Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Social media platforms have become so popular that everyone expects small businesses to be on them. All of them. At all times. But you’re an entrepreneur, and that probably means your time is precious. So, how do you come up with a social media marketing strategy that works for you and encourages customers to engage with meaningful social content?
Small business owners have a knack for choosing the best marketing channels available to them, and social media should be no different.
As you begin your journey to social media success, it's important to understand that each network provides different value for your marketing strategy. Some networks favor images and more colorful campaigns, while others provide rich demographic targeting. All of these networks can help you drive traffic to your website, but you need to understand how each is different so you can make smart marketing decisions.
Facebook is the most popular social media network, coming in at more than 1.3 billion monthly active users. Facebook users come from every demographic, using the popular network to share content with their family, friends and coworkers. Facebook provides a great place to share rich content you host on your website, and reach new users through targeted advertising.
Pro tip: Facebook contests aren't only an excellent way to drive new Likes. Capture email addresses as part of your promotions and sync those with your favorite email marketing tool to drive better returns on your email marketing campaigns.
Twitter is a social network with over 284 million monthly active users, with especially high adoption in the U.S. Twitter users exchange content with their followers, who can share with their followers, and so on. This network effect makes Twitter a great way to grow your reach. Rich content such as photos is especially valuable, with retweets shown to be 35 percent higher than pure text. By using shortened links, you can drive traffic to your website and measure results.
Pro tip: Twitter is dominated by influencers. Find the Twitter users in your industry who have the most followers and engage them respectfully and often. Share content with them and encourage them to retweet -- and watch your followers and your website hits surge.
Google+ is a fast growing social network with over 300 million active users. Because Google+ profiles play a role in Google search results of your name or brand, you want to make sure your company has a solid presence on this platform. This way you can leverage Google+ Pages to enhance your discoverability on Google search, Google maps, and other Google business tools.
Pro tip: Google+ lets you highlight your business through a rich profile page, but its real value is that Google+ About pages are indexed heavily by Google Search. Make sure your About page uses SEO-friendly terms that make you stand out.
LinkedIn is known as a professional network, with some 347 million registered members. More than just a recruiting platform, LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to create your professional brand and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. LinkedIn is especially popular with businesses selling to other businesses. Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn lets you promote posts to reach audiences not currently following you.
Pro tip: In this world, credibility is key. Once you've grown a strong network, build a LinkedIn group and invite your connections to participate. Be a thought leader and a trusted advisor.
Instagram is a fast growing, mobile photo and video sharing social network with more than 300 million users worldwide. Brands take advantage of Instagram’s highly visual community to connect directly with their audience. Instagram is also a great platform for visual marketing campaigns. While you can’t share links on Instagram in posts, you can use it to get your brand discovered, and share your website URL in your Instagram profile.
Pro tip: Simplicity, lifestyle and participation is at the core of Instagram. Start contests to encourage your customers to share how they love using your products. Use hashtags to associate your product and contests with popular topics. Drive website traffic by linking your Instagram profile page to your website.
Watch the Hangout for more social media marketing tips
Want to learn more? Check out our Hangout: