How to Choose the Best Social Media for your Small Business

Congratulations! You’ve given birth to…a business! Now What? Well it’s time to learn how to choose the best social media for your small business.

But how do you know what social media to use? There are so many options, your head will spin. With all those people online, there are more and more social media networks targeting niches, so how do you know which one will procure the best engagement?

Sure, conceiving your bouncing baby business was super fun, and you’ve been planning for it’s arrival. You’ve filed all the right legal stuff, hired an accountant, created a logo, created a brand identity, have a unique proposition, and rented your office. But now you are up late every night, worrying.

You and your partner don’t know what to do. Why aren’t customers fighting for our services? After all, we bought a big ad in the local business journal, and joined the chamber. We have a sweet sign on the building and made a bunch of cheesy flyers.

You have to go where buyers are, and they are online. Almost ALL OF THEM.

digital marketing, website design, graphic design, vancouver wa6,586,013,574 searches a day worldwide with 79% of Americans shopping online. 

And the best way to get customers is to market on social media.

It seems like there’s about a million social sites. Which ones to choose? Well, it depends.

Your type of business and the people you are trying to reach will determine which ones to use. Based on Pew Research Center findings, DMR Stats and the social networks themselves, we’ve complied some interesting facts. Here is our guide: How to Choose the Best Social Media for Small Business.

The Big 7

Pinterest

Over 100 million monthly users, a social network that curates information in the form of images that you can categorize into “boards” full of image “pins”. So it’s like a huge digital pin board of things that interest you, hence the name.

You can also follow another business or person’s profile or just certain curated boards. There are different levels of privacy available. This network is popular for pinning and sharing recipes, memes, merchandise, art, fashion, gardening, architecture and more. Pinner fun facts:

  • Over 92% of all pinners use it to plan purchases, making it a great platform for retail businesses.
  • 72% use Pinterest to decide what to buy when offline
  • 87% have purchased something because they saw it on Pinterest
  • Personal Boards
  • Business Boards

Pinterest also offers advertising

Facebook

Probably the most well known social network, Facebook boasts over 2 billion monthly users. It is a free networking social website where users can create a profile, upload and share photos, post comments and interact with friends, family and associates also on the network. Posts can be text, photos or video. Some features are

  • Profile (your personal posting)
  • Pages (business or professional public page)
  • Groups (like minded people can join to share information).
  • Events (post invitations, invite guests, collect rsvp’s ,share information about your event)

There are different levels of privacy, either fully public, totally private, or you can block certain members from viewing. Members also see a feed on their “Wall”, which is a news post of the activities of friends or other members they follow.

Also included in your profile is a Photo Album of all your photos, you can “tag” members in the photos, and also privately “direct Message” other members.

FB shows a live bulletin board of other people in your network who are currently online. Facebook for businesses also had advertising. Remember that profiles are for people, pages are for business, and groups are usually used for non-profit organizations, churches and community groups.

Twitter

This social network uses a short message system (sms) to deliver it’s broadcasts called “tweets” limiting each tweet to 140 characters. Because of this delivery format we saw the birth of the use of hashtags to categorize and search tweets.

The hashtag symbol # is used before the tag word ie: #applepie. For old people the hashtag is the “pound” sign on a telephone (#). This platform also shares hyperlinks, photos, gif, memes, video etc. Here’s where you can advertise with Twitter

  • Twitter has over 67 million users in the US
  • 80% of users are on mobile.
  • Personal account
  • Business account

You can use privacy settings on Twitter but default settings are public. This means your posts are public and searchable. So people can read your tweets even if they do not have a Twitter account. Unless you choose a private account, where you only accept those who you want to see your feed of posts. Unlike Facebook and Linked-In, you can follow anyone who is public without a personal connection.

Instagram

Is a photo sharing social network. Instagram also makes use of hashtags, and is a great platform to share visual stories.  You can open a personal or business account and choose your privacy settings.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for 1 billion dollars. Because of this you must have a Facebook business page in order to advertise with Instagram.

