Can social media help your small business? The short answer is yes. Regardless of your industry, and whether you have a small business or large corporation, social media is a great way to grow your business. Though realize that it takes a lot of time and thought to develop a social media strategy that works best for you and your business, and it will be a while before you will see results.
Luckily, there are some easy-to-use, beneficial tools that are quick to set up and tailored to businesses of all sizes – from solo-entrepreneurs just starting out to established businesses that have a dedicated marketing team. Below are eight of the top used social media tools and sites. Setting each one up should not take more than 30 minutes. They are listed in no particular order.
Eight Social Media Tools for Small Businesses
Facebook – Creating a company branded Facebook page is a great way to stay connected with your customers and potential customers. The average person spends 8 hours a month on Facebook, so take advantage of that! Engage with them by posting pictures, share “behind the scenes” stories from around the office or shop, reward your customers, and run contests.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn the best network to be on if you are a business-to-business (B2B) business. However, business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses can use LinkedIn to network with potential or existing customers, recruit for an all-star team, and network with peers. No matter if you are a B2B or B2C, create a business page and use it to update your followers on your services, let them know if you are hiring, and post updates about how the company is doing.
Twitter – Even if you don’t have time to manage a Twitter account now, start by securing a Twitter handle. This should be your company name or an abbreviation of your company name and/or its product or service. Some companies, depending on the size, also choose to have their owner, President, or CEO be the sole tweeter and “voice” of the company. This is a great way to grow your connection with the general public and listen to what your audience is saying about your company or industry. Use Twitter to praise customers and find new ones, send news updates about your company and the industry at large, and share special discounts or giveaways. Understand that Twitter is often a place where customers will vent their frustrations, but if answered promptly and respectfully, these frustrations often dissipate quickly.
Quora – Quora is another tool that is especially useful for businesses that need to connect with a more tech savvy audience. You can use Quora to easily position yourself as an expert in your product, industry, or service category, and to ultimately lead web traffic back to your company’s website. Build yourself up as an expert by answering questions from other users about your industry. Remember, do not hard sell your business, but rather offer true, quality advice. If you think you have good competitors (and admit it, you do) share their information too so your feedback comes off as balanced and you build yourself up as a trustworthy and reliable resource.
Pinterest – Pinterest is the latest trend and has gained traction quickly. This avenue is great for companies that sell products. Pinterest is a visual sharing site where a person “pins” pictures with links to their favorite products, places, quotes, etc. You can add “pin it” buttons to your website so that if your customers are enjoying your products or content, they can easily share them with their friends and followers on Pinterest. Similarly, you can set up a company Pinterest account, create various “boards” (think of these as categories) and post pictures (whether they are your products or not). Learn more about How to Use Pinterest as a Business from our friends at Lockergnome.
Instagram – This particular avenue requires an iPhone (and is coming to Android phones soon), but is a great way to interact with customers and potential customers on a daily basis. The best way to use Instagram is for building brand awareness and to visually communicate your brand through pictures. Use this avenue to share funny pictures you saw walking down the street, a beautiful sunset you saw while at a client meeting, or of your pooch snuggled up underneath your desk in addition to sharing photos of new products and your services. Check out 23 brands that are using Instagram.
Google Plus – It’s no surprise that Google has jumped into the social game. This is currently still a growing channel, but there are simple things you can do to get your feet wet. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to this channel, start by setting up a company page, fill in the details about your business, and make an attempt to post once a month. Learn more about how you can use Google Plus for your small business.
YouTube – Last but not least is YouTube, the most visited video social site online. This is a great way to show off your products in video format, as opposed to image format. YouTube also lends to setting yourself apart as a business as you can put together a simple informational or educational video, an interview with a client, or customer testimonials. Avoid attempting to make the next viral video, and instead use videos you produce and share on YouTube to reach consumers who prefer visual information as opposed to written information. Learn more about how to use YouTube for your business. And of course, check out our YouTube channel.
Remember that social media is just that – social.
Get involved, listen, and engage. Hard selling does not work in this space. Instead, find ways to make your company, brand, and CEO come off as a person with a human face and a human voice. To stand out from the crowd, be personable, be friendly, and be social.
Photo Credit: Kaptain Kobold