As a small business owner, the question you should be asking yourself isn’t if you should be using social media, but rather how you should be using social media. Admittedly, if you’re trying to keep a handle on things, it’s better to set up what you can logistically maintain. There are a lot of options out there– Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Each channel has its own unique advantages and disadvantages as well as devoted audiences that use them. When we first take a look at our client’s channels, one of two things appear: Either a company is completely under utilizing channels or over-advertising and missing out on valuable connections with customers, OR in a good-hearted attempt to use social media have decided that any and all channels will work — and they don’t maintain any of them properly, if at all. Below we will differentiate between five of the most popular social platforms to help you decide which channels are right for your company.
Facebook is the big kahuna of social networks. With more than 640 million users, it is considered a staple in most social media campaigns. It is a friend-based network where users mutually add each other. Businesses should use Facebook Pages to interact with customers. It is especially useful for B2c companies who want to share product images and videos, hold contests and sweepstakes, or host events. The type of content posted on Facebook is typically fun and interactive, but you don’t want to go overboard posting otherwise people may hide your posts. It is a simple and effective way to build your brand. Warning: Using a Personal Profile for business purposes can get you into hot water, plus doesn’t allow you to take advantage of the great analytic reports that are natively built into Business Pages.
Twitter is a micro-blogging network that focuses on what is happening in the moment. It is very fast paced and each Tweet has a life of about 1 hour. So, unlike Facebook, you would want to send out a stream of fresh and interesting content throughout the day. As long as it’s interesting, content can be serious or funny in nature. Twitter is home to more than 175 million users that are ready and willing to engage with your company online. Whether you’re willing to put the time and effort into conversing with your customers is up to you!
FourSquare is a geolocation based network that is primarily used on mobile devices such as cell phones. Though it can’t rival Facebook or Twitter numbers, it still has 8 million users checking in across the nation. Each time a user checks in to your business it will be displayed to their friends, helping your business gain exposure. It is a great B2C network that allows companies to not only draw in new customers, but reward loyal customers as well. If you’re interested getting your company started on Foursquare, be sure to check out our blog post, Geolocation Deals: Has Your Business Checked In?
YouTube is a video-sharing based social network which also happens to be the 2nd biggest search engine in the world (just behind Google!) It has a whopping 500 million users. Both individual users and companies can upload material to YouTube. This is ideal for companies that might offer a product or service that can be shown or has commercial advertisements to share. (We love the Cravendale ads!) It’s also useful as these videos can then be posted to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and more (which is also good for SEO, hint hint)! Just like with any social network, the content you’re posting should be of quality. So please, no 10-second fuzzy clip shot on your cellphone.
Remember, in order to select the right channel for your business you need to understand the differences between each platform and the audiences that use them. Evaluate your target audience and look at which network might fit with that group. If you still need help figuring out which channels might be right for you, please contact us, as we can help you eliminate the guesswork. It’s okay to be choosy and in fact, it will really help you be more effective in social media.