Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Small Business?
A new social media platform seems to pop up every day.
As a small business owner, you’re an expert on what your business does, but social media might not fall as easily into your wheelhouse. Given the amount – and complexity — of social media platforms, it can be difficult to assess what platforms are right for your business.
To clear up any confusion, my friend Melanie Franke over at Go Digital talked to Jill Shaw, a social media specialist at Infusionsoft (one of my personal favorite companies in the world right now), producers of CRM and marketing automation software for small businesses, about how to leverage the five tested and here-to-stay social platforms and which ones are right (or wrong) for your business.
As a small business owner, you’re an expert on what your business does, but social media might not fall as easily into your wheelhouse.
- Shaw Says: Facebook is the most used platform. Since 71 percent of adult Internet users are on Facebook, it has the largest audience, making it the easiest for any small business to be on, regardless of industry, product or service. This is true with one caveat: if your business is a slightly more taboo topic, like divorce lawyers, Facebook might not be right for you because people won’t want to be seen “liking” that topic.
- What to Post: Photos from your store, company updates, interesting industry updates, special deals and events going on at your store.
- Small Business to Emulate: Cone Palace, a burgers and shakes restaurant in Kokomo, Indiana, regularly posts on Facebook with special events, holiday posts and daily flavors. Their approach is simple but authentically local.
- Shaw Says: If you’re more of a medium-sized business with multiple locations, Twitter is the best channel for you because it fosters interaction. It’s not always great for smaller businesses because people usually go there for bigger brands and specific personalities that closely monitor their Twitter account.
- What to Post: Your own content, links to other industry-relevant content, brand personality posts (i.e. quirky or off-the-cuff remarks or updates).
- Small Business to Emulate: Michael Sinkin, whose Twitter handle is @SinkinFeeling, is a dentist in New York City. He uses the platform to engage with potential customers, as well as the general public, and offers advice on how to remedy their issue.
- Shaw Says: This platform is more for B2B businesses and doesn’t always go far for small businesses with a consumer-facing product. However, if you have business expertise that you’d like to share, you’re able to create posts in which you can share your business insights, which can raise levels of visibility for you and your small business.
- What to Post: If it’s right for your small business, post your own content, relevant external content and job postings. Also, for any small business, you should consider joining a LinkedIn group that is relevant to your industry or small businesses.
- Small Business to Emulate: 1871, a coworking space for designers and entrepreneurs in Chicago’s infamous Merchandise Mart, posts updates from the companies using its space and has garnered more than 4,000 followers.
- Shaw Says: Visuals can be represented in a variety of ways here, but if you want to be on this platform, you need to first consider whether your product or service is visually interesting and how it can be represented through photos. Additionally, the quality of your photos is extremely important here.
- What to Post: Photos of your product and customers using your product, business outings that show your company culture.
- Small Business to Emulate: Bang Bang Pie in Chicago posts their pie availability, staff achievements and thanks, enticing biscuit creations and even gives shout-outs to other local restaurants — all in Instagram-worthy photos.
- Shaw Says: Pinterest is great for lifestyle-related products like food, fashion and home décor, but pet products and animals also do very well here. It’s great if you run a blog for your small business because people can pin and share photos from your posts, so it’s important to add your company’s logo to your sharable images.
- What to Post: Your own products and services, beautiful photos, curate boards relative to your business, such as “Summer Inspiration” or “Holiday Gifts” that include both your products and ideas from elsewhere.
- Small Business to Emulate: Maggie Odle, a realtor in Nashville, uses her Pinterest board to share advice on home buying and selling. By offering these tips online, she’s positioning herself as tech-savvy, informative and friendly realtor.