Is Social Media Right for Every Small Business?
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Top Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses
We could answer this in one word (yes!), but let’s get into some more detail about small businesses and social media. You need it.
It’s can be one of your biggest sources of website traffic, it raises awareness, and helps build a community online among your fans. And, aside from advertising, it’s free.
In this article we’re going to cover the top social media platforms that are beneficial for small businesses, as well as dig into the specific benefits. We’ll end with some of the concerns as well, because we believe in fully educating small business owners.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for small businesses, and that’s a good thing! Customizing the social media platforms you’re active on means you can better shape your online presence to fit where your current and potential customers live online.
Even though some may claim to never use Facebook, the statistics tell a different story. 68% of Americans use Facebook, and 74% of those use it daily. This means that posting 4 to 5 times per week will help you reach those frequent users, especially if your ideal customer is women between 25-34, as they are the biggest demographic group. Articles and videos perform best on this platform.
Instagram is an ideal visual medium because if its focus on images and videos. Its core users also skew young, with 72% of teens using the platforms. Grab attention with bright, high-contrast images, and be sure to use relevant hashtags. Instagram Stories should be used regularly, as well, which can help your profile discovery.
With 71% of Americans getting their news from Twitter, there’s a great growth potential for technology, news, and social issue companies. Be sure to use this to your advantage by posting concise information every day, as the lifespan of a tweet is mere minutes.
Pinterest is for more than recipes and DIYs! There are 300 million users worldwide, with 85 million of those located in the US. Creatives are active on Pinterest discovering tools and inspiration, and Pinterest drives a significant amount of traffic to company websites. Images with descriptive text perform best.
LinkedIn may not be your first choice for social media, but its 150 million users in the US miss you. 40% of users are active every day, which means you may have found your new favorite platform. This is ideal for business professionals like career coaches, and the best content is typically articles and stories shared as posts.
The Downsides of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media wasn’t what it was five years. Organic, or unpaid, reach has decreased, which means you won’t reach the same number of people you would have while the platforms were still in their early stages. This is due, in part, to changes in how the platform operates, but it’s also because there are more users. More users equal more congestion and more difficulty standing out.
There are ways around this, though. The first is to focus on creating the best content possible for your core audience. If it doesn’t help your ideal customer learn more about your niche or product, then it’s not content you should be creating. The better the fit and more unique the content, the better your posts will perform.
The second is to run paid advertising on the platforms you’re active on. Facebook and Instagram Ads are the most common, but Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn also offer advertising. Social media advertising is much more cost efficient than traditional methods like print, billboards, or radio. They can be launched quickly while also seeing results fairly quickly as well.
Even though social media isn’t perfect and won’t do all the work for you, it’s still a valuable source of website traffic and brand awareness for small businesses. Focus on the platforms where your ideal customer lives online, creating the best content possible, and testing often.
Looking for specialized small business support online? Let’s talk. We’re a small business ally and would love to partner with you to reach your goals. Give us a call at (415) 640-8009.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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