eventually develop respect and a high-quality networking opportunities.
Perhaps the greatest hurdle for using YouTube is the fact that you have to make videos, which isn’t always easy and can be fairly cost prohibitive if you are a small business owner. However, it’s the second largest search engine in the world so don’t write it off too quickly. YouTube has been a proven way for small businesses to complete with big ones. Plus, if your YouTube video “recipe” is successful, there are scads of ways to make money from it via advertisers and the YouTube Partner Program.
Which Social Media Network Is the Best One for my Business?
A couple social media networks are ‘must-haves,’ and those are Facebook and Google+. After that, Twitter is probably the next place to explore. Continue adding them to your repertoire one account at a time, beginning with the ones that call to you or seem easier to implement. Obviously, the more comfortable you are with a particular network, the more likely you are to use it on a regular basis.
There’s the kicker, right? These social media networks don’t work if you don’t work them. Stagnation is death in the world of SEO marketing so you need to be as active as possible to manifest the fruits of your labor.
Which of the “harder to use” social media networks have you optimized to your advantage? Which ones would you add to our list?
Written by David Kaufer
David Kaufer is Founding Partner and Chief Dynamic Office in Kaufer DMC. He’s also a huge Oregon Ducks & Microbrew nut, Dad of awesome 8 year-old twin boys, husband, and big Sustainability and Autism advocate.