On Choosing a Social Network for a Small Business

Small businesses usually work with very limited budget, so any move to boost their performance, be it in production or in company growth, should be very calculated. To cut costs, these businesses often rely on alternative methods of marketing to showcase their wares, and that’s where the Internet comes in. Social networking sites are now seen as marketing platforms for small businesses and big name brands alike.

The top social media channels have millions of users, and this is also the main reason why businesses are launching independent marketing campaigns on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. According to a Wall Street Journal article by Emily Maltby and Shira Ovide, not all social media tools can help your company grow. Being at the top social networking food chain doesn’t necessarily mean that a certain social media could be beneficial for your business.

Not just a popularity contest

The article says that six out of 10 small business owners view social media as an important factor to boost company growth. However, not all of these social networking sites have gained the approval of small business honchos. While most of them are optimistic about their chances with the likes of LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook, a majority of the 835 business owners surveyed are not pleased with one: Twitter.

Currently, Facebook is still the number one social network with over a billion monthly active users and over 600 million mobile users. Twitter comes in second, with over 500 million registered users and 200 million active “tweeters.” YouTube, Google’s video service, has over a billion users and more than four billion views per day, but it is not really your typical social networking site. But according to the small business owners interviewed in the WSJ article, LinkedIn is their preferred social networking, garnering the approval of 41% of the respondents. LinkedIn, which has a paltry (by Facebook standards) 200 million user base, is a networking site focused on professionals and businesses worldwide. Compare that to Facebook’s “approval rating” which is just 14% of the respondents, and Twitter’s, at a shocking 3%.

Recommended for YouWebcast: 4 Steps to Creating a Marketing Content Plan

Business owners who are not aware of these numbers could still go with Facebook and Twitter, solely because of their massive registered users. And if the approval of the small business owners is any indication of marketing success, those who went with the top social networking sites would have a hard time getting any return for their investment.

Finding one that works

Based on the figures, perhaps the most important consideration when choosing what social media tool should be used by a small business is its effectiveness in reflecting the interests of the company, products and services included. If you think your company is known for high quality products, then you should go with the social media that can showcase your merchandise to the fullest. Obviously, you’ll have a hard time doing this with Twitter and its 140-character limit. Social media sites that focuses more or images instead of words should do the job; Pinterest and Instagram are some of the options that you can explore. LinkedIn gained the most approval from business owners because of its focus on businesses and the people behind them. Once you log on to LinkedIn, you can search directly for the company you want and look for the product or service you need. The site is streamlined to facilitate interactions between professionals, so once you go there, it is understood that you mean business.

Marketing through social media has given small businesses the chance to compete with big name companies today. With good social networking profile for your company, you don’t have to sit in front of your business phone all day. With the help of the Internet and the right social networking platform, you’re making your business reachable for your clients, and something that you can easily do, even when you’re on a tight budget.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 1

  • Most small business owners don’t realize that the social networking sites are a vehicle not a magic pill. What really matters ia having an integrated strategy. What are you looking to accomplish? What do you need to do to get there? The challenge for most (and I am one i.e. not a trained marketing person) is knowing how to sew together the different parts and pieces so they all work together effectively. A good marketing coach can really help but overcoming the fear of jumping in and getting engaged is the most important thing of all!

Add a New Comment

Thank you for adding to the conversation!

Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately.