Getting the word out about your business used to be a pretty costly affair and in some respects it still can be, especially if you use the more traditional forms of promotion and advertising. However, thanks to Social Media in particular, promoting your business, increasing brand awareness, engaging with your customers or clients can all now be done for free. If you’re starting a business, ignore Social Media at your peril! But which to use? Here are our Top 5 Social Networks for Business.
Twitter With its short text-like messaging function, Twitter is ideal for marketing, engaging and connecting with customers and keeping abreast of news and trends in your market sector. The platform had over 200 million monthly active users as of December 2012, so it’s a pretty massive potential customer base! Whilst it’s an important marketing tool, it can be pretty easy to get distracted on Twitter because of the continual stream of new Tweets, so perhaps ration your Twitter activity if it starts to make other parts of your business activities suffer!
Facebook The biggest of them all? Perhaps. Facebook had over 1 billion active users by September 2012. Pretty impressive stats! For businesses, a Facebook page is a must. It is an excellent way for you to engage directly with your customers, or ‘fans’, share news and updates, and interact. Of course, it’s important to keep your page active by regularly adding new content and initiating discussions and talking points.
LinkedIn As you’d expect from the Social Network for professionals, LinkedIn has a more business related focus than any of the others on our list. As well as using it to connect with your business acquaintances and former colleagues, you can enhance your business brand through being proactive in one of the many LinkedIn groups. These in essence are like smaller networks whose members all have a particular interest or focus. If there isn’t a Group for your particular niche, you can always create one. Get enough people to join and engage with you and there can be no better form of promoting your brand or service.
Google+ Although adoption of Google + was perhaps not as rapid as some would expect, it is now becoming a real force to be reckoned with for businesses. The real advantage is probably the fact that you can divide those people you wish to engage with into dedicated Circles depending on your needs or requirements. Customers can be in one circle, fellow workers in another and potential clients yet another. By using the Hangout function you can also create video meetups with customers, clients or whoever and thereby engage with them in a more interactive way than some of the other networks featured here.
Pinterest Probably the most visual of those we have listed, Pinterest is particularly good for increasing your brand awareness through images. Some businesses choose to use Pinterest almost like a virtual store where they can create Pinboards displaying all the products they sell. In that way, obviously the site can prove to be a real revenue generator. Although in the early days, Pinterest was claimed to have a predominantly female user base, this has been changing more recently. The type of business you have will of course determine whether not this one’s for you. The more important a visual image is to your brand, the more likely you should be on the case with this.
So there you have it. Our Top 5 Social Networks for business. Agree with our choices? If not, why not let us know over at the forum which ones we ought to have included and why...Or are you feed up with the fice above? If so check out our article on Our Top 5 Alternative Social Platforms for a bit of inspiration...