Major companies, like Starbucks, understand that not all social networks are created equal – and different social networks reach different audiences in very different ways. These companies employ unique marketing strategies for a myriad of social channels, oftentimes producing original content daily for social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Small-to-medium sized businesses want to capitalize on the same networks large corporations use to reach valuable audiences, but they face a unique challenge. With less time and smaller budgets for marketing and social media, how do local businesses choose which social networks to focus their energy and resources on?
1. Realize that you have to start small(ish)
If you haven’t created social pages for your business yet, or if your social media accounts are not well-maintained, it’s important to first take a step back and prioritize. You can’t go from having no social media marketing to having well-managed accounts on every social network overnight. Focus on two social outlets to start. This may not sound like a lot, but well-maintained social media accounts should be thoughtful and can take time.
2. Choose the best social networks for your business
Each social network reaches a different audience and serves a different purpose, so it’s important to pick the one(s) that best fit your business and your business goals. Check out our quick social media guide below to get some ideas for picking the best social network for your business.
Facebook is perfect for the business that:
Is looking to reach the broadest possible audience: Did you know that 66% of online adults use Facebook? As the most widely-used social network in America, Facebook is the best way to reach the biggest audience.
Wants a low time commitment: Don’t have much time to devote to posting and maintaining a social media account? Since we recommend posting between 4 and 6 times per week, Facebook is a low time commitment.
Twitter is perfect for the business that:
Wants to engage and connect with a younger audience: 27% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18-29. Twitter is a fantastic way to connect with a younger audience that enjoys engaging with and promoting businesses online.
Is looking to target potential customers and engage with specific followers: Twitter has great search functionality. Hashtags and location-tagging are great ways to find potential customers in your area. Never try to sell your product or services via direct message or tweet. Instead, search for people in your community who are tweeting about your industry and products, and then join in the conversation! You’re an important source of news and information. When you are generous with your content online, people will start to come to you.
Has more time to devote to social media: Twitter is more time consuming than other social networks because it relies on a steady stream of posts. We recommend tweeting 8-10 times per day, in addition to responding to any messages or tweets you receive.
LinkedIn is perfect for the business that:
Is looking to engage with a middle-aged, higher-earning population: While only 20% of internet users use LinkedIn, it is important to note that LinkedIn represents a valuable demographic of engaged users. 47% of these users are between the ages of 30-64, 34% of which make more than $75,000, with 36% of users being college educated.
Wants to serve as a thought leader: LinkedIn is a fantastic way to share and discuss trends and news in your industry. By being generous with insightful commentary and perspective, you can establish your business as a thought leader in your industry over time.
Pinterest is perfect for the business that:
Is looking to reach a female audience: Although only 12% of online adults say they use Pinterest, nearly a fifth of all online women (19%) are on the image-based social network.
Is creative or community-based: Pinterest is all about the images. Small businesses like restaurants, contractors, craftspeople, designers, and schools will find Pinterest especially useful because they have easier access to original and found visuals.
Is looking to create an online portfolio:Pinterest is a fantastic way to share original photography, images, graphics and other creative material with a wider audience. If you choose to share your own material, you may opt to include a tasteful branding watermark, so that your content is tied to your business.
Choose wisely! By picking the best social network to fit your target audience, and understanding how to best use that network, your business can capitalize on an important means of reaching, engaging with, and capturing new audiences.
Trying to determine which social networks are right for you business? Download our FREE ebook to learn more about social networks from Pinterest to Facebook and more!
Want to learn more about how Propel can help? Check out PropelSOCIAL!