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Marketing Insights for Entrepreneurs

Which Social Media Channels Are Best for Your Small Business?

Social media.

As a business owner, the idea of it haunts you in your sleep.

You know you should be posting stuff, but you don’t really have time. Plus, you’re not sure even sure where to do it.

That changes today.

Want to learn what social media sites your business should be on? Read on and learn what works for what types of companies. Let’s end those nightmares.

Facebook

What is it? Everything social rolled into one. Facebook has photos, messaging, chat, reviews, and more. People usually use Facebook for their personal lives rather than their professional lives.

Who uses it? The service is especially appealing to females ages 18-29, but 67% of all Americans are using Facebook (data from Pew Research). 

What you should post on it: Helpful articles and resources, behind-the-scenes photos, promos and deals, events and community happenings

Best for: local businesses, B2C businesses, ecommerce sites

A small company who’s rocking it: The Village Toy Shop in Easton, Massachusetts has a great page for a small, local shop. They post info about product recalls, run giveaways and promotions, and publish photos of stuffed animals and blankies that get left behind in the store. This is an excellent way to connect with current customers and the community. 

puppy

“Did someone leave this little guy in Easton over the weekend?”

Other Facebook Pages worth checking out: Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles, Van Baird State Farm, Wild Folk Studio

Twitter

What is it?  A micro-blogging site that allows anyone to publicly share their thoughts with the world.  The catch? You have to do it in 140 characters..

Who uses it? The service appeals to men and woman ages 18-29 and urban residents (data from Pew Research). 

What you should post on it: Helpful resources, links to great content, support responses.

Best for: B2B companies, tech companies, online businesses, local businesses, everyone.

A small company who’s rocking it: Gurobi Optimization sells mathematical optimization software– a super technical product. Because the product is so niche, they don’t focus on number of followers or tweeting 5x per day. Instead, they answer all questions from customers, spicing it up with industry-related content. 

For a company with 519 followers, 11 retweets is a lot!

For a niche company with 519 followers, 11 retweets is a lot!

Other Twitter accounts worth checking out: MOMables.

Pinterest

What is it? A virtual pin-board that allows users to “pin” photos and articles they like on boards organized by category.

Who uses it? Women, adults under 50, those who are college-educated (data from Pew Research). 

What you should post on it: Inspirational quotes related to your industry, beautiful pictures, innovative ideas, and books.

Best for: Sole proprietors, ecommerce sites, lifestyle companies, those who sell pretty products, design-focused companies.

A small company who’s rocking it: SVDesign is a full-service architecture and interior design firm catering to local clients. They send their clients to their Pinterest boards instead of handing them printed portfolios. This is an innovative way of using Pinterest to show who they are and what they can do. 

pinterest

Other Pinners worth checking out: Van Baird, Shep HykenConstant Contact.

LinkedIn

What is it? A professional social media site where users connect with co-workers and contacts. It’s a place where people post jobs, find jobs, recommend each other, and read industry-related content.

Who uses it? Young professionals, recruiters, HR professionals, other employees, job hunters.

What you should post on it: LinkedIn has 2.1 million groups on a variety of subjects pertaining to business. Post questions, concerns, job postings, and industry-related blog posts.

Best for: B2B companies, tech startups, online businesses.

A small company who’s rocking it: EnMast, a community for entrepreneurs and small business owners, has seen a ton of success from posting their content in LinkedIn Groups. Founder Brad Farris posts under his personal and company accounts.

Screenshot from 2014-02-14 09:18:35

Other companies worth checking out: Kapost’s Content Marketing Academy Group.

FourSquare

What is it? A social network that allows users to share where they go. When they “check-in”, users publicly broadcast where they are while redeeming FourSquare points. 

Who uses it? Young professionals, urbanites

What you should post on it: FourSquare is user-driven, so you won’t be in the driver’s seat. If you’re actively bringing customers into your shop, they may be posting on the site.

What you should post on it: Brick-and-mortar shops can post deals and promotions on FourSquare.

Best for: Restaurants, brick-and-mortar shops.

Are companies rocking it? Not really. Big brands offer deals through FourSquare but most small businesses aren’t leveraging the channel.

Instagram

What is it? A photo-sharing mobile app that allows users to beautify their photos with filters.

Who uses it? Those under 35, women (68% of users are female), those who live in urban areas (data from Business Insider).

What you should post on it: Instagram users focus on quality, not quantity. Post inspirational quotes related to your industry, beautiful pictures, innovative ideas, and office shenanigans.

Best for: Ecommerce sites, those who sell pretty products, B2C companies, lifestyle companies, sole proprietors.

A small company who’s rocking it: VivaLaJewels is an ecommerce site that sells affordable gems run by one person. The company posts daily pics of their jewelry, offering discounts along with the opportunity to say oh la la. 

vivalajewels

Other Instagram accounts worth checking out: MakeupJan

Reddit

What is it? Reddit is a social posting site where users submit links and content. These postings are up or down-voted based on how much people like them.

Who uses it? Predominantly young males (data from Pew Research).

What you should post on it: Insider secrets, funny links, questions, advice

Best for: “Cool” companies, tech startups, male-targeted companies.

A small company who’s rocking it: RecCheck, a mobile app for discovering and organizing local pickup games, posted their site under the basketball subreddit with the caption “For all you basketball lovers out there. I’m developing a new app for pickup games!” Within a few minutes, people started telling them how much they’d love to try the app. They even made it to the top of the basketball subreddit for the day.

A few reddit threads worth checking out: This reddit post from The Wright Sauce.

Note: Reddit is a network for individuals, not companies. If you create a cool resource, have some insight, or have something funny to share, it’s a great place to do that. The reddit community doesn’t respond well to promotional content, so don’t post anything sales pitch-y. Many have seen success from hosting “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) with company founders. 

Quora

What is it? A network for posting questions (usually business-related ones) and giving answers.

Who uses it? No demographic info about Quora is available, but it’s safe to say that professionals across a wide array of industries are using it.

What you should post on it: Well thought-out insights that’ll help out others and questions you have.

Best for: Sole proprietors, B2B companies, industry experts.

A small company who’s rocking it: Zsuzsa Szabo, co-founder of Antavo Viral Contests, provides helpful answers to questions on Quora, promoting the brand through her thought leadership.

**Like reddit, Quora is a network for individuals, not companies. 

Screenshot from 2014-02-14 09:08:22

Skip the Hype

Don’t freak out about which social media channel you should use. What you post is more important than the network you’re on. Focus on creating quality content and experiment with a bunch of different networks to see what works for you.

Your Turn: Which social media channels prove best for your small business?

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Brad Farris

    Woo-Hoo. This is a great resource! Thanks so much for calling out EnMast.

    Another company who’s Rockin’ Pinterest is a client of mine Mary Cook & Assoc. http://www.pinterest.com/marycookassoc/

    I love what they do there.

    • http://www.emmasiemasko.com/ Emma Siemasko

      We’ll have to check out Mary Cook & Assoc. Love to see how small businesses are leveraging social to build their communities :)

  • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

    Emma, thanks for including me to your post, it’s very flattering. We take Quora seriously, and good traffic is coming to our site from there. Cheers form Antavo!

    • http://www.emmasiemasko.com/ Emma Siemasko

      Zsuzsa, thanks for being such an inspiration on Quora. Keep at it :)

      • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

        ;)