A business owner’s guide to social media channels

How to choose which social media channels are most suitable for your business is important if social media forms part of your online marketing strategy (which it should).
Social media for business owners

Social media is everywhere these days, and most of us are pretty comfortable with using the various apps as consumers, but what about using social media to grow your business?  It can be a pretty daunting thought if you aren’t already in the swing of things.  Here we run through the major social media channels, including how many people are using them, and what the broad demographics are of their users, and the types of businesses they suit.

Same, same. But different.

There are some things that all of these channels have in common:

  • They offer you the opportunity to update your customers (existing and potential), without relying on them having to visit your website
  • With the exception of Google +, all social media channels offer paid advertising for businesses to reach new customers or jog the memories of existing customers
  • They offer tools for managing your social media marketing, although the level of sophistication varies between channels
  • They are crowded with content and you need to stand out in order to encourage people to engage with your content rather than just scanning past
  • They require a consistent approach to be successful. They can also be huge time wasters if you don’t have a plan in place, therefore your social media strategy is important

Facebook

Let’s start at the top.  Facebook.  With over 2 billion people using Facebook every month, this is the mother ship of social media channels.  Unlike many of the other channels, its appeal is broader across ages, genders and countries.  Facebook has very well developed tools for marketers including targeting of specific groups of users.

Types of content: images, text, links to articles, videos

Industries: suits pretty much any industry thanks to the broad spectrum of users

Facebook for small businesses
Instagram for small businesses

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media channel.  Now owned by Facebook, Instagram has 1 billion users active on it each month.  Compared with Facebook, the demographics are slightly more skewed towards females and younger age groups.  Instagram is a visual channel, so good images are key to gaining attention from your target audience.  Instagram is developing new tools for marketers, and you can expect to see more paid content on Instagram in the future.

Types of content: Images and videos

Industries: particularly suits industries such as retail, hospitality and tourism where good images are available

Twitter

Trump’s favourite communication channel has over 300 million users active each month.  More favoured by men than women, and unusually, more viewed on desktops than smartphones, Twitter offers a slightly different demographic, and is increasingly relied on by users for up to date news.

Types of content: Text (up to 280 characters), images, videos and links to your website

Industries: financial services, media

Twitter for small business
Pinterest for small businesses

Pinterest

200 million users each month log on to Pinterest to get inspiration for everything from recipes to interior design, marketing to parenting advice.  Its demographics are weighted towards women, and especially women with young children.

Types of content: images, with links to content on your website

Industries: retail, particularly baby/child related or homewares

Linked In

LinkedIn is targeted at professionals and focusses on business and employment.  LinkedIn actually has a range of different apps including job search, slideshow sharing and online learning apps.  There are over 100 million monthly active users.

Types of content: Text, photos, videos, links to websites

Industries: LinkedIn particularly suits businesses that are selling to other businesses (B2B) in industries such as financial or professional services

LinkedIn for small business
Google Plus for small businesses

Google +

Heard of Google Plus?  This was supposed to be Google’s answer to Facebook, however it hasn’t worked out like that.  Still, there are apparently nearly 400 million people who have Google Plus accounts, and some of them must use it.   So why has it made it onto this list?  Well, because, Google!  Having a Google Plus page gives Google another reason to show your business in search results.

Types of content: Text, videos, images and links to your website

Industries: All industries can benefit from more Google exposure

You Tube

YouTube is a video sharing service where users can watch, like, share, comment and upload their own videos.  With over a billion users each month, its reach is undeniably.  Add to that the fact that it is the second largest search engine after Google, and it is owned by Google, and you can see how it could be a powerful tool.  That said, unlike the other channels, there is quite a bit of investment required to create good quality videos.

Types of content: Videos

Industries: Retail, tourism, manufacturing

YouTube for small business

OK, I have chosen which social media channels I want to use, now what?

They key to social media success is having a strategy and implementing it.  We will be covering off social media strategy in our next article.

Little Biz Designs can help you get your business onto social media, and work with you to develop a strategy to get the most out of your social media time.  We offer two social media marketing packages, and can also tailor a package to meet your needs.  Contact us for more information.