Choosing the best small business social media channel.
One of the questions on an entrepreneur’s mind is which is the best small business social media channel to reach business goals. If done right, social media can help your business grow your bottom line.
Choosing the best way to communicate with customers and prospects on social media can be confusing and overwhelming for business owners.
Social media websites and applications enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. In reality, it is how we communicate today. How many of us would rather send a Facebook message than call someone?
Social media is often just thought of as Twitter or Facebook. However, it is all things digital such as websites, blogs, microblogs, image/video hosting sites, location-based social sites, and social networking platforms. Examples are YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, and Pinterest. There are hundreds of social media platforms currently focused on the general population, for niche interests and country specific.
There is a platform for everyone and everything. Here are the top sites that can help your business with the number of users they currently have:
Facebook — 1.71 billion users
YouTube — Over 1 billion users
LinkedIn — 450 million users
Instagram — 400 million users
Twitter — 320 million users
Pinterest — 100 million users
Snapchat — 100 million users
Think like your customer
Most everyone is on some social media platform with most Americans using an average of five social media platforms. Think about the number of platforms you are on as an individual. Most likely your customers are on the same platforms.
And what’s the first thing many of us do when we wake up? We check our smartphones. We check Facebook or Instagram. Right? That’s what your customers are doing, too. According to Pew Internet Research, two-thirds of all Americans use social media. We are a social media obsessed culture. It is woven into how we communicate on a daily basis.
What does it mean for your business?
Having your business involved in social media is a business essential in 2017 because it is where people go for information. If you are offering products and services, it means your business has to be a part of social media.
Social media is amplified word of mouth. It is megaphone where you can tell thousands of your friends instead of a handful of closest friends and family, as it was pre-social media.
How to choose the best platform
You do not need to be on 50 social media platforms for your business your business to do well. You need to be on the platform where your customers are.
You need to decide the level of engagement on social media. It depends on your level of comfort and resources. Social media is not free. It costs something valuable: your time.
The first question to ask yourself is why are you participating in social media as a business? Then ask the following questions: Who is your customer? Where are they? What are they interested in? What do they need that you can provide?
You need to be where your customers are, and they are mostly likely on one of the top social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Social media isn’t about selling. It is about providing real value to your customers. Think of yourself. Do you like to be stalked with ads and sales pitches? No. Nor do your customers. They want information. Provide them with it. Your content should be education, fun, and promotion.
Remember social media is one communications channel like advertising or media relations in your marketing mix. Integrate it.
This column was originally published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on May 25, 2017, and nationally distributed to over 300 media outlets through the Tribune Content Agency.