Embracing social media is key for small businesses hoping to strengthen their customer relationships in an engaging way. But with so many social media platforms across the web, it’s can be overwhelming to maintain a presence on each. A better alternative is to be active on those sites that can help your business most, but how do you know which one is best for your business? We break it down for you here.
On Facebook you create a business page where you can post updates, photo, video, and connect with “fans,” potential customers, and others in your industry.
Audience: Facebook has over 800 million active users, closely split between women (58%) and men (42%). Contrary to popular belief that social media is only popular with younger generations, 54% of users are actually aged 35-54, with 67% making $25,000-$75,000.
G+ works like Facebook in that you can interact more dynamically with your social network. But G+ allows you to compartmentalize your social networks, meaning you can tailor certain messages to certain contacts.
Audience: G+ is still relatively new, however, the majority of early adopters are male (63%) compared to female (37%). The site user audience also skews younger than other social networks with the majority of users being between age 18-34.
- Businesses with consumers who are younger/early adopters.
- Creating more targeted social interactions via “groups,” allowing you to send special discounts just to repeat customers, for example.
Pinterest is a virtual pin board that allows users to “pin” photos/links they like, then organize them into boards. Other users can like, comment, and re-pin these links.
Audience: Pinterest’s popularity has exploded. The site’s estimated to have received nearly 11 million visits during one week in December (almost 40 times the number of visits six months earlier). It is definitely female-dominated (83%), and 70% of users make $25,000-$75,000.
- Gaining exposure for products, particularly creative or design-specific products (every post requires a photo).
- Businesses with visual goods that also want to engage with their consumers and industry.
Tumblr is a simplified blog that lets you post many things, including text, photos, links, music, videos, with the added benefit of being able to post from your phone, browser, email, etc.
Audience: Tumblr is a newer social media platform that is more popular with younger demographics: 72% of users are under age 44, with more women (62%) than men (38%) using it.
- Tech-savvy businesses that want to use the highly customizable interface as an extension of their brand (some moderate HTML tinkering is required).
- Those on-the-go — you can update from mobile devices and set posts to publish later.
- Businesses with content that is highly visual — half of all posts are photos.
Twitter is a social media site that allows you to post 140-character messages to interact with your networks.
Audience: The majority of Twitter users are female (62%), though males (38%) also contribute; 71% of users are ages 25- 54; 63% of users make $25,000-$75,000.
- Companies that don’t have a lot of time but want to stay connected.
- Finding out who’s talking about your company, allowing you to engage directly to do things like promote new products, provide customer service, conduct market research by asking questions, get feedback, etc.
This video-sharing website allows users to upload their own video clips, including tutorials and video blogs.
Audience: YouTube attracts men and women almost equally, but notably one of the largest segments of users are those age 45-54 (30%), followed by 35-44 (22%), and 25-34 (18%).
- Businesses that provide services or products that are conducive to a visual medium, such as tutorials, demonstrations, etc.
- Brands that can properly produce (and benefit from) quality videos.
Which social media platforms do you use for your small business? Tell us about it in the comments.