  • 700 million monthly users
  • 17% of teenagers say Instagram is the most important social network
  • 32% of all internet users are on Instagram
  • Personal Account
  • Business Account (must have FB page first)

Linked In

Touted as the “worlds largest professional network” 25% of all internet users are on Linked In. This social network works a  lot like Facebook in that you have to know the people you are connected to. You can request a connection like you would request a friend.

You can also see how your connections are related to other connections and to what degree (2nd, 3rd, 4th etc). Linked In is a great way to find employment, and hire but is especially effective in B2B networking (#1 platform for B2B lead generation).

  • 106 million monthly users
  • 41% of millionaires are on Linked In
  • Create personal professional profile
  • Create company profile

With Linked In you can advertise, post articles, like and comment, promote others by recommending them for certain skill sets and have others endorse you also. You can post your work experience, specialties and certifications. With the follow feature you can follow industry insiders and share information.

You Tube

You Tube is a huge video sharing website that is a great way for your business to show your product or service, instead of just tell customers about it. Statistics show that people respond better to what they see then what they read or hear. It is the 3rd most visited website in the world. On this site you can own the rights to your video work and get paid by You Tube based on your views and subscriptions. Some people earn millions just from their You Tube Channel alone. Fun Facts:

  • 5 billion videos are watched on You Tube every single day
  • over 30 million visits per day
  • more than half these views come from Mobile devices

As a business you can open an account, post company videos and also share others from the channel you think are interesting to your customers. Since You Tube is owned by Google, you can advertise on it’s AdWords Display Network. You may want to hire a professional AdWords account manager to handle your ads on the network.

Google Plus

Google+ has been Google’s answer to Facebook and is gaining steam. It is one of my favorite ways to get organic search traffic because Google loves it when you use Google products. Optimizing your Google Plus listing will help to give you a boost in Google’s search engine results pages.

  • 34,000,000 unique visits per month
  • 40% of marketers use Google+
  • 70% of brands have a presence Google+

Businesses can set up quickly by logging in with your Google My Business account. You can create posts, join communities and collections or create communities and collections for other to join and follow.

New and Niche Social Networks

Gab

This network is ad free and for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, the free exchange of ideas and the free flow of information online. Because they do not allow advertising, your private information is safe and not for sale. Your activity is neither monitored nor sold. Gab is supported by users who choose to pay a monthly donation to support the platform.

Most creators on social networks rely on advertising to make money. But with arbitrary selection of creators for demonetization and the growth of ad blockers, publishers and content creators have lost their confidence in the old model “establishment” social platforms.

Gab’s business model empowers creators by allowing them to make money selling subscriptions for their content. Recently they launched GabTV, a video streaming service. GabTV hosts can earn by providing premium content for their audience who subscribe to them.

As a business you can’t advertise, but the culture of Gab is such that a business can grow it’s audience with premium content and video.

  • Over 350,000 users and growing
  • Community Focused (user experience first)
  • Creators can monetize by selling subscriptions
  • No Advertising

MySpace

Launched in 2003, MySpace is one of the oldest social networks. Until 2008, it was the largest. It famously took a huge hit with the popularity of Facebook but is making a comeback. It is part of the People/ Entertainment Weekly network.

My Space is a niche network used primarily by musicians to post videos and music. It is also a social network of friends, groups, and blogs. You create a personal or professional profile with privacy settings.

It has four major sections: Features, Music, Video, People. They pretty much do what they sound like, with People functioning like Facebook. In fact, you can create and account and sign in with FB to integrate your contacts. You can join forums or groups like Facebook to find “friends” and like minded people.

This site’s demographics are mostly teens and young adults and music lovers. So if your business is looking for this market, then you need to be on MySpace. Here are some fun facts:

  • 50+  million active users
  • 300 million video views per month
  • 47, 000 major artists
  • 14 million unsigned artists

Hint: MySpace editing tools can only go so far, so if you open a profile, you may want to hire a designer to create a professional looking theme for your page. Make sure to include a link to your website and contact info in your theme.

