Which Social Network is Right For Your Business?

I pulled up the Google Analytics for my food website this morning, and to my surprise, I found that Pinterest beat out Facebook last month for referring traffic to my site.

That’s a big deal, especially for a small business like me.  Here’s why:

There are a lot of misconceptions among small business owners about social media networks.  Some business owners think they have to be on every single social network out there to make an impression.  Others think Facebook, or Twitter, is the be-all and end-all of social media.

Neither is exactly true.

The truth is that different social media networks will work better for different websites.

Because my food website features lots of yummy-looking photos, Pinterest, which is a visual medium, works really well for me. But a website that doesn’t feature many photos (or uses stock photos only) won’t do as well on Pinterest.

If you like to post a lot of videos to your website or blog, YouTube is a no-brainer for you; but a site that only has one video (or none) isn’t going to get anything out of YouTube.

How do you decide which social networks are right for your business?

You’ll need to do some investigation on your own, but here are some good first steps:

  1. Your blog is social media, so start there. In fact, one of the main reasons a business participates in social media is to drive traffic to its website. If you don’t have interesting, fresh content on your website, you will likely run out of things to say on social media pretty quickly.
  2. All businesses should have a Facebook page.  More and more, Facebook is becoming a directory, and your customers should be able to find you on Facebook if they go looking. Having a presence on Facebook as a business is simple.  Whether or not Facebook is where you should devote most of your social media time, however, is another question entirely.
  3. Check out a few other social media sites and see which ones seem to be most relevant to your business:
    • If you feature lots of photos, Pinterest or Instagram might be a good fit.
    • If you love talking to and interacting with your customers (and potential customers!) Twitter or Facebook will be good for you.
    • If you create content that includes posts with the potential to go viral, Facebook or Google+ could be good for you.
    • If you like to be pithy, try Twitter.
    • If you like to write longer posts, try Google+.
  4. Remember that social media isn’t all about you. Even with a business account, you should be sharing and recommending other people’s content much more than you share your own content. A good rule of thumb is 70/30 or even 80/20 their stuff to yours.
  5. Don’t try to do it all.  Pick one social media network to focus your attention on to start.  Social media done well can be a full time job, and we all know that you don’t have time for another one! So limit your overwhelm and stick to just one or two networks.

If you have more questions about social media, my friend Beth Hayden has answers. All of her services are highly recommended!

One thought on “Which Social Network is Right For Your Business?

  1. There are so many other social media pages & apps to be on! Youtube is a great ‘big one’, and there are many more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

    There are specific forums for industries, blog threads, & public figures that focus on your topic. Like for yoga, I found:

    elephantjournal.com, yogojournal.com, yogaisforlovers.wordpress.com, gabbyb.tv (personality who is really into yoga)… and many more.

    In fact, commenting on blogs is another form of “social media” and a way to get known in your industry, rather than just the general public.

    I recommend businesses focus on what social media sites provide a return on investment, and that may mean a smaller site that’s more active for your market.

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