How can a small business know when or not to be in social media, or what types of social media should it use if they are a very small or very new company?
For both questions, it comes down to a question of time, money, and priorities. I will try to give “clues” and opinions to answer this question:
You have a website?
For most companies, whether neighborhood stores, consultancies, restaurants or event planners, there is no reason to have social networks if there is an online presence to back it up. If you only sell things in your store, on street x, there is little reason to have, e.g. a Twitter account, if you do not have a link to something that describes your business in more detail and that a user can discover.
“What if I have a Google page or a Facebook page? Is not that enough?”
I do not think so. Any business in 2013 should have at least one website with information about the company, contact information, links to other presences it has (including your Google page or other social networks).
So, from my point of view, the first thing to do is build your website.
And, it should probably be obvious, but I’ll tell you just in case: Your website must be hosted on your own domain (URL) on the web.
How to Invest Your Social Media Time
Now we are in the difficult part. If you have your website and you are ready to think about social networks, you need to determine what you have time for, or what resources you can dedicate : this is where I think a small business owner should focus in order to make a global assessment of the return of The resources and the time to be used.
1. A business blog
The blog will give searchers visibility to your website, which makes it easier for potential customers or customers to find you.
The blog will give personality to your business, what is what sets you apart from other businesses similar to yours.
The blog, in itself, already provides a lot of information about the company: someone who is an expert in their field and really understands the needs of their customers.
Once the blog (which requires a little time and money), the time required to write blog entries can be a couple of hours a week.
2. Facebook (but you are only a company with an end customer (B2C) or local business)
If your customers are final consumers, a Facebook page (never a personal profile with the company name) can be valuable.
Find a good cover image and profile photo, create status updates with blog contents, reply messages and comments …
3. Pinterest (if it is a “visual” business)
Whether it is a company offering products, or a highly visual business (florist, event planner, etc.), a Pinterest presence can be of great value. This social platform allows a small business to build a great presence, and generate traffic to the website: a large number of companies are finding that Pinterest is one of their best sources of traffic for their websites, and often also an important sales engine .
The weather in Pinterest will be for the most part, mainly products, and other content, including videos.
You also have to optimize your site for Pinterest, to make it easier for you to re-pin your things to your “boards”, and thus get more broadcast.
Twitter is not ideal for smaller businesses. Twitter requires a lot of time, it absorbs a lot of content, and, you have to be very on top of it (more than any of the social platforms noted above).
That said, there are a large number of different small business categories for which Twitter is a great platform. Twitter can be ideal for restaurants, promoting special offers or driving traffic in the valley hours, for anyone who works in marketing or advertising, to keep abreast of news and events.
However, to do well Twitter, it takes time to stay abreast of content, reading and engaging with people who are following you all day. Of course, you can spend less time, but like almost everything, “you collect what you sow”, and with Twitter, time is what you sow.
5. Everything else
Sure, there are a lot of other social networks. You can have a Google+ page, or a LinkedIn company page, or you can create a YouTube video. There are a lot of small businesses that get very good results on these or other social networks. However, the four platforms above are the most likely place for most companies to start, and in addition, the best is for the order mentioned.
If you think these are not the solutions, look for other alternatives. But do not bite more than you can chew: “Do it right or not”
Finish what you start
There are few things worse than seeing an abandoned company in a social network or blog, so try not to start what you can not embrace or keep up.
Small businesses or individual entrepreneurs should prioritize and not feel the need to participate in every social media platform, especially to the detriment of your website and other marketing efforts.
Do you have any experience for or against these tips? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments!