The simple answer here is yes, you should have a social presence for any business.
There are just too many benefits for putting your small business on social media to ignore it.
A social media presence for your business:
- gives you a direct line of communication to talk to potential and current customers
- allows you to promptly review and address customer feedback
- helps you bring traffic back to your website
- introduces your brand to new audiences
- enables you to learn more about your audience
- helps your business show up in search
- positions your business as modern, current, and relevant
But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and create a profile on every trendy social media platform. You can create a customized social media plan that works for your unique business.
The Social Platforms Every Business Should Be On
There are three social platforms every business should be on.
In the first quarter of 2015, Facebook reported having over 1.44 billion monthly active users. That is simply too large of an audience to ignore.
But it’s not just the large user-base that makes Facebook a social media powerhouse.
With Facebook Audience Insights, you can aggregate information about your followers to learn more about their demographics, interests, and behaviors. And their targeted ad options enable you to create ads that are showed a very specific, targeted audience which increases the odds of creating a conversion.
2. Google+ or Google My Business
Everyone wants their business to show up on Google when a user searches for them.
Creating a Google+ page for your business will help Google generate rich media search results for your business that includes: the name of your business, where it is located on a map, reviews, contact and location information, and even photos.
Make sure that the information on your profile is always correct. Update anytime you change your hours, address, etc.
LinkedIn is a little different than the previous two items in this list because your business actually doesn’t need to be on LinkedIn.
As the owner or CEO of a company, you are the face of your business and need to put yourself out there as such. You need to have a LinkedIn profile so you can show off your credentials, build authority and trust, and connect with potential clients or even partners.
Assess Your Situation Before Adding More Platforms
If you are a new or small business, you can stop with just those three platforms. Those are the must-haves and everything else is simply bonus social material.
They will only give you return if you put in extra work. So before you join any of the following, consider two things.
- Do you have the resources to manage the accounts?
- Is your target audience using the platform regularly?
If you don’t have the time, human resources, or money to manage and create content for the following platforms — it’s probably better just to stay away.
Likewise, there is no reason to jump the gun and get on these social platforms if your target audience isn’t frequently spending time on these sites. You should really know your audience and then focus on putting your business only in the places where they spend time.
The Social Media Platforms You May Be Able to Skip
If you find that you have the resources and/or a big portion of your audience spends time in these locations, you may want to add the following platforms to your social media strategy. But they are not requirements.
Twitter will likely be the next platform for you to consider. That is because as you business grows so will the amount of people talking about your business. And if there is a conversation going on about your business, you need to be involved.
It is a good idea to be on Twitter so that you can monitor the mentions of your brand and interact with the people referring to your business. You can use an app like Mention to monitor what people are saying about you.
YouTube or Vimeo
If you are a small business just getting started with social media, you don’t need to jump into a video marketing strategy right away. It will be a good idea down the road, but at the beginning, only create a YouTube or Vimeo channel if your business is directly supported by video.
Over fifty percent of 18- to 29-year-olds use Instagram. So if your target audience falls in that age group, you may want to consider adding an Instagram strategy early in your social media marketing plans.
Tumblr is an extremely visual network that has worked best for fashion brands and mass media platforms such as Mashable, Rolling Stone, and NPR. But it might be hard to get traction for a small business, so hold off unless you are a fashion or visually-driven business.
Like Tumblr, Pinterest works best for businesses in particular industries. Unless your business involves food, travel, DIY crafts, health, beauty, or fashion, you can eliminate this platform from your early social media plans.
Unless your target audience is exclusively or largely 15- to 25-year-old, you can hold off on adding SnapChat to your marketing strategy. Marketers are still trying to figure out the best way to use the platform. So if you are just getting started, you don’t need to spend time testing on this platform just yet.
Social media is a forever evolving entity so your strategy will also be ever-changing. You may start on Twitter and find that you aren’t getting any traction. Move to Pinterest then find a big jump in engagement. Social strategy will largely vary by business and industry.
So remember to take it one step at a time, continually evaluate what is working, and keep moving in the direction that is engaging your audience and leading qualified leads and customers back to your business.
That is the social strategy worth adding to any lengthy small business to-do list.