If you own your own business, you simply can’t avoid getting with the times, and promoting yourself on social media. Regardless of your technological skill level, you will be missing out on too much potential business and marketing if you don’t promote your brand online. Most people do basic Internet searches to find information about a business, and in addition to your company website, you need to be using social media to target specific demographics of potential business.
The premise is simple enough: get your business on social media. Following through is not nearly as simple however. Joining every social site and setting up a page for your business on every social media platform, and then managing these profiles poorly is not the right way to go about it. You need to choose the right sites for your business, and you need to learn how to manage them. There’s no point in wasting time with sites that won’t really make an impact in your industry – and that’s where we come in.
In this article, we’re going to tell you about:
- 9 of the best social media sites and apps for your business
- Benefits of using social media for business – the right way
- Tips for making good use of social media for business
It’s unlikely that you need to be on all 9 platforms, but we’ll explain what types of businesses they will benefit, and how each site can help your business. We’ll also explain how often you should be on the site managing it, and what kinds of things you’ll be sharing using the site. Read on to start expanding the read of your business!
9 of the best social media sites and apps for your business
Facebook is a no-brainer. It is, and has been for a long time, the most widely-used social media website in the world, and has more users than any other online social media application by far. There’s no surprise why: Facebook allows you to do so many things, including sharing words, articles, links, photos, videos, and more, as well as recommending things, buying things, and of course, viewing official pages for prominent people and companies. Because so many people use Facebook on a daily basis, it makes sense for many businesses to establish a presence on Facebook.
You need this if: You want to reach more people, or advertise for low prices.
How it will best help your business: The potential reach to increase your client base will not be bigger on any other social media site. You can reach more people than ever!
What you should share: Information about your business, stories about what happens, frequent updates, images, and a showcasing of what it is you do.
How often you need to be on it: Depending on how much interaction you get, the range could be from a couple of times each day to about once per week.
LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites to link up with if you run a business, because it’s intended for professionalism. It’s an online resume producer, social professional networking platform, facilitates job hunting, and so much more. You can set your business up with a LinkedIn Company Page, and even post jobs or recruit potential future employees right from the website. You can instantly connect with other professionals in your industry, and read up on cutting-edge business practices and other success stories. If you want a way to make your business seem very legitimate, without having to put too much effort in, LinkedIn is for you.
You need this if: You want to do some professional networking or hiring for your business.
How it will best help your business: Finding potential employees and talent to help your business grow.
What you should share: Information about your business, job postings, and your success story.
How often you need to be on it: Very rarely – more when you need it for hiring or recruiting.
Twitter is another great social media site, and it’s been around for quite awhile. In 280 characters or less, you can share your thoughts, and/or an image, and all of your followers will see it, can “like” it, and can comment on it. Twitter is a very common place for conversations to get started, and the people who “follow” you will likely see all of the updates you post, meaning you can really focus on maintaining customer loyalty, and informing your followers all about what’s going on with your business.
You need this if: You have frequent updates on what your business is going and how things are going.
How it will best help your business: Increase brand awareness and maintain customer loyalty through the quick spread of information and updates.
What you should share: Short, concise updates with captivating or pertinent information about your business.
How often you need to be on it: Every day or every other day.
Instagram is the photo-centric social media platform to be on, if what you need to share is often of the visual persuasion. If you’re an artist, own a restaurant or bakery, are in fashion, develop digital media, or do any number of things that are better represented through photo imagery, then Instagram is probably for you. Post pictures of what’s going on with your business, and get more and more followers every week who can appreciate what you do. You can also follow other like-minded business and appreciate their work – and hopefully, they’ll follow you back. The more you can show off what it is you do, the more people you will reach, and ideally, form a genuine connection with.
You need this if: What you want to show off is better displayed through pictures, rather than with words or longer videos.
How it will best help your business: Many people appreciate unique things on Instagram, and followers who see what you can do can easily become customers.
What you should share: Regularly, either every day, three times a week, or once a week.
