It’s the burning question on the mind of every small business owner – which social network should you be on? Unfortunately, solving this dilemma’s far from easy. For starters, Greg Sterling at Marketing Land reports over 25 million active small business pages exist on Facebook, While The Financial Times’ Hannah Kuchler notes that 4.5 million such organizations also operate Twitter accounts. Once you toss in Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the rest of the social media gang into the mix, things just get even more muddled. To keep you from having a social media meltdown, let’s take a look at main reasons small businesses turn to certain networks, as well as what the best at connecting with consumers are doing to squeeze the most visibility out of these platforms.
Understanding The Numbers
To start the process of selecting a network to serve as the basis of your brand outreach, you’ll need to get a little more acquainted with the social media “Big Three.” According to Yahoo! Small Business Advisor’s Rynn Jacobson, Facebook boasts an astounding 93 percent usage rate among adult browsers on the web. Basically, it’s a solid bet that if the person in question is a legal adult, they probably can’t stop chatting and sharing cat pictures on this social media platform.
As for Google+, having 300 million users log on each month provides a wealth of opportunities for small business looking to connect with interested consumers. Rounding out the biggest names in the industry is the king of short-from, Twitter. This network owns a 44 percent growth rate between the years 2012 and 2014, in addition to 550 million registered users, according to Monica Romeri of Social Media Today.
Of course, just because Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have top billing with the audiences that matter to small businesses doesn’t mean these networks have a monopoly on the market. For organizations looking to connect with specific or niche communities, the likes of Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all pack plenty of punch when it comes to customer interaction and brand awareness.
Jumping back to Jacobson’s report on Yahoo! shows that Instagram offers businesses access to 130 million active users each month who treat their phones more like mobile photo studios. As for LinkedIn, the company’s very own Chuck Hester explains the power of this business-oriented network by noting that over 300 million people currently have an active account on the site. Finally, Forbes Magazine’s Melissa Pitts shows just how powerful Pinterest can be for small businesses focused on female customers by noting that 97 percent of the users on this site come from the fairer sex.
The Big Secret
While the numbers are definitely eye-popping, what do all of these stats really mean? Essentially, if you try hard enough, you can make a compelling case for any of these social media platforms to reach out to customers. In fact, the big secret here is that if you want to follow in the footsteps of other successful small businesses, you’ll need to be willing to connect on more than just one of these network. As Katy Finneran of the Fox Small Business Center covers in her piece on social media best practices, brands willing to go all in on multiple networks have the best chance of truly making a splash with customers and industry thought leaders alike. Now that you’ve got the inside scope of leveraging social networks, your approach should shift away from which platform is right for your business and lean toward how you can you make the most out of social media across a variety of networks.
Optimizing Your Approach
The key to optimizing your time on social media is found in understanding the process. First, identify which networks matter to the people you’re trying to rub elbows with. For instance, if you’re dealing with primarily business-to-business interactions, LinkedIn is the platform of choice. Once you have your sights set on the right networks, building a responsive following on these social sites begins with curating valuable and shareable content, according to an interview with social media guru Guy Kawasaki on Business Insider.
From here, developing original branded offerings, as well as chatting up your growing audience, continues the process you’ve started with curating content, regardless of which networks you call home. If you can pair up this approach with your new outlook on which network is right for your small business, the sky is the limit for where you can go with brand awareness and visibility in today’s social world.
If you need help with choosing a right social network for your business, contact 4 Step Studio for a free, no obligation consultation today.