An Introduction to Social Media for Small Businesses
I know what you are thinking. You don’t have time to fritter away tweeting, “liking,” and sharing. You have a business to run. How important is it to use social media, anyway? As it turns out, social media for business can be a game-changer. Not only is it an effective method of connecting with potential customers, but it is also very inexpensive and offers a high return on investment. Here are some interesting statistics…
Around 65% of adult internet users now use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. (Pew Research Center)
Only 15% of the average local business’s fans are located in the same city as the business. (WSJ)
Nielsen estimates that social media sites and blogs reach about 80% of all internet users. (PR Week)
50% of small business owners reported gaining new customers with social media (mainly Facebook and LinkedIn). (Social Media Examiner)
64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users say they are more likely to buy from the brands they follow. (Social Media Examiner)
Choosing Your Social Media Networks
As the statistics above show, social media allows you to tap into a much broader audience than you could ever hope to reach with most traditional marketing methods. So how do you know what social networks will be most beneficial for your business? Here is a brief rundown of the most popular social media sites and the key demographics they attract.
Facebook – With over 1.55 billion active users, Facebook is by far the largest social network out there. This is a good place to start for any small business. Use Facebook to create a profile, post links to your blogs or other content, interact with current and potential customers, highlight products and services, post upcoming special events, and even run ads (for a small fee).
Who uses Facebook? Women now make up about 57% of Facebook users and 46% of those on Facebook are forty-five or older. Facebook is especially beneficial for B2C businesses.
Instagram – Now with over 400 million active accounts, Instagram is officially a social media power player. The primary audience is younger users who reside in urban/suburban settings and it skews slightly more female than male (29% versus 22%).
Twitter – Twitter now boasts over 320 million active users. If you run a small business, Twitter can provide a great venue for you to create a profile, promote products, stay informed of the latest trends, form relationships, run ads and broadcast your valuable content, all by tweeting 140 characters or less.
Who uses Twitter? Women make up 59% of Twitter users, but the gap between men and women is rapidly closing. Those who are ages eighteen through twenty-nine make up 25% of all Twitter users.
LinkedIn – With over 100 million users, LinkedIn is known as a professional social media network associated with job searching and posting, professional networking, and thought leadership. Using LinkedIn is a great way to connect with new online customers, build professional relationships, promote your company, and establish yourself as an industry expert.
Who uses LinkedIn? LinkedIn users are pretty evenly split between men and women. LinkedIn is primarily used by business professionals and benefits B2B companies.
Pinterest – Now boasting over 100 million users, Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to “pin” visual content for others to see. Do you post content with visual appeal including high-quality images of products or services, infographics, videos and other creativly published materials? Pinterest may be just what you need to drive new traffic to your business. Check out this article by Social Media Examiner to find out if Pinterest is a good fit for you.
Who uses Pinterest? Roughly 87% of Pinterest users are women between the ages of eighteen and fifty-four. Half of those who use Pinterest have children. Pinterest benefits B2C companies that have great visual content.
Google+ for Business – A newcomer to the social media scene (relatively speaking), Google+ now has over 200 million active users. Much like other popular social media sites, Google+ allows you to set up a business page, post links to content, join “circles” or groups, follow others, post events, and promote your brand. However, there are three important letters to consider here – SEO. After all, it IS Google. Having a Google+ account can not only help with search engine optimization, but if you are an online business, adding “+1” buttons on your site for customers to click will result in higher natural search engine rankings compliments of Google.
Who uses Google+? Current analytics by GlobalWebIndex show that the Google+ audience skews male and is comprised of younger, urban, and affluent users, and those heavily into technology. G+ engagement is higher in India and other countries than in the U.S. That said, Google+ for business can beneficial for any online B2B or B2C business because of the reasons listed above.
That is social media in a nutshell. Hopefully this information will help you decide which social media sites will benefit your business most. Stay tuned for more detailed blogs on how to utilize each of these networks.
Are you looking to tap into vast potential that social media offers? We can assist with that. Our internet marketing experts in Boston can help you develop a targeted social media strategy tailored for your business through online advertising, content distribution, and relationship building. Contact us to find out more about how social media can grow your business.