Small Business Tips: What social media channel is right for your business?
May 25, 2012
By Jason Feller, PowerSites Content & Community Manager
As I detailed in the previous PowerSites blog post, social media can be an extremely powerful tool for small businesses. It’s only effective, however, if you know what you are doing.
In this Small Business Tips entry, I will detail the differences between each of the five most prominent social media channels and highlight which channels work best for which businesses.
With over 900 million global users, Facebook is the predominant social media channel and it’s also an extremely effective tool for small businesses.
What makes it such an effective tool is that it allows potential new customers to hear about your business, while also allowing you to reward your existing loyal customers.
The best part is that each feeds off the other. How you ask? Well, every time someone “Checks In” to your establishment, comments on your page, Likes your page or interacts with your page in almost any way, an alert goes out to everyone they are friends with.
Say you offer an exclusive coupon to your existing Facebook fans. When someone signs up for that coupon (presumably a repeat customer) an alert will go out to all of their friends that they signed up for that coupon. This then exposes you to an entirely new group of people that might not be familiar with your establishment.
Businesses that should be on Facebook: B2C (business-to-consumer) businesses do best on Facebook, but really any type of business can utilize this channel to their advantage.
By most accounts, Twitter is the second biggest social media channel behind Facebook. While it lacks some of the features available on Facebook, it does have one significant advantage.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter does allow businesses to find and interact with existing and potential customers directly. This can provide small businesses with a huge benefit. Not only does it allow you to quickly address customer service issues for loyal customers, it also allows you to search for new customers.
For example, if you own a pizzeria in San Diego, you can search “pizza San Diego” within Twitter and find out who is tweeting about that topic. You can then tweet them directly and let them know about your business.
Businesses that should be on Twitter: Restaurants, stores, and home services should all have a Twitter presence. It is not as effective for businesses that don’t offer a tangible product or service like car insurance or career colleges.
This social media channel is very different than Facebook and Twitter.
It offers two primary benefits to small businesses:
- As the leading social media channel for career networking, it helps small businesses find new talent to help fill their job openings. For example, if you need a new bookkeeper, you can search through LinkedIn to find professional bookkeepers and you might be able to fill the position that way without having to pay for a jobs classified ad.
- It specializes in helping connect small businesses with each other. For example, if you own a dental practice, you can use LinkedIn to look up companies that produce dental chairs. You can then look up their directory of LinkedIn employees and find the appropriate contact person to talk to about potentially getting a deal on dental chairs.
Businesses that should be on LinkedIn: This is the one social network that is especially tailored for B2B businesses. That said, there is no reason every small business shouldn’t use this resource to recruit future employees.
Google’s entry into the social media space has really yet to take off, but it’s still a potentially powerful tool. It is very similar to Facebook with a couple of notable exceptions.
- It features “Hangout” technology (essentially an online video chat) that allows small businesses to hold a type of public forum with their customers and take questions.
- It features “Ripples” that allow you to see how many people your posts have spread to.
The real key to Google+ is that it is intertwined with Google’s search engine, and likely be even further in the future, so for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, it makes sense to maintain a page.
Businesses that should be on Google+: Information Technology businesses (Google+ has a heavy tech audience) and businesses that rely heavily on SEO for their marketing.
Also owned by Google, this social media channel is exclusively video driven.
YouTube allows you to set up a video channel for your business that can feature all types of videos ranging from traditional commercials to tutorials to testimonials.
It also allows you to set up a profile describing your business and it allows you to interact with other video channels via messaging, commenting or sharing.
Businesses that should be on YouTube: If you put a major portion of your marketing to television or other types of video advertising, then you should have a presence on YouTube. B2B businesses can also use YouTube to effectively market and reach out to other businesses.
February 20, 2020