As a small business owner and entrepreneur with limited time, I’ve had to decide , what type of social media to focus on. While there are many different types (see this Mega-Social Landscape info-graphic), only a few are dominant. So my suggestion is to focus on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and possibly Google+.
Social media is a great way for small businesses to extend their reach beyond their websites but – but picking and choosing the right social media tools is important to maximize the impact of online marketing.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn appears to be the
most successful in bringing people to your website, although this could be specific to companies that are B2B instead of consumer focused. People interested in business sales (and looking up companies instead of brands) will most likely check LinkedIn. Our Blue Ridge Lighting Solutions traffic almost exclusively comes from LinkedIn – as seen via our Google analytics. In addition to the connections, Jeffrey Cohen shares how employees can both represent the company as well as create industry groups to help generate their company’s buzz. Posts to LinkedIn are generally business or industry related, and professional (vs. casual) in tone.
Facebook: Another perspective is that the type of small business matters, as Cynthia Boris on Marketing Pilgrim noted. So it may be that for B2B small businesses, LinkedIn is best, but for B2C small businesses, Facebook may be better. Facebook has a different feel from LinkedIn as well, and so the type of content required will be different. [For our B2B small business, we have stayed away from Facebook solely because of our limited resources.]
Google+:The least used social media tool is probably Google+ with many fewer active users. But, according to Alex Fitzpatrick, it shouldn’t be forgotten. Despite its lack of popularity, having a business site on Google+ is still important for two main reasons.
- Since the Google search engine is tied to Google+, it stands to reason that it can only help a small company’s search engine optimization to be on it.
- The tools that Google+ provides for use within a small business are also worthwhile.
This platform is still growing, and may become strong eventually like all things Google, but for now, I recommend having your company site on Google+, but don’t spend too much time creating new content for Google+. Reusing content created elsewhere is probably the best bet.
Twitter: As shared in the WSJ, small firms have shared that twitter isn’t their favorite. I have found, however, that Twitter is great for following the news of companies, vendors, suppliers, and competitors within my industry. And, despite the poor reviews on Twitter, Brafton Media suggested that it should still be part of a social media marketing strategy to reach a wider audience. As the WSJ article said, many marketers feel that Twitter does not have a high ROI.
Social media is a great way for small businesses to extend their reach beyond their websites but picking and choosing the right social media tools is important to maximize the impact of our online marketing.