Don’t fret. I am here to help. Before we dig in, take a breath, and repeat this mantra:
You do not need to be everywhere. A quality social experience is better than quantity.
Okay now that we have that out of the way we can focus on how to determine which social networks are relevant to your business and then which ones you should put your time into developing.
Some questions to consider when starting :
- What are my goals for social media?
- What social sites do my customers use?
- Which social sites do I enjoy using?
- What type of content do I plan to share?
The Top Social Networks for Business
This is a helpful infographic to provide a quick breakdown of the major social media networks that we will discuss.
Here is my general ranking of the social networks for most consultants, small businesses, or solo-practitioners. The biggest caveat I would point out is if you are in retail or any design field then Pinterest and Instagram should rank higher on your list. And again, you will need to decide what works best for your business and circumstances. We don’t subscribe to a “one size fits all” rule.
If you can only choose one social network site at this time I would encourage you to use LinkedIn. It is one of the oldest and largest of the social sites. It is also the only one that was designed with business in mind. It is great for building your professional network, finding potential clients/customers, and sharing content (typically you will see blog posts or news articles being shared). It is also an excellent tool for invitations to events you many be hosting.
Twitter is all about the quick and succinct interaction. Twitter can be a useful tool for communicating directly with your customers and keeping them abreast of your latest news, events or promotions. Important to note that since Twitter is a fast paced environment you need to make sure you dedicate time, preferably everyday, to engage in conversations and share content otherwise you will fall off your follower’s radar.
My personal approach on Twitter (@devinrdevries) is to share a mixture of personal interest and business. This is what I feel works for me. On the flip side I pretty much only use Facebook for personal sharing.
Facebook users respond well to pictures, stories (news and aspirational), and promotional deals. Recently Facebook has changed some rules for how brand page content gets served up so if you’re considering using Facebook for your business, you should understand that you will likely need to dedicate an advertising budget for promoting your content. In order for a brand page’s posts to show to its fans, reach must be amplified by paid promotion. Without paid promotion, Facebook reportedly shows brand page content to a mere 1 to 2 percent of a page’s followers.
Pinterest & Instagram
These sites are all about the visuals. You must provide beautiful and clear images for people to engage with. It’s also a transporting experience for users. They want to see inspiring designs, delicious food, beautiful clothes and DIY tips. As a retailer it’s a great tool for getting your product shared by a wide audience. Pinterest has made some recent developments with business in mind such as performance analytics and promoted pins.
As an example my hobby/side business is floral design and wedding flowers. I use Pinterest as The Chic Florist to engage with potential customers and get inspiration for myself.
My advice is to not be afraid of social media. Jump in and try different sites out to see how others are using them and which seems like a good fit for you and your company. You don’t want to hate using it otherwise you won’t keep up with it and then it no longer is an effective tool.
Let me know if you have any questions. Also if anyone has tips on what has worked for their business, please share.