You can place ads on MySpace through Google Adwords Display Network. Adwords is another area you might want to hire a certified Adwords specialist as it can be a challenge.

Reverbnation

Reverbnation is another free niche musician social networking site. You can join for free or pay for more tools from $9.95 to $19.95 per month. You can join as an artist or a fan, but the platform is mostly for artists who are looking for gigs, or trying to distribute their music. Basically it is mostly used by musicians to manage their career. The site offers cool tools like mobile responsive website builder, widgets, crowd review, gig finder, digital distribution and selling your music direct. They also have an invite only program Called Reverb Connect that is an artist development program, helping artists navigate their career in the industry.

  • 3.8 million musicians, fans, venues and labels
  • 190 countries
  • Manage your music career

If you want to advertise your music, you can through their “Major Artist Marketing On An Indie Budget “(TM) starting at $25

DeviantArt

Is the largest online art gallery and community. This free site is a great place for solopreneur artists to get their work seen, collaborate, offer and receive critiques, write and read content, join groups, forums and chats. DeviantArt has been around since 2000, has a page on Facebook you can follow as well as one on Pinterest. There is also an app for Android and Google Play. You can advertise on DeviantArt by going to their account “all-advertise” and “donating” the amount of points according to your desired feature time.

  • 44 million members
  • sell prints and digital downloads of your art
  • over 365 million unique pieces of art

Next Door

Next Door is a cool community that is literally in your community. Members join for free based on which neighborhood they live in. It is a private social network, meaning you can only join the neighborhood community where you live. This is a way to get to know your neighbors, interact, and share information. You sign in with your real name and have to verify your address. There are also privacy settings.

  • in 145,000 US neighborhoods
  • 26% of Next Door posts are recommendations
  • 4 million messages sent daily on Next Door

You can advertise on Next Door, and select your budget and neighborhoods you want to target. There is another advertising opportunity for Real Estate agents making this a great site for you to be on if you are in the business of selling homes. This feature allows you to promote open houses and feature properties. You do this by purchasing zip codes you want to advertise in.

The Dots

This social network is for creative types who also like to collaborate. Based in London, it’s the casual Friday of Linked In for creatives. They tout themselves as a “network of makers, doers, fixers, dreamers“.

You can register for this account using your Facebook or Twitter profile or with an email. Here you will find posts looking for talent to hire or creatives selling a service. It’s also a great place to be creatively inspired. Only three years old, this start up is a great place for those in the creative industry to network.

There is a cost for recruiters looking to hire starting at 25 British Pounds. Job postings begin at 175 Pounds for companies looking to hire.

  •  16% of users outside of UK, showing a growing international market
  • Next growth area to be USA
  • Niche social network for creatives to hire and be hired
  • No advertising yet

More tips:

  • Decide your target demographic and connect to them on the social media networks they are using.
  • Determine how much time you are willing to spend on each network per day. Plan on 30 minutes to an hour for each
  • Make sure you have the time and/or staff to keep a consistent presence on your chosen networks to stay in front of clients
  • Only choose networks you actually have the time to engage on. If you aren’t engaging, then you might as well not be on it
  • Decide on your budget
  • Don’t just advertise. Make sure you have a profile and are engaging with your followers. If they post on your page or wall, respond quickly! Like their comments, share cool stuff you think they will like too.
  • Completely fill out your profile. Think of it as a mini website. If it looks like junk, fuzzy photos, or not much information then your business won’t seem trustworthy.
  • If you need to, hire a designer to create and size your profile, and wall banner photos. It will be worth it to have them sized correctly and professionally.

If you are on a social media network not mentioned here and you think it’s worthy of a mention, let us know! We’ll make an update to the article.

Happy social media hunting!