How often you need to be on it: You should probably scroll through the Instagram feed every day to see what your competitors are up to, and check on which of your photos gets the most appreciation. As little as once per week is fine though.
5. Google My Business
Google My Business (previously known as Google Places), a feature of Google Maps, allows people searching for locations or businesses in their area to find information about that business easily. You simply need to register your business and include some basic information such as what you do, your hours of operation, when you’re closed, and a few other things, and you’ll all set for Google to feature you when people are searching for your type of business. Even a few keywords about what you do can help you get featured at the top of Google’s search results when someone is looking in your area for a similar service to what you provide.
You need this if: You have a physical location for your business.
How it will best help your business: More people will be able to see what you do, and learn about your business when they’re searching for information.
What you should share: Basic information about your business.
How often you need to be on it: Just once to sign up, and then again whenever you need to update the information you included.
Try It Out: Google My Business Website
Yelp is especially good for restaurants, or other businesses within the service industry, but essentially, it allows users to review your business, and share the experience they had with you. One advantage to getting on Yelp is that you can ask loyal clients and people you know who love your brand to write reviews on Yelp for you. But be warned – you do have little control over what people will say about you, so make sure you’re always leaving your customers satisfied before they head home and jump online.
You need this if: You offer a service that people are more likely to use after reading a positive review.
How it will best help your business: When people read good reviews, they are far more likely to use your business for the service they are looking for.
What you should share: Information about your products and services.
How often you need to be on it: It does not require regular posting, but you will want to monitor comments and reviews and mediate them frequently.
Pinterest is a unique type of social media, and essentially revolves around helping people find answers and solutions to their every day problems and queries. It contains a lot of helpful hints, recipes, DIY instructions, and other useful information, all concisely presented within one image and title. Many things online can be turned into a “pin,” including entire web pages. Pinterest is also learning towards selling products directly on its site in the future, so you may be able to even make money directly off of the site! In general, if you have helpful information to share with people that you want to become future clients or customers, Pinterest is a great way to do it.
You need this if: You have useful information, or a unique product you can showcase.
How it will best help your business: Pinterest is essentially a free advertising space for you to show off what you do.
What you should share: Images or helpful articles related to your business and products, and how they can help everyday people.
How often you need to be on it: About once per week.
The percentage of online content that appears online grows more and more everyday, and there’s no better place to put videos you want people to see online than YouTube. There are millions and millions of videos online, and they are easily integrated into other platforms such as your company website, or other social media sites. If you have something to show your followers that words just don’t do justice to, then YouTube is the place for you.
You need this if: You make videos, or have things to demonstrate that can’t be well-represented with only words or pictures.
How it will best help your business: People love watching videos online, and may come back week-by-week if you regularly post videos. It can also help you showcase products so that people see them in use before buying them.
What you should share: Exclusively video content.
How often you need to be on it: Posting once every week is a good standard.
Snapchat is unique as well, as you can only share images or videos of up to 10 seconds. This may not seem like it’s incredibly useful, but if your business or brand has a lot going on, or tends to hold a lot of events, this kind of marketing can be a very effective way of giving your customers, clients, and followers, a detailed look into the life of your company. By creating a daily “story” (which refreshes every 24 hours), you can share pictures or videos of what’s going on. Your followers will get a really good feel and first-person perspective on what it’s like to be a part of your company, and what exactly it is that you do. Chances are, everyone is going to have a lot of fun along the way as well.
You need this if: You have a lot of visual information you can share – frequently.
How it will best help your business: Gives potential customers and clients an in-depth look into your business, and will attract future business, and enhance current customer loyalty.
What you should share: Pictures and videos under 10 seconds long.
How often you need to be on it: Every day.
Benefits of using social media for business – the right way
- Gain valuable customer insight – with how much people interact with social media online, you can learn valuable market information and learn about what you customers want, without putting in any additional effort or spending any money.
- It’s free marketing – though some social media sites have paid services, everything we’ve listed here can be used for free, effectively – even for a business.
- Reach more people – with social media, you can advertise your brand all over the globe, and reach more people than you ever could with traditional marketing techniques.
