There are lots of social media/social networking sites and apps available nowadays and I feel that small businesses are missing out if they are not using at least some of them. So I made a list of the ones that I feel are the best and most popular at the moment, while not all of them will be useful for everyone, I hope at least some of them can be made use of effectively by your business.
You may not think of a website as social media, but it is vital to your online presence. A website will act as a hub for your business, that you can link your other social media platforms to.
Websites are now also relatively easy to create with platforms such as GoDaddy, Wix and 1&1. They have a drag an drop design so even those with little knowledge of website design can have a go at developing their own website. Wix allows you to create a free account in which you can design your website but a subscription is needed for the full features such as custom domain names and the full list of possible themes. Others allow you to have a trial before subscribing for a specified cost but the value of having a website far outweighs the cost of the platform you choose to use.
The current most popular social networking site, it has 1.13 billion active users on a daily basis. Although it is used personally by most people to connect with their friends and share images, videos and updates about their lives, it can also be utilised by businesses as a way of connecting with their current and potential customers and promoting their business. You may think that you can create a personal account to promote your business but don’t, you are breaking the rules of Facebook and could have your account suspended, so go straight for a like page to avoid the hassle and link your personal account to it if you so wish. However if you have already created a personal account by accident, you can now change this to a business account using this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate
You can also create an advert account through business manager if you would like to promote your business through sponsored posts on the news feeds of other users.
The fastest growing social networking site, with 313 million monthly active users, it is currently ranked as the third most popular social networking site. Although you are limited to a 140 characters on a tweet, the site is being used effectively for business to business networking. So, why should you be using Twitter? Well, a lot of your customers (and competitors) are probably active on the site already so creating an account for your business will allow you to reach your customers and keep an eye on what your competitors are offering through the Twitter search option.
Mainly a business social network, LinkedIn is great for business to business networking and building your professional profile. It can also be useful if you are looking for a new employee as many create Linked In accounts when they are job searching. You can also link your business account to your personal account and then edit your business through it.
Mainly a photo and video sharing network it has over 300 million active daily users. It is great for showcasing new products, promoting any offers and giving snapshots of what’s going on in your business. You can also link your other accounts such as Facebook and Twitter so that when you post on Instagram, it will post to all accounts that are linked to it. Making use of hash tags on your posts is also important as it will widen your reach and help you to gain more impressions on your posts, just make sure the hash tags you use are relevant to the content of your image to ensure you are reaching the correct audience. You may also want to add your hashtags as a comment on your post if you have linked your Instagram with Twitter as the 140 character limit can have an affect on how your posts look if you are using lots of hashtags.
4 billion videos are watched each day through the site and video as a form of content usually gets you more reach. It can be used for product demonstrations, informative videos, presentations, advertising and much more. it is relatively easy to use and the site offers guides and instructions as well as a library of free music you can add to your videos if you are not sure how to upload or edit them. Once you upload, you can then share your videos to other social media accounts to increase your reach and even embed videos into your website.
Like Instagram, it is a image sharing website and has 100 million monthly users. The site allows you to create boards to separate your images, which is useful if you have a wide range of products. You can make either a business or a personal account, a business account has the added bonus of analytics which are useful for analysis. Other users can also add your images (pins) to their boards if they like them and this will show in your analytics.
It is a cross between a blog and a social networking site and sometimes referred to as a ‘micro-blog’. It allows you to share any form of media and has around 550 million monthly users. The users of the site are typically younger, so it will be a useful account to have for your business if you want to appeal to a younger audience or if you have identified your audience as being typically younger people.
It has more than 2.5 billion users, you can access Google+ if you have a Google account, it will seem similar to Facebook or Twitter, you add your interests and import your contacts to collate your news feed. Having Google + will mean that you can access lots of other Google applications such as Hangouts, which can be used for conference calls, Google drive, for creating forms and storing documents and Google mail, an area for your business emails.
This is not really a necessity, it depends on what industry you are in as to whether you can use this platform to your advantage. Snapchat has become very popular with around 150 million people using the app everyday. You can make use of filters, text, emojis and video. It is easy to reach people by posting your personal Snapchat code to other forms of social media. You could use this app for short product demonstrations, showcasing new products or even running one day flash offers.