SMB social media options can be overwhelming. There are obvious choices like Facebook and Twitter, but there are others like LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Vine, and so many more smaller platforms. How can an SMB decide which social media sites to use?
Questions to ask yourself about SMB social media
1. Where are my customers spending their time online?
2. What do I sell?
3. What do I hope to accomplish on social media?
4. How much time do I have to dedicate to social media?
Where are my customers spending their time online?
To answer this question, start off by thinking about whether your customers are consumers or businesses or both. Consumers are most likely to be on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Business customers are better found on LinkedIn. Next, consider the demographics of your customers. Are they Millennials? If so, Vine, Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, and many up and coming social media platforms may be better options. Generation X customers tend to stick to the established sites like Facebook and Twitter. Of course, each social media platform has a wide range of users so there isn’t one set of rules that always apply.
What do I sell?
Your product or service may very well drive which SMB social media site to use. For example, if you offer beautiful flower arrangements, then taking pictures of the options makes sense. You can display them beautifully on Pinterest and Instagram. Facebook also would lend itself to your product. On the other hand, if you sell heating and air conditioning systems, you may be better off creating a video for YouTube and Vine that walks the buyer through how the system works and the benefits. It’s all about using the social media site to your benefit. You certainly can add your video to Google+ for help in search as well as Facebook and other sites, but using a video site to showcase your A/C system solution should be central to your plan.
What do I hope to accomplish on social media?
This is an important consideration. SMB social media options are extensive, but you need a goal. Building a brand with a limited advertising budget is not likely to happen. Be realistic. Do you want to communicate with existing customers? Do you want to find new customers? Do you want to network with other businesses in your area? Do you want to bring people to your website or your online store? Do you want to drive sales leads? Pick a goal and pick the social media option(s) that best helps with that goal. LinkedIn is terrific for networking with other local businesses. Pinterest and Facebook are the top social sites for driving people to Etsy online stores. Match your goal with the right SMB social media site.
How much time do I have to dedicate to social media?
We have a number of clients who come to us because they don’t have time to manage social media themselves. Part of the challenge is that they want to be everywhere. You know yourself and your schedule. Social media is most effective when you engage with people on them. If you don’t have time to respond to comments and questions, then you risk looking unresponsive. There are tools, like Hootsuite, to manage SMB social media. However, your plan and these tools still take time to manage. Start small and add social media as you are able to carve out the time. It’s far worse to have your business on social media and to not engage or respond than it is to pick one social media site and really do it well.
Bottom line for SMB social media
Every business is unique. What works for one SMB on social media won’t necessarily work for another. Evaluate your own needs and resources. At Marketplace Consulting Group, we help SMBs narrow down the social media options to what makes sense for their businesses. Your value proposition, your customer demographic, and your social media… all have to work together to be move forward toward your social media goals.