So social media is a great marketing tool for my small business, but with all the options out there which one should I use?
You seem to see those silly icons everywhere, keep reading about it in the press, and no matter how hard you try, your teenagers still spend way too much time on it. Social media has taken the world by storm, and it is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Despite that annoying friend who can’t stop posting yet another adorable picture of her nephews on Facebook, social media has many advantages, especially for a small business looking for an inexpensive way to get the word out there.
What makes social media such a powerful marketing tool, is the vast number of prospective clients it has the potential to connect you with. In fact, social media has totally changed the marketing game, opening doors the likes of which never existed in previous more traditional marketing avenues.
But the question arises-which platform should I use for my particular business? On the one hand you don’t want to flood your advertisements and website with too many icons, but at the same time want to reach as many prospective clients as possible. The answer, I believe, lies in what type of business you have, and the nature of its products and services. Lets take a look at some of todays hottest social media platforms and discuss what makes them uniquely fit for different types of business.
Facebook is the biggest player in the game with 1.1 billion users. With a user base that big and diverse just about every business should have a Facebook page. By racking up “likes” and “shares” your company can gain instant popularity. It can also serve as a great place to launch contests to boost popularity. In his blog Smart Passive Income, Pat Flynn shares some great tips on how to boost your presence on Facebook. (http://www.
Foursquare is a location based social network, which makes it great for a business that’s on the move, such as a food truck or a pop-up restaurant. It allows followers to track where your business is at any given time. It can also prove popular for your neighborhood “mom and pop” type stores, attracting clients to keep coming back in order to win status’s such as mayor. You’ll be surprised how many people live for this stuff.
Instagram is a photo sharing social network, which makes it a great tool for getting up to date pictures of your products out to clients. A fashion boutique who just got a new line into their store can utilize Instagram to immediately show that look to clients, attract likes, and eventually bring customers who want the product into their stores.
Yelp is a online review based website which allows clients to rank their experience with your business. This can be utilized for a broad array of businesses but seems to be most popular with restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. While this can allow for increased popularity, keep in mind that bad reviews can just as easily have a negative effect on your business.
In my opinion Twitter can be one of the best ways to market a small business. In the simplest term “Tweeting” is like sending out a mass text message to many people at once. With over 200 million users it can be a tremendous tool to get out short and timely messages to a lot of people. It can also serve as a phenomenal customer service tool, with people tweeting a company directly with their questions or complaints, and receiving a quick and personalized response. I have utilized this when dealing with everything from boutique restaurants, to fortune 400 corporations and can attest that it works like a charm.
In closing, it is important to note that while social media allows a business to connect to client in a more personal way, your page should still convey a professional presence. A great logo on top of your page can accomplish just that.
That covers most of the major social networks out there that are used by small businesses as marketing tools. Which one do you feel fits your business’s needs best? Let us know in the comments below.