How to Use Social Media for Your Small Business

Last night we held a webinar about how to use social media for your business. Please have a look:

Related content:

And here is information on how to use social media for your business from a guy at Google: https://www.kaushik.net/avinash/social-media-marketing-success-guide-businesses/

If you have any questions, please drop me a line:

Twitter

Should you use Twitter to market your business? After all, isn’t everyone on it?

Well, first of all, not that many people are actually on Twitter. Twitter has half as many users as Facebook.

But really, the question of whether or not to use Twitter is really a question of what you intend to use Twitter for and how much time you plan to devote to it.

Do you get lots of customer service inquiries? Then it absolutely makes sense to use Twitter regularly for your business.

Is your business mobile? Then it absolutely makes sense to use Twitter regularly for your business.

But, if you do not have a lot of customer service inquiries, or you don’t have tons of updates about your business location or hours, then it’s likely that Twitter is not the best way to promote your business.

Unless of course you are your business; you are the face of your brand and more – you are your brand. If this is the case, Twitter is very useful at allowing you to communicate directly to your potential customers/clients.

But be warned: using Twitter effectively is extremely time-consuming. For Twitter to be worth your time, you have to be on it a lot.

Using Instagram for your Small Business

Should you use Instagram to market your business online? After all, don’t all the kids use it?

Instagram is a unique way of reaching potential and current customers. But, due to its uniquely visual nature, it’s not for every business. Yes, it’s true, you can post text as a picture on Instagram but if people are going to see that text, they need to follow you. Though you may get followers with text, you get most followers on Instagram visually.

So, you should only put time and effort into Instagram if you can present your products or services visually. If you cannot conceive of a way to visually present your products, your services, or your staff, in a compelling visual manner, it’s just not worth it.

Social media takes time. In order to have a successful social media account you need to put in tons of time and effort and you also need to be lucky. If you cannot create compelling visual content for your business, there is no point in wasting resources on Instagram.

Google Plus

Should you bother with Google Plus to market your business? That’s the big question.

 

Wait, what’s Google Plus?

If you don’t know what Google Plus is, that answers the question. Google Plus is Google’s most recent attempt to counter Facebook. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because it hasn’t exactly been successful. It exists and there are still relatively large numbers of people on it, but many view it as a failure and some of Google Plus’ key features have been transferred to Google products.

There is a really dedicated community on Google Plus – many of whom will swear up and down that Google Plus is superior to Facebook in every way – but unless you are targeting that community, Google Plus could be a waste of time.

 

Benefits of Using Google Plus

The primary benefit of using Google Plus once was that it was indexable, as opposed to Facebook (which is not) or Twitter (which now is, but wasn’t previously). All that means is that Google Plus posts can appear in search results, making your business activity on Google Plus much more permanent than on Facebook.

There is a highly active community on Google Plus, though this community is significantly smaller than the other major English-language social networks. If this community likes what you do, they will promote your content. If you can figure how to appeal to them, it’s likely your posts will get in front of more people than in other spaces.

But that’s basically where the benefits end. Google Business Pages, which are essential, have gained some of the features of Google Plus (such as the ability to post updates) and have likely rendered Google Plus irrelevant for many if not most businesses.

 

Drawbacks of Google Plus

Like using any social network, using Google Plus is extremely time-consuming. But it certainly can be worth it for Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, if you do it right.

The problem with Google Plus is that their market share is smaller than the other social media networks – your audience is smaller. All other things being equal, Google Plus should be at least your fourth choice for social media marketing.

But there’s another problem I want to alert you to. In my field, digital marketing, Google Plus is extremely popular. There is a huge, vibrant community of digital marketers on Google Plus. The problem, as I see it, is that they are talking to each other, not to potential clients. Now, if that’s what they want to do, and that’s what they’re trying to do, fine. But the small business owners I want to reach are not on Google Plus. Sure, you may have an account, but you don’t use it, do you? Instead, there is this impressive-seeming feedback loop, where  a digital marketer makes a post, it gets tons of +1s and tons of re-shares but it gets in front of the competition, rather than the customers. I imagine this is true for other industries.