Social media is everywhere today. Digital marketing can’t go without it, people can’t go without it, and businesses can’t go without it. Most major companies are very present on all social media platforms, as they want to cover as wide an audience as they can.
However, as a small business, your only chance for success is to concentrate on your own niche and target your own piece of the pie. That’s why most small businesses are selective when it comes to their social media coverage. They don’t have to be present on each platform, as it can be a drain on their resources.
The starting point is that every small business needs a web site. It is your calling card and where almost everyone now either finds what they are looking for, or checks you out. Keep the web site up to date and looking great, and be sure it is full of great information that is easy to access. Especially if you are in professional services, as I am, posting a regular blog is a great way to show your expertise in your field. The added bonus, is that your blog becomes the baseline source for your social media content.
Here is my take on which social media platforms are best for small businesses. I am by no means an expert on any of these platforms, but I have worked with them a lot and you may find my experiences and insights helpful.
You Need to Answer Some Questions First
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your goal with social media?
- Is your business B2B or B2C?
Your answers to these three questions have a profound effect on which social media platforms are the best ones for your business.
Your target audience will mostly be concentrated on specific platforms, so you’ll have to cover those. Your overall goal of the social media campaign you lead has a sizable effect on which is the best platform for you because each platform is different.
In the end, the type of business you have (B2B or B2C) has an impact on which platform is best for you because some platforms are more customer-oriented, while others are more suitable for businesses. Bear in mind that all platforms can be used for B2C companies, but not all are entirely suitable for B2B companies.
Which Platforms to Consider
When it comes to small businesses, they should stick to the major platforms:
LinkedIn is a must-have platform for all small businesses, especially B2B ones. Every manager and other major figures in a company is there, and it’s the only platform in the world that’s specifically business-oriented.To me LinkedIn is absolutely indispensable, and one of the best ways I have of increasing my reach and my eNews subscriptions. I re-post my weekly blog on LinkedIn with a few weeks delay so my web site visitors get priority access. The advantage is that some of the blogs create some buzz, get some discussion going, and have a longer reach than my eNews release of the articles.
As you can already guess, Facebook is the biggest platform and is suitable for anyone and everything. It’s therefore vital for you to have an active presence on this platform, no matter what your goal is. In my own experience, based in Canada, I resisted using Facebook for my B2B firm and kept it for family, thinking it was personal. I was soon educated in other parts of the world Facebook is the platform. And having made the leap I find that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with clients, and creating that personal connection between us. Facebook now allows the management of my corporate Facebook page from the same place as my main Facebook account, Be aware though that when you post on your corporate page your personal friends and followers do not see that post unless they have Liked your corporate page. So I typically re-post the corporate post into my personal account.
Twitter is mostly suitable for B2C, but it’s also useful for B2B companies. It may be used mainly by people to share political views, but it’s also great if you want your company to improve its customer service. I personally am not a Twitter fanatic, and don’t post multiple times a day, but do release linmks to key articles and me eNews through that medium.
Instagram is mostly suited for B2C companies in the fashion, travel, health, art, food and beverage, and e-commerce industries. It’s well-suited if your goal is to bring exposure to a visual product. I like to post images from my business travels, and the odd bit of wisdom I come across in one line quotations. I do separate Instagram for my personal and business by keeping an account for each. Instagram easily allows managing both accounts from the same place.
A Word About Videos
There is no question that social media is moving towards the prominence of video. This should be in your tool box. Don’t make the mistakes I did when I started.
First, I wanted the videos to be of highest quality, so each one took a long time to produce. As a result they seldom got made. Now I go for good enough quality. It is possible to make a perfectly acceptable video from a modern smartphone.
Second, I wanted the videos to be comprehensive. This meant they ended up in the 30 – 60 minute range. I then started making “short” videos in the ten minute range. Surprise, the standard is 60 – 90 seconds. Don’t try to say everything. Make one key point with energy and enthusiasm. Then link the video to a longer text version. If you catch someone’s interest with the video they will continue on to read about the subject on your web site. I publish my videos on a YouTube channel and from there I can use them on the various social media platforms.
Bonus tip: Windows 10 has a built in Video Editor that is easy to use and does everything I need to polish up my video message.
Every small business should consider how to use social media because the only way to have success today is to be present and active on in that space. Customers, whether business or consumer are increasingly shopping on line through their favorite social media. Always create links back to your web site so that if someone is intrigued by one of your social media posts, the full information about you and your company is only a click away.
As the business owner, you need to be familiar enough with social media that you can properly figure it into your overall marketing strategy. It has become an increasingly important tool for keeping you and your company in front of your target audience. Certainly you don’t need to be the one that does all of the posts, but you do need to set the context for those in your company on how to use this amazing network of tools to your best advantage for the success of your company.
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