Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, Renren, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Google +, Vine, Snapchat, Twoo, Disqus … and the list goes on and on.
With so many social media sites, how can you pick the best channel to connect with your customers? At the end of the day, it really depends on your goals, your products, and your budget.
- Spend wisely. As a small business owner, you have limited finances, time, and expertise. So don’t try to be everything to everyone. Start small and experiment. It’s far better to truly engage with users across 2-3 platforms than have stale content and no connections on 8-10 sites.
- Target your customer. Who are you really trying to reach? If you’re selling to other companies, LinkedIn is an ideal place to start. You’ll find current profiles and professionals who are active and engaged. If time permits, add to your outreach with Facebook and/or Twitter and tap Google AdWords to boost your reach. If you’re trying to connect directly with customers, pick a site or two from above that most of those people use.
- Listen first. People want to be heard. Respond when followers post comments or ask questions. Providing thoughtful responses will build brand loyalty. Use an inexpensive or free platform to monitor social conversations. Hootsuite, Social Mention, and TweetDeck are a few to try.
- Use backup. No matter what social media site(s) you use, be sure to augment your reach by running Bing Ads or Google AdWords. And explore retargeting
- Be memorable. Create a “gee whiz” hashtag or bio on Twitter or a visually stunning Facebook page. Take your time and do it right the first time. You want visitors to remember your name, your products, and your attention to detail. And, most importantly, you want them to return to the site and engage with you.
- Show; don’t tell. Great content is divine. But sometimes a stunning image or provocative video is just what the doctor ordered. You don’t need to spend a fortune creating these. Use a decent camera or flip cam to capture the essence of who you are or what you sell.
- Know your chosen community. People who use Twitter, for example, are quite different than those who regularly use Pinterest. Study and research each social platform before deciding to jump aboard. All social platforms worth their salt provide tutorials and information.
- Be authentic. As your Mom used to tell you, “Just be yourself and everyone will like you.” People expect honesty from businesses. But they also like humor and creativity. Tell stories in your own words, be original, and don’t be afraid to show a sense of humor.
What social media sites have worked best for your business and brand? What platforms do your customers like best? We’d love to hear your ideas and feedback.