Choosing the Best Social Media Network for Your Small Business

“Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, oh my!”

Yes, like Dorothy waking up in Oz, determining which social media are right for your small business can be daunting. And like Dorothy, you may not know which direction to go, especially since you might not want all your time to be eaten by Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, oh my...

There are guidelines that can help you decide and questions to ask yourself about what you want when using social media for business.

This post will give you an overview of the strengths of some of the top social media platforms and Part 2 will focus on what you want from your social media campaign to help you determine which networks will work best for your business.

The Big-Name Networks: Chat with Your Fans and Friends

Best Social Media for Your Small BusinessFacebook offers quantity. This Goliath of all social media networks has over 50% of all households in the United States and approximately 900 million accounts worldwide. FB has personal pages where you communicate with people on your friends list, and Business Fan Page, where you can interact with those individuals who like your page. You can post pictures, videos, questions and fans can comment back as well. In addition to making your company more visible via Facebook, you may find some of your fans becoming some of your customers.

LinkedIn is designed for professional use, and is fabulous for building business-to-business connections. It has also developed the specialty market of social media Human Resources. If you want to cast your hiring net onto the social media seas, you won’t do better than casting it into the LinkedIn lagoon. LinkedIn also features an effective system of introducing people to one another via referrals from mutual acquaintances.

Twitter has developed the art of “sound bite” communication in social media marketing. Your Tweets cannot be longer than 140 characters, including spaces. So think in terms of a headline when you think of Twitter. It’s great to garner attention for blogs you’re releasing (linked back to your website) and promotions. With Twitter you get the word out into a universe of now, now, now, because the Twitter feed keeps on rolling by. Send out Tweets more than once to capture attention from different viewing audiences. Tweeters are very expressive so expect to hear responses from your followers.

Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook, and offers the additional benefits of including all your posts and other activity in search results, massively boosting your SEO activities. If you are primarily a local based business this network has the added benefit of also being Google’s online business directory serving local business and customers. With a Google+ business page, customer reviews and ratings can be posted as a part of your business’s search result information.

Show Your Business off with Visual-Centric Social Media Networks

YouTube is a mini film festival in cyberspace that never closes and grows exponentially daily, both in content and viewership. Recommendations for YouTube video lengths are 30 seconds to 3 minutes if you want your viewer to watch it all. This is a great medium for an up-close and personal“Show & Tell” of your products and services, increasing people’s understanding of what you do by leaps and bounds. Linking all your videos to your website and other social media networks gives you promotional mileage and consequently a larger viewing audience.

Pinterest is the hot new social media darling, and with good reason. This rising star statistically has the most rapid growth rate, proportionately, of any of the social media networks since its release in March of 2010. Pinterest is self-defined as “a tool for collecting and organizing the things you love.”Particularly good for businesses that have great visual images to share, like the leisure travel industry for example, the online scrapbook can help your business become collected and loved by pinners globally.

Explore some of the key questions to ask yourself about what you need and want from your social media in Part 2 of “Choosing the Best Social Media for your Small Business.”

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Doug Hay & Associates and a clickable link back to this page.