Which Types of Social Media Best Suit My Small Business?
Good question! You don’t want to spread yourself too thin or spend too much time cultivating posts on one type of social media when your time would’ve been spent better on another.
With countless social options, you need to pick the best 2-4 that cater to your business’s target market and ones that will be able to showcase your business’s products/services/skills.
Below I’ve given brief descriptions of the major social media channels and who uses them, as well as, some suggestions for how each one of these channels can be used by your business.
The world’s largest social network. Facebook allows users to interact with their friends and the pages they follow by “Liking” and commenting on posts. These posts may be pictures, videos, articles, etc.
- Target Users: All ages and demographics–2.27 Billion monthly active users
- Social Media Best For: businesses to post short updates accompanied by pictures, videos, articles, etc. and interact with followers and other pages they’ve “liked.” Pretty much every business should be on Facebook!
Twitter allows users to “Tweet” very short (140 character max) updates to their followers. Mostly just text, this social network is updated with new Tweets very quickly and very often. Some of the most popular content on the site is news and brand awareness.
- Target Users: Educated (some college) adults
- Social Media Best For: building your business’s brand. Many people use Twitter to directly interact with different companies or brands. Also good for sharing industry news or links to articles.
Having a blog allows you and your business the freedom to share almost anything you want. Generally, people think of blogs as longer written posts, but you can share pictures, videos, etc. on a blog too. One of the biggest benefits of a blog is that your blog is its own entity, so different than Facebook, your blog content is the only content being shown when someone visits your blog site.
- Target Users: People looking to learn about a topic or follow your specific posts (great if you can build an audience who wants to read/see your indispensable content).
- Social Media Best For: businesses who want to educate their followers, by providing “how-tos,” procedures, news, resources, and more. Also, great for storytelling.
Check out this article about which blogging platform to use.
Pinterest is a very visual way to allows users to, essentially, pin their interests. So, users create a profile and on their individual profile they can create different “boards” and “pin” different pictures to their different boards. Then, users can follow other users’ or their boards.
- Target Users: young women
- Social Media Best For: businesses who regularly have visual content to share. Your business could create a specific board and then pin all of your images that fit the theme of the board, which would allow your followers to see, in one place, all of your related content.
Different from the other social platforms mentioned, instagram is primarily a mobile application for smart phones. It allows users to post one photo at a time, accompanied by a brief caption. Users can follow others to see their updated posts, as well as, comment and like each other’s photos.
- Target Users: Teens and young adults with smart phones
- Social Media Best For: businesses who are committed to posting artful photos. Users are expecting to see well composed photos with a diverse range of subjects.
YouTube is a website on which videos are shared. Users or businesses can create a channel and on their channel they can share their own videos. Users can also comment on different videos, as well as, like/dislike videos.
- Target Users: All ages and demographics around the world (second most visited website in the world)
- Social Media Best For: businesses who want to create how-to/demo videos, product reviews, interviews with industry experts, live Q&A, testimonials, or want to showcase their video work, etc. Youtube is a very successful way of doing online marketing, your job is to figure out how to use this tool to showcase your business.
LinkedIn is mainly used as a professional networking site because it allows users to create a profile to showcase their work experience, education, and relevant skills. Businesses can also make profiles to share their business, as well as, interact with other users.
- Target Users: Business professionals
- Social Media Best For: finding quality employees, becoming an authority in your field, targeting potential customers.
Yelp is a rating website, on which, a business will create a profile and then users will rate the business between 1-5 stars. In addition to the rating, users can leave a comment about their experience at the business, as well as, share photos of their interaction with the business.
- Target users: well educated 20s and 30s
- Social Media Best For: service related businesses (retail, restaurants, etc.)