Most people and businesses understand at this point that social media is important, and prevalent. But as a small business owner, is it really that important be on a social media platform? And how do you pick which one?
Let's start out with some statistics: Facebook has 1.55 billion active monthly users. Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users. LinkedIn boasts 467 million users. This is close to two billion users – are you reaching them? Are you actively engaging these people – or even a fraction of them? Are your marketing efforts meeting people on the playing field your potential customers are the most comfortable?
Which platform should you dedicate your time to? There's no simple answer. At a minimum, you should have a Facebook page – with 1.5 billion monthly active users, you're bound to connect with people looking for your product. But what about the others?
Facebook is the largest platform on the market right now, and perhaps the most utilized for community engagement. With their built-in advertising management and easy to use metrics, you can easily build and reach large amounts of potential customers quickly. You must link your business Facebook page to your personal account, but the benefit is that you can invite your complete network to like and engage with your page. If you're willing to spend a little bit of money (with an emphasis on little – as little as $5 can go a long way), you can promote your page via Facebook Ads, and garner new audience members and customers.
Twitter is the best tool for reaching out quickly, and creating short, fast conversations with your community. The Twitter community usually prefers smart, witty banter and messages. Keep it under 140 characters – even if you can write more, most people won't read it! You can also run native advertising on Twitter, which will show up on the Twitter feed. You'll need to spend a little more on Twitter to reach a large audience, but the return on investment will be based on what you're asking the audience to do – follow you, click on a link, etc.
LinkedIn boasts a highly qualified and professional network, focusing on B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) sales and connections. LinkedIn is a great place to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. LinkedIn can be great for two purposes – searching for new jobs and/or searching for people to hire, and connecting with others in your target industry. If you want to promote a post, you'll dish out quite a bit more money than Facebook – around the $25 to $50 range – but the benefits can greatly impact the success of your post.
YouTube can be a good place for tutorials and engaging reviews. Snapchat is a newer player, and a blossoming audience focused on brand awareness is being targeted on the app. Various other platforms have pros and cons, but the important thing to remember is to engage with your potential customers on the platform they're most comfortable with.
Bottom line: Where ever your customers are flocking to, be there with engaging, informative, and interesting content. Publish content your intended customers want to see, and always include a call to action.