Business owners might wonder how they can get any real marketing benefit from a platform that limits posts to 140 characters. This social site can brag about 320 million users. Twitterers are used to being marketed to via the platform. It can be a effective way to segment demographics and provide short updates about products, sales, and company news. The only real con is that you need to learn to say a lot with few words.
The fact that Google+ is owned by the world’s largest search engine should tell you all you need to know about whether or not it is a social site worth considering. Here’s a secret. It is. While not always thought of as an upper-tier social platform, Google+ has quietly amassed 420 million users. And the SEO benefits alone make it worth a small business owner’s time to learn how to use the thing.
This platform was started in 2011, which makes it a relative newcomer to the social sites game. Pinterest is essentially a collection of digital bulletin boards to which people pin pictures and commentary of things they are interested in. The downside is it can be a rabbit hole of a time suck that requires a plan and focus to yield results. However, if you have a product or service that markets to women, you can’t afford to overlook Pinterest. Half of all users are of the female persuasion.
Released about the same time as Pinterest, Snapchat is a solid success story from the second generation of social platforms. With 100 million daily users, this social site uses the medium of images also and has shown to be very popular among the younger generations. The only possible downside is that it hasn’t reached critical mass among the demographics that spend the most money yet.
In case you weren’t aware, Instagram is owned by Facebook, which probably has a lot to do with its rapid growth to 400 million users. Another second generation application that utilizes images and video, your best bet as a business user would be if you operate in the area(s) of travel, fashion, food, art, etc. Ninety-five percent of Instagram users are also on Facebook, so you’ll get a similar demographic and result from your efforts.
In November of 2006, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. Whether the search engine braintrust was that savvy or just got lucky is debatable, but the reality is that video is crazy popular. YouTube gets more than one billion visitors each month and is the second largest search engine behind Google. Keep in mind there is a learning curve associated with being able to put up quality videos on a regular basis. You’re also competing against a truckload of competition.
Though Tumblr sometimes feels like the redheaded stepchild of the online social scene, there are more than 200 million bloggers who use it, so they’re doing something right. Founded right after Facebook but before the latest round of platforms, it takes a while to be able to efficiently use the interface. The cool thing about Tumblr is that it is designed to accept any kind post format easily – quote, chat, video, image, audio. It might be worth your time to check it out.
As one of the foremost review sites in the world, Yelp doesn’t leap to mind immediately as a place a business owner would spend much time. You might want to rethink that. It’s one of the hottest marketing spaces online right now thanks to the reality that it has been shown to drive sales like few other online platforms. Thirty-five percent of users visit a searched business within 24 hours after seeking it out. Be leery that Yelp has a somewhat shady reputation for business practices, so proceed with care.
Founded even before Facebook, LinkedIn (2003) is, hands down, the king of the mountain when it comes to business social media. Essentially, it’s a site where professionals network to the tune of 400 million users and 24 languages. This is the place you go to to get your B2B needs met. Whether you’re looking to make connections locally or globally, this one is worth your time. The downside is filling out a complete profile can be tedious. Trust us, though, it’s worth your time.
The Bottom Line
As a business owner, your best bet would be to dip your toes into the social internet in a controlled and methodical fashion. Don’t open an account on every site on this list and then ignore most of them. Pick the one most appropriate to your business and start with it. Once you’ve gained some traction and people are picking up what you’re putting down, expand to another venue. The trick is not to overextend yourself. An unused or sporadically used account is not worth your time, but a properly tended to platform could be a real boost to your bottom line.