- Attract customers that wouldn’t otherwise have known about you – similarly, many people may not live in your area and have seen your building – or maybe you don’t even have a building! That makes it harder for people to find out about you, however, if you’re on social media, you can inform these people about your business.
- Reduce customer service hours with online information – if you post about things such as when you’re open, what services you offer, and answer questions online, you can save valuable time otherwise spent taking customer service calls.
- Run targeted ads – you can often spend small amounts of money to run advertisement campaigns for short periods of time, or to advertise to users who live in particular areas. These often cost far less than hiring a marketing company, or spending money on marketing or advertising campaign materials.
- Increase your site authority and Google ranking – being active on social media increases your page authority when Google decides who to promote in search results. Answering people’s questions and responding to comments also increases your authority within the social site itself, which may also promote you when people search for things.
- Keep tabs on your competition – getting yourself on social media also means that you can check out what your primary competitors are doing. It may inspire you to improve your own business!
- Share important information fast – social media is one of the best ways to put out information quickly to your followers. Need to close down early? Throwing together an event soon? This kind of information is best shared through social media to reach the greatest number of people the fastest.
Tips for making good use of social media for business
1. Think carefully about what you post, and always make sure it can’t be construed as offensive.
‘Think before you share’ is no new tip. It’s always been rule number one when it comes to social media sharing. Once you put it out in the world, someone is going to see it, and you can never take it back. This tip is as simple as checking for spelling errors, and making sure your information is always correct (for example, don’t post that you’re selling off your inventory for a 100% discount when you meant 10%!).
It’s also a little more serious than that. Always think about the audience of social media; it isn’t just your followers, but is literally every person that has an account with that service. Anyone can read what you write, so always think about how they might respond to it. Even something you think is an obvious joke may not be so funny to some people. Think about how your words, images, videos, and other content might affect anyone who reads it, and if you think there’s even a chance it could be offensive or derogatory, then you probably shouldn’t share it.
2. Stay professional, but remember to have fun.
Never forget – this is your business; that doesn’t change just because you put your presence online. However, social media is meant to be a fun space – that’s why people spend so many hours using it every day. Keep your image professional, and always remember that you’re on there to engage with your followers and keep them interested in what you do. But don’t forget to make your content fun, and post things that your followers want to see. Things that keep them thinking about your business, while also having a laugh, seeing something amazing and unique, or learning something helpful and interesting.
3. Choose the right employee to manage your accounts, if you can’t take care of it yourself.
If your business is a little bigger, or your role in it is simply too involved for you to spend time taking care of the social media, you should select someone (or hire someone) to do it for you. Many people will do this kind of thing for an hourly rate for only a couple of hours a week, and depending on your employee’s responsibilities, someone may be able to take it on without it affecting their job performance.
It’s usually a good idea to have one person managing your social media, as over time, your brand will develop a bit of an online persona of its own. It’s better for one person’s voice to come through, so your followers can learn to know and love your brand. It’s also better in terms of keeping track of statistics, because if one person is constantly watching how many “likes” you get on your content, or how many people are engaging with it, it will be easier to develop strategies that help you make your online brand even better in the future.
4. Always answer comments and queries right away.
Answering comments people make on your social media pages is absolutely key. Not only does it help improve customer loyalty, and make your customers happier, but it has a serious impact on your page authority. The social media site will increase your ranking when people search for things related to what you do, if you answer people’s comments and questions right away. It shows them that you are active, and interested in making their users as happy as possible.
It’s also important to always monitor and mediate comments, because some users will “spam” as many pages as possible promoting their own brand, writing hurtful comments, or doing otherwise negative things that can make your page look bad if you tolerate them. Keeping track of all comments quickly and showing you care about what your followers have to say is a very important step to obtaining success online.
Now you know how best to promote your business through social media. We hope it helps you reach more potential customers, engage more people with your brand, and overall, make you more money! If you’re interested in learning more, check out our articles that have great tips for integrating more technology into your business. We also have many articles and step-by-step tutorials on using the best social media sites! You can always do more to grow your business – so start today!