Does it seem like these days it’s all about status updates, hashtags, pins, followers and filters? Like you’re living in a world where half the people think the Yellow Pages is a hot new reality show? And as an entrepreneur in the social age, you have no choice but to partake in the madness that is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram if you want your business to succeed? Before you run off to create another Twitter account, I have something to tell you:
It’s OK to say no. You don’t need to be on every social platform. #OMG #NoWay #GetOuttaHere #NoReally
It's true: if you're not on Google+ or Pinterest, that’s OK! Just like each small business, every social platform serves a different audience and a different purpose. Plus, social media requires effort – effort as in time – and we all know that is something we could always use more of! So use your time wisely and pick a platform that will deliver the most results for your business.
Facebook is the Holy Grail of social media platforms. It’s great for almost every business! I say almost every business because if your company solves a taboo such as foot fungus, divorce or debt ... this may not be the platform for you. Think of it like this; when a person likes a Facebook page, all of their friends will see that they liked it, so if you're expecting people to like your hair loss business page, chances are they won't.
If you're one of these businesses, don't fret – there is still hope. Turn the problem you’re trying to solve into solution content; for example, instead of “How to Get Out of Debt” try “Five Ways You Can Save Money When You Eat Out”. Facebook is a great way to interact with customers and hear their feedback, but just remember it’ll require regular attention which includes keep your page updated with fresh and fun content!
Tip - Be entertaining and helpful, not pushy and salesy! Remember that Facebook is ultimately a platform people use to consume content – not buy things.
And if your business is on Facebook, you can integrate your Facebook events with your email list to drive awareness. Just use this month’s Campaign of the Month to send out emails that drive traffic to your event. Check it out:
Twitter is all about short and quick updates, tips and news. This platform is perfect if you are a source of news, your own brand, a blogger, an event business or in a niche market. With the use of hashtags, you can easily find and connect with people who have shared interests! Successfully using Twitter comes down to sharing – not selling. Tweets are full of thoughts and personality, think of it as a 140 character journal. For example, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake tweets interesting articles for small business owners, while Rupert Murdoch shares his opinions on world news and business affairs.
Tip - Don’t be afraid to add images to your tweets! The brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than it process text and 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Tweets with images get better engagement … 581 percent engagement! The people with the most followers are people versus brands – it’s that more personal feel.
Think fun, creative, pretty, cool, eye catching photos. Perfect for businesses that sell physical (and visually appealing) products, or have fun cultures (Red Bull, Google, Fox restaurants), or anything lifestyle related (health, beauty, fashion, events, photography). The power of visual content is becoming increasingly important for marketers. Studies show that the visual appeal matters in 93 percent of cases when people go to make a purchase. Instagram doesn’t have a character limit, so you have the opportunity to create a personality for your business and offer a behind-the-scenes look or create a comprehensive aesthetic that embodies your brand. This platform performs best with high quality photos. Be sure you include your business website in your profile description so they can buy what they see!
Tip - Don’t forget to use hashtags in your captions! Hashtags are an important part of discovery on Instagram, allowing brands to gain exposure to niche groups and specific areas of interest. Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement.
LinkedIn is ideal for B2B companies. Having a company page on LinkedIn is best for targeting niche markets that can only be identified through jobs, titles or groups (i.e. investment firms, consulting services, hiring agency). Think of your LinkedIn company page as an extension of your business website; Use it to display compelling graphics, upcoming events, products/services, job opportunities and most of all your mission and what you stand for!
Even with a company page, you should still always have a personal profile. This allows for people to contact and connect with you as well as put a face to the brand. It also provides you with the opportunity to publish long form content. Linkedin’s publishing platform is a great place to start a blog without having to start a blog.
Tip - Take the time to interact in groups and reach out to your connections, you never know when it’ll pay off! If you’re building your personal brand you can endorse people, they will endorse you back.
Pinterest is perfect for blogs, products and services. This is how Pinterest works: When someone sees a photo of something they like, they can click on the photo, which takes them to an associated link! Successful pins link to a related site.
Successful content on Pinterest: DIY, health and fitness, recipes, beauty, fashion, home/garden. (Interesting fact: 80 percent of Pinterest users are female) Visual, service-based companies such as photography, videography, real estate, event planning and interior design can benefit from pinning their content too! When you have heavy blog content or products on your site it’s great for Pinterest! To increase the searchability of your pins be sure to use general, highly searchable terms in your pin description, the origin URL, and your original photo title.
Tip - Use Pinterest as a way to cross promote. For example, link your pin to your Facebook post which links to your blog which features a video from your YouTube channel (oooh it’s magic!).
Super similar to Facebook but with smaller targeted audiences. The key to Google+ is being active in communities and engaging in Google hangouts. The best part about this platform is that it layers into Google’s other product and services such as Blogger, YouTube, Google Drive sharing, Gmail, Google maps, etc. If you choose to use any of these other services for your business it wouldn’t hurt to exist on Google+ since they all work together!
Tip - Being on Google+ doesn’t necessarily mean your Google juice will start flowing (aka you will rank number one in search results). However, if you connect Google+ to your website this can boost your search ranking.
Do we need to state the obvious? Videos, videos, videos. If you need a place to post and share videos, this is the place for you! YouTube reaches more adults aged 18 to 34 than any single cable TV network. Choose YouTube if you are trying to launch a show, need to explain your product/service, to showcase featured work or for tutorial videos! Tell your story and show off your products! Again, quality is key (no flip phone videos here).
Tip - The most watched videos on YouTube are tutorials and how-tos!
At the end of the day, the social platform you choose to be on should be based on how much time you are willing to contribute. There’s a reason people are glued to their iPhone screens - social media is a 24/7 supermart of endless information! The effort you put in determines what you get out of it. Just remember, quality over quantity! It’s OK to be picky when it comes to social media, choose what is best for you and your business!
Karolina is the newest member of the social media team at Infusionsoft! She specializes in internal social media education and implementing employee brand advocacy. Originally from the beautiful state of Utah, Karolina graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelors degree in communications. Her love for discovering and sharing new things motivated her to recently start her own lifestyle blog, Sunkissedway.com! When she's not busy blogging she's off being a "cool" cat lady, running half marathons and soaking up the sun!