You’ve built your website, you’ve optimized it, you’ve even invested in some paid advertising and your site is doing well, but now you are looking for other avenues to bring traffic and customers in. Social media can be a huge boon for any website, but knowing how to conduct yourself and your business on each channel is nuanced, too.
There are anywhere from three to six social media channels that can help a given business attract good attention to themselves while building a loyal fan base.
Brief aside: Facebook just announced that they have over 2 billion monthly users. Which is about a quarter of the world’s population. Given that about 40% of the world’s population is online (roughly 3.6 billion people), that means that 55% – and growing – of the world’s internet using population is on Facebook at least once a month. That is an incredible, absolutely massive, unprecedented in the history of the world kind of reach. You could potentially post on Facebook and have it seen by over half of all of the people in the world that use the internet.End aside.
Facebook is like a neighborhood, which is hugely important for small businesses. Considering that most small businesses rely heavily on on a good local customer base, the ability to reach outside of your immediate network is fantastic. While ads and promotions have become pretty second nature on Facebook – does everyone have at least one friend who constantly posts about their Herbalife opportunity or something similar? For the most part, folks aren’t on Facebook to buy face cream from a friend or to get involved in the latest pyramid scheme. They are looking to share photos, thoughts, articles, and ideas in general. Facebook is like the block party in the neighborhood.
Small businesses should treat it accordingly. You are meant to be a resource and Facebook gives anyone a way to reach out to you, for better or worse. It brings a certain amount of transparency with it and furthers your connection to a specific community through your address, a different community through your business details, and yet more communities through any of your followers networks. It can be overwhelming, but posting to Facebook, engaging your customers in a neighborly, informational way, and being a resource can be a massive win for your business.
You might not think of YouTube as a social media site at first, but given the amount of monthly users, the amount of media that is constantly being added, and the ability for users to communicate with each other, it is most definitely a social media site. For a small business, making and posting videos might seem time consuming and irrelevant, but positioning yourself as a resource is more than worth it.
Think about all of the instructional videos on YouTube. Some of the trades do this best. Think of the last time you needed to change the oil in your car, or you needed to fix a drain pipe in a sink, or learn a new way to wear your hair. Chances are pretty good that you have used YouTube as a resource. But what if you are a retailer? Post review videos. What about an insurance company? Informational videos about the different types of insurance would be helpful. No matter the industry you are in, you can utilize YouTube.
If you have a small business or any size business for that matter, you should be on LinkedIn. While you should be friendly, informative, and transparent on Facebook and a resource on YouTube, LinkedIn is where you can position yourself as an expert, a thought leader, and a company that people want to do business with. Sharing business success, hirings, awards, new clients, and expertly written articles are all ways of positioning yourself and your business in a way that attracts other thought leaders and businesses to you.
A lot of business to business communication can happen on LinkedIn. It is a great place for potential hires to find and research your business. The same applies for companies who are looking to do business with you. The nice thing about LinkedIn is that you can control the amount of transparency while participating in the business community that you have built for yourself.
While Twitter might only have half the users of Instagram, it rounds out the three or four social channels that can be useful for any small business. Twitter might be the place where people can spout off their opinions without censor, but it is also a great source of news and the spreading of ideas. Write a blog post? Share it on Twitter. Read a compelling article? Share it on Twitter and tag the author of the article. Got a question you are having trouble answering? Ask the Twitterverse. Attending a conference? Then they will probably have a hashtag that you can post to and engage with other conference goers.
Twitter is a great place to engage with other thought leaders, writers, and engaged customers. Some of the biggest companies have had customer service tweets go viral, which can be a great short-term win. Like Facebook, anyone on Twitter can reach out to you and tag you and, like Facebook, it is a double edged sword. It allows for direct contact from your customers, but also for the trolls of the internet to reach out to you.
You can make Instagram work for your business. If a dermatologist can post videos of zits and cysts being expressed and gain a following – seriously, then just about anyone in any industry can make Instagram work for them.
It is a much more informal way to keep followers updated. Attending a conference? Share pictures, like Twitter, they will more than like have a hashtag to use on Instagram. Rolling out a new product? Share it. Do you have a cool office? Take a video or pictures and share it. Office parties, lunches out, happenings, pretty much anything that helps put a face to your company can be posted to Instagram.
Yes, the home of DIYers and crafty folks the world over can be a great place to share information. As there are promoted pins, you can also use paid advertising to your advantage. I would recommend Pintrest for anyone in the professional services, trades, and eCommerce sites. Like Instagram, you can post pictures of your projects or products and share them with other users. You never know whose board your post could end up on.
Snapchat is a bit more volatile, but it is used a lot by news sources, “news sources,” and pretty much any website that is trying to reach out to the millennials that predominantly use Snapchat. You can create stories, follow users, and engage with followers in potentially the most transparent form of social media out there. While Snapchat has some potential, it is also relatively new and the engagement and possibility of building a loyal customer base through Snapchat is, as yet, untested.
We will update our notes on social media regularly, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of social media professionals!