Is social media for your small business worth the time, effort and resources that you'd have to spend on it?
When it comes to small business these days, the question is not if investing time and money in social media is worth it – rather can you afford not to spend that time creating a social media presence?
From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn to Google+, Instagram to Tumblr – social media is the name of the game, and to compete, you have to get onto the field. Beyond bringing your small business into the 21st century, social media platforms also give your business a ‘face’ for the outside world, and a way to start a continuous conversation with customers and clients in real time.
The Power of the Platforms
With over 1.19 billion active users and 30 million registered business pages, Facebook is a force to be reckoned with. Allowing full business page profiles with links to pertinent information, including other social media platforms, this site is one of the first that many businesses break into.
Twitter comes in second in terms of numbers, but for many, this is the true leader of the pack. 288 million users flock to Twitter daily, sending out over 500 unique tweets, while 40 million enjoy six-second videos composed on the subsidiary, Vine. Both are remarkable platforms for business, providing some of the most powerful tools for introduction and conversation out there.
LinkedIn is the professionals’ paradise, the go-to place for portfolios, contacts and even employment. Company pages tend to have a direct market feel, with sponsored content and full banner landing pages.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
These are just a few of the social media platforms out there. All of them, even the fledgling Ello, have something to offer a small business. But it’s not enough to just have an account – you have to use it. Daily posts, tweets and interactions set the tone of your business and invite current and future customers to engage.
Formulas abound regarding how many interactions should be informative, seeking, humorous, etc., but the main issue comes down to consistent and thoughtful use. Update Facebook daily (use the scheduling functions offered to create statuses for future posts); send tweets often, create an introductory Vine video for every member of your staff; and compose a sponsored update on LinkedIn. Do all of that – regularly.
Social media can help any small business grow by gaining fans, followers and likes, as well as small transactions that eventually translate into more customers and